Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays: All-Former Free Agent Team

Oct 19, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion (10) reacts to striking out during the ninth inning against the Cleveland Indians in game five of the 2016 ALCS playoff baseball series at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 19, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion (10) reacts to striking out during the ninth inning against the Cleveland Indians in game five of the 2016 ALCS playoff baseball series at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports /
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What would a team made up of current free agents/former Blue Jays look like? There are plenty of Blue Jays of the past that are still looking for a job for the 2017 season.

Now that the winter meetings have come and gone, things have slowed down on the hot stove. With that in mind, I thought it might be fun to look at the remaining free agents that have been in the Blue Jays organization at one time or another, and see what kind of roster they would make.

There are a few minor debates, but here’s what I came up with after a quick scan of the remaining free agents.

2016 Stats

  1. Rajai Davis– LF                             .249/.306/.388, 12 HR, 48 RBI, 43 SB, 0.4 WAR
  2. Luis Valbuena– 3B                      .260/.357/.459, 13 HR, 40 RBI, 17 2B, 2.6 WAR
  3. Edwin Encarnacion– 1B/DH    .263/.357/.529, 42 HR, 127 RBI, 34 2B, 3.7 WAR
  4. Jose Bautista– RF                        .234/.366/.452, 22 HR, 69 RBI, 24 2B, 1.0 WAR
  5. Mike Napoli– 1B/DH                  .239/.335/.465, 34 HR, 101 RBI, 24 2B, 1.0 WAR
  6. Colby Rasmus– CF                      .206/.286/.355, 15 HR, 54 RBI, 10 2B, 2.2 WAR
  7. Dioner Navarro– C                      .207/.265/.322, 6 HR, 35 RBI, 13 2B, -0.8 WAR
  8. Aaron Hill– 2B                             .262/.336/.378, 10 HR, 38 RBI, 14 2B, 1.2 WAR
  9. Munenori Kawasaki– SS          .333/.462/.429, 14 games played, 0.2 WAR

Of course the lineup would be led by Encarnacion and Bautista, both of whom remain on the free agent market as of this writing. Rasmus and Davis could flip flop defensively, and you could always platoon Davis with Michael Saunders in LF. The available, former Blue Jay middle-infielders are extremely slim, hence the starting keystone of Hill and Kawasaki. Napoli never actually played for the Blue Jays, but was technically a Blue Jay for a short time before being flipped to the Rangers in a trade.

Starting Rotation

  1. Henderson Alvarez
  2. Gavin Floyd
  3. Chien Ming-Wang
  4. R.A. Dickey ** signed with the Braves
  5. Jesse Chavez ** signed with the Angels

With a serious lack of former Jays’ starters left on the market, I had to cheat and include Dickey and Chavez at the back of the rotation. Even with those two, this is a brutal rotation and one that would likely fall apart by injury even faster than underperformance.

Alvarez/Floyd/Wang combined for 0 starts and just 84.1 innings pitched in 2016. Wang hadn’t pitched in a big league game since 2013, but managed to make 38 appearances out of the bullpen for the Royals last season.

Bullpen

  1. Scott Feldman
  2. Drew Storen
  3. Joba Chamberlain
  4. Carlos Villanueva
  5. Marc Rzepczynski ** signed with the Mariners
  6. Brett Cecil ** signed with the Cardinals
  7. Joaquin Benoit ** signed with the Phillies

The bullpen is better than the rotation, but I again had to borrow from the pool of players already signed. The trio of Cecil, Benoit, and Scrabble could add actual value to a bullpen in 2017, but alas, they are no longer option for the Blue Jays.

Beyond that, the other four names could all be fighting to find a job in spring training. It’s possible that none of them are offered a major league contract, though it may not get that bad for anyone but Chamberlain. Storen’s stock has fallen the most out of the group, but he did pitch a little better for the Mariners, after being traded for Benoit prior to the deadline.

Bench

  1. Michael Saunders
  2. Emilio Bonifacio– Utility
  3. Josh Thole– Backup Catcher
  4. Kelly Johnson– 2B/1B/3B/LF

Just missed: Ben Revere, Nolan Reimold, Adam Lind, Bobby Wilson

You could make an argument for Saunders or possibly Lind in the lineup, but Rajai Davis and Mike Napoli had much better 2016 seasons. Bonifacio and Johnson offer positional flexibility, even if the bench is pretty LH heavy with the stick. Thole narrowly beats out Bobby Wilson for the backup catching job, but obviously Wilson could fill the role just as capably.

Next: Report: Blue Jays remain in contact with Bautista's agent

The lineup could certainly be worse, and would probably win a few games with the long ball throughout the course of the season. The rotation and bullpen would be a complete disaster though, and this team would probably finish dead last in the MLB.

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