Blue Jays: Early prediction about free agent additions
There are a TON of variables in this picture, at least as far as I’m concerned. Will the Blue Jays continue to roll with Kevin Pillar in centre field (my guess is they absolutely will)? Can they count on Steve Pearce to stay healthy and play in left field? Are they going to bring Ezequiel Carrera back? Is Teoscar Hernandez ready to play full time over the course of a full season?
The one question I didn’t include was whether Jose Bautista will return, which seems to be a decision that’s been already made. With that in mind, the Jays will have to find a full time starter for right field, and it could be Hernandez’s gig to lose.
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There is an argument to be made that if the Jays are serious about competing in 2018, that it’s not exactly wise to rely on a rookie to take over the spot, especially with the needs the lineup is facing. He’s a good fit as far as improved speed and defence, but it’s hard to predict what you’ll get from him once the league has adjusted to him. He greatly impressed in his September stint this year, but that kind of production can’t be sustainable for someone the Jays got for Francisco Liriano, can it?
If I was going to take a stab at what happens here, I’m guessing the Blue Jays pursue someone like Jarrod Dyson as a 3rd/4th outfielder. He would provide solid defence and a spark with speed on the base paths, and shouldn’t cost a whole lot. He provides some insurance in case a) Hernandez can’t handle the job, b) Pillar struggles, c) Pearce gets hurt, and would provide a great late inning, defensive replacement for Pearce as well.
It’s not the sexiest option with guys like Lorenzo Cain and others on the market, but it might make the most sense.
So there you have it, my “way too easy” predictions for the 2018 roster. If the Blue Jays bring in a group like Brett Anderson, Nick Hundley, Mike Minor, Jedd Lowrie, and Jarrod Dyson, it wouldn’t be a guarantee by any means, but it feels like the team would be shored up quite a bit, even if those names aren’t headliners by any means. Again, this isn’t my “wish list”, but rather what I think the team will end up doing. As I said, there are so many variables it can make your head spin, so I could be way off on everything here and I wouldn’t be shocked at all.
Like for example, if the Blue Jays trade Josh Donaldson, then EVERYTHING changes. It’ll be an interesting offseason to follow the rumour mill, and a big indication of where things will stand in 2018 and beyond.