Blue Jays: Looking ahead at the FA outfield market
After a disappointing offensive season from their outfield picture, the Blue Jays could be in the market for an upgrade for 2018 and beyond. Which outfielders might be available this offseason?
If we’re to believe the Blue Jays’ front office about their 2018 philosophy, it sounds like they’ll be looking for some better luck and a chance to contend in 2018. There is plenty of talent on the roster already, but in a season full of injuries and underperformance, Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins would be foolish to enter next season with the exact same roster.
With that in mind, there aren’t a great deal of places for the team to upgrade, unless of course they choose to look at the trade market as well, both for additions and subtractions. With better health, the entire infield should return, and the bullpen likely won’t be all that different. There are needs in the starting rotation, and in depth all over the diamond as well, but the most significant change is set to take place in the outfield, as almost nobody expects Jose Bautista to return in 2018.
That spot could go to some combination of Teoscar Hernandez or even Ezequiel Carrera (don’t laugh, it could happen), but if the Jays want to contend it’s likely the place that makes the most sense to spend some money, other than the rotation of course.
If they’re going to do that on the free agent market, what sort of options are going to be available? It’s not like the crop that’s coming in 2019, but there are plenty of serviceable veterans who will be looking for a new contract, so Shapiro and Atkins have some options. There could be some additional options if their teams decide to buy them out (Andrew McCutchen, Justin Upton (his opt-out) ), but I’ve left it to players who will be outright free agents, with one exception. I’ve also assigned an arbitrary “Probability of being a Blue Jay” score to each player, that is based on nothing more than my best guess.
Let’s have a look.