With the Blue Jays needing a few new pieces for their 2018 season whether they want to compete or not. Who might Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro bring in via free agency?
When a major league baseball team wins, the front office tends to try to “keep the band together”, but when they lose then things tend to change in pretty big hurry. For the Blue Jays in 2018, there are many spots already filled for the roster, for better or for worse, and a lot of payroll already committed to veteran players.
Assuming there are no trades this offseason, the Blue Jays are really only looking at needs in right field, a fifth starter, a back-up catcher, and probably some bullpen help. You could argue they could use a utility infielder as well, who could presumably fill in for the oft-injured Devon Travis and Troy Tulowitzki if either is placed on the DL in 2018, a place they’ve each frequented throughout their careers.
Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro are likely to look at the trade market to fill some of these holes, but there could be solutions on the free agent market, especially if the payroll isn’t terribly restricted. Jose Bautista‘s 18 million is off the books, but there will be substantial raises for Marcus Stroman, Josh Donaldson, Roberto Osuna, Aaron Sanchez, Kevin Pillar and more in arbitration, so it’s hard to say what the front office will be working with for payroll.
After they announced that ticket prices would raise in 2018, let’s assume they’ve got some flexibility (but not an endless amount), here are some early predictions for who I think the Blue Jays could bring in to round out the team.