The Toronto Blue Jays have a few more options after Friday’s non-tender deadline
Friday’s non-tender deadline saw the Toronto Blue Jays extend a qualifying offer to all four of their eligible players, but elsewhere in the league, a new wave of free agents have been released to the market.
Granted, teams don’t non-tender players because they love them too much to stay together. Many of these newly available players were due arbitration salaries too high for their on-field value or have missed substantial time recently, but as the old saying goes… “One man’s non-tender is another man’s….”
Here’s a quick look at some positional players that could have a fit — however clunky or smooth — with the 2017 Toronto Blue Jays.
1B/DH Chris Carter – Houston Astros
If you’re non-tendered as the NL home run champion, something’s wrong. For Carter, that “something” is everything else that happens when he’s not launching bombs. The 29-year-old is an annual threat for 200 strikeouts and doesn’t have an overwhelming split one way or the other, so his 40-home-run power remains a thin and singular tool. Despite all of that, his power would play well in the AL East and it’s not entirely inconceivable that the empty corners of his game begin to round out a bit.
C Welington Castillo – Arizona Diamondbacks
Castillo’s non-tender was rather surprising. Still just 29, the Dominican catcher is still a reasonable bet for a near-2.0 WAR value. The former Cub posted a .745 OPS last year with 14 home runs, and while framing metrics don’t love him, his overall defensive metrics have shown enough to keep him behind the plate as a reliable defensive force (seven Defensive Runs Saved in 2016).
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Castillo also owns a career OPS of .840 against left-handed pitching, so he’s not wasted space in a bench role.
Unfortunately for the Blue Jays, Major League Baseball is not overflowing with competent catchers. Castillo should find starting reps somewhere, but at the same time, the Diamondbacks were not able to find a trade partner for his projected arbitration salary of $5.9 million.
OF Ben Revere – Washington Nationals
You’ll undoubtedly hear some calls for the Blue Jays to reunite with Revere, and why not? Being undersized and fast, he fits the quick-glance profile of a stereotypical leadoff hitter….
He’s also coming off his worst year in the league and owns a career on-base percentage of .320 with limited defensive value. The Blue Jays have Ezequiel Carrera in the building, and Revere is no upgrade at this point.
C Eric Fryer – Pittsburgh Pirates
It’s worth examining a handful of catchers when it comes to the Blue Jays because their positional need doesn’t end at Russell Martin‘s backup — they could also use some MLB-ready depth at triple-A to allow for Reese McGuire to develop at his own pace.
Fryer, 31, doesn’t bring much power to the table, but with a .254 average and .332 on-base percentage at the MLB level plus some acceptable defensive metrics, he is a fine candidate for a fringe job somewhere in baseball.
C Hector Sanchez – San Diego Padres
One of San Diego’s many non-tenders on Friday, Sanchez has found some nice success in the minor leagues that hasn’t quite transferred over to the MLB level. The 27-year-old Venezuelan does hold a triple-A OPS of .777 over parts of six seasons at that level. His defence isn’t a strong tool, but with a competent bat, he’ll easily land a depth role with an opportunity for something more.
C Ramon Cabrera – Cincinnati Reds
Cabrera, the 5-foot-8 switch-hitter, has a career .669 OPS at the MLB level in 74 games over two seasons. His success in the lower-minors has faded as he’s climbed the ladder, but a catcher capable of putting the bat on the ball from both sides of the plate will forever have a minor league contract offer on the table.