Blue Jays: Most of their 2017 free agent targets are struggling

Apr 2, 2017; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Dexter Fowler (25) celebrates after scoring on a sacrifice fly by first baseman Matt Carpenter (not pictured) during the third inning of opening night against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 2, 2017; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Dexter Fowler (25) celebrates after scoring on a sacrifice fly by first baseman Matt Carpenter (not pictured) during the third inning of opening night against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit

With the Blue Jays off to a 5-12 start, it’s easy for the fans and media to blame the front office for their decisions. A quick gander at some of the other reported options shows there are several new acquisitions who are struggling to open the season.

The Blue Jays had some big decisions to make this past offseason, as several key players hit the market after the team had qualified for the post season for the second straight year. As we all remember, the Blue Jays lost the likes of Edwin Encarnacion, Brett Cecil and more to rival teams.

With the tepid start the year, a perusal of Twitter will see comments like “I miss Edwin!”, or “why didn’t we get someone who could get on base?”. While it’s normal to think that way, several of the other players the Blue Jays targeted in free agency haven’t started off so well themselves. Let’s have a look.

Edwin Encarnacion

I felt this was the most obvious place to start, and it might help Blue Jays fans feel a little bit better about how things have gone.

More from Jays Journal

“Edwing” has a slash line of .212/.350/.364 over the course of 66 at bats. He’s actually had to collect 7 hits over his last 8 games in order to push his average above .200, as he started out ice cold. He hit a home run on Saturday as well, but it was just his 3rd of the season thus far, to go with 7 RBIs.

He’s supposed to be the primary first baseman in Cleveland as well, and it sporting a -0.3 dWAR through his first 7 games at the position. It’s a small sample size, but there’s reason for concern about him playing there regularly, more so around the wear and tear on his body than his ability.

EE will eventually turn things on as well, but prior to a week ago, his start wasn’t a whole lot better than Jose Bautista‘s, at least on paper.

Dexter Fowler

Fowler entered free agency as arguably the best “OBP guy” available on the market. He had just come off a season where he lead the Cubs to their first title in a million years, and he was the catalyst for one of the most powerful lineups in baseball. A perfect fit for the Blue Jays roster if there ever was one.

How is Fowler doing to start his tenure with the St. Lois Cardinals? So far, he’s slashing just .169/.241/.296 with 2 home runs and 3 RBI. In his 71 at bats he has collected just 12 hits and struck out an alarming 22 times. In an extremely small sample size as well, his dWAR is at -0.2.

He won’t continue to play this poorly either, but it would have been equal parts scary and disappointing to have him come to Toronto, only to start a 5 year, 82 million dollar contract in this way.

Brett Cecil

One of the better left-handed relievers in baseball, Brett Cecil has been a notoriously slow starter throughout his career. His 2017 season and his start to his tenure with the St. Louis Cardinals has been consistent with that history.

Thus far, the talented lefty sports a 5.87 ERA through his first 7 appearances as a red bird. His WHIP is 1.568, and he’s given up 5 earned runs in just 7.2 innings pitched.

Like many former Blue Jays, Cecil has been known to be streaky, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him start a shut out streak like the one he did while with the Blue Jays. For now, Cardinals fans are likely questioning why he was signed to a 4 year, 30.5 million dollar deal. I’m sure they’ll learn sooner than later though.

Ben Revere

Revere spent a short stint with the Blue Jays during their playoff run in 2015, and for that reason many fans had fond memories of the speedy outfielder. It was reported that the Blue Jays discussed bringing him back this offseason, but the talks didn’t get very far, with him ultimately signing with the Angels.

Through his first 31 at bats, Revere is hitting just .161/.188/.226, collecting just 5 hits thus far and 1 double. He has yet to attempt a stolen base yet this season, a skill set he is known well for through his time as a big leaguer.

Revere was a smaller signing at 4 million, but so far he doesn’t look like he’s giving Angels’ fans anything to be excited about.

Brandon Moss

Last but not least, we’ve got Brandon Moss who signed with the Kansas City Royals late in the offseason. Moss was linked to the Blue Jays at a couple different points in the offseason, as the team searched for answers in the corner outfield.

Moss was never a good fit in Toronto, and thankfully the deal never came to fruition. While he does possess a powerful left-handed bat, Moss has a tendency to strike out often, a skill that doesn’t need compounding in Toronto.

For the season he’s started off ice-cold, hitting just .133/.245/.267, collecting just 6 hits in his first 45 at bats as a Royal, with a single home run. Again, the sample size is small, but Moss has had similar struggles to that of several Blue Jays’ hitters.

Next: Blue Jays: Josh Donaldson- Bringer of trade value?

The struggles of other players around the MLB doesn’t help the Blue Jays a whole lot, but it’s (somewhat?) comforting to see they’re not alone in their futility. And while it’s easy to say, “if only we had someone like Dexter Fowler in the lineup”, you just never know what you’re going to get in free agency, and especially, at the beginning of a new season.

facebooktwitterreddit