Blue Jays possible speed options for 2018
The most glaring need the Toronto Blue Jays needs to rectify before next season is their lack of team speed, the 2017 compliment set a dismal major league record for the fewest triples managing only five all season long.
The slow afoot and aging Blue Jays were also second last in stolen bases in 2017 with 53 as Kevin Pillar led the team with 15 thefts. General Manager Ross Atkins addressed the need to become more athletic and younger last offseason, however, failed to accomplish those goals signing Kendrys Morales and Jose Bautista.
This offseason will surely be different as the Blue Jays will look to strike early when attempting to fulfill their offseason task list. Internally the likes of Teoscar Hernandez, Anthony Alford, and Dwight Smith Jr. are all chomping at the bit to bring their athleticism and plus speed to the big leagues on a regular basis.
Eduardo Nunez is poised to become a free agent at seasons end after being acquired by the Boston Red Sox at the trade deadline. Nunez can play second base among other positions and we all know the uncertainty around Devon Travis and the keystone sack. The 30-year old Nunez slashed .313/.341/.460 with 12 home runs and 24 stolen bases in 31 attempts between the Giants and Red Sox in 2017. The previous season Nunez swiped 40 in 50 attempts between Minnesota and San Francisco, so he can definitely run. Nunez made $4.2 million this past season but you can guarantee that number will more than double in his new deal.
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An outfield option on the free agent market is former Kansas City Royals burner Jarrod Dyson. The 33-year old Dyson spent last season with the Seattle Mariners after being dealt for Nate Kearns. The speedster stole 28 in 35 attempts with the Mariners this past season but does have four seasons with over 30 bags. Dyson is getting up there in age but could be a valuable addition to a platoon role and off the bench after earning $2.8 million in 2017.
Cameron Maybin will also test the free agent market this offseason at the ripe age of 30 and coming off a season in which he stole 33 bases for the Angels and Astros. Maybin only hit .228 but has stolen 23,26 and 40 bases in previous seasons. The outfielder earned $9 million and surely won’t be taking a pay cut on the new deal.
If the Jays really want to go after it, they could try and persuade Lorenzo Cain to come north of the border, however, this one will take money and term to get done. The 31-year slashed .300/.363/.440 with 15 home runs and 26 stolen bases in 155 games last season with the Royals. He would absolutely make the Jays more athletic but the term would be a possible sticking point as Cain turns 32 just after opening day.
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Other possible bench candidates who can burn that are available are Rajai Davis and Eric Young Jr. and some guy named Jose Reyes. It’s anyone’s guess where the Blue Jays will look to get faster but you can bank on it happening.