Blue Jays: MLB Trade Rumors predictions for 2018
MLB Trade Rumors has made predictions for this season’s crop of free agents, and has Blue Jays in line to sign Eduardo Nunez, Jay Bruce, and Tony Watson.
As we’ve noted many times here at the Jays Journal, the Blue Jays have some work to do this offseason, especially after a disappointing 76-86 season, and a 4th place finish in the AL East. After the World Series concluded on Wednesday night, the clock of five days starts ticking before free agency opens next week, and things could get interesting in a hurry.
Over at www.mlbtraderumors.com, they have made predictions for the top 50 available free agents this year, and who they’ve designated as future Blue Jays is of particular interest to me, and likely to you as well if you’ve clicked on this article. Check out their full piece here.
They have the Blue Jays signing three key free agents, and filling some important holes on the roster. They’ve matched the Jays with Jay Bruce for three years and 39 million, Eduardo Nunez for two years and 14 million, and left-handed reliever Tony Watson, for a two year pact at 12 million. If this was how the offseason played out for the Blue Jays, the front office should, and would be thrilled.
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Not that it’s a perfect piece of work by any means, but we all know that you don’t always get your first choices in free agency, as we saw last year when Dexter Fowler ultimately signed in St. Louis, and Edwin Encarnacion ended up in Cleveland. For the Blue Jays, they have a couple very significant positions they need to fill, without much in the system that’s major league ready for 2018, and two of these signings would deal with them directly.
Nunez would be a great get for Toronto, especially if they can get him for two years and 14 million, which I see as a little optimistic. He has the ability to play around the infield, covering for the oft-injured players like Devon Travis and Troy Tulowitzki with capable defence, and a solid offensive contribution as well. He hit .313/.341/.460 with 12 home runs, 60 RBI, and 24 stolen bases in just 467 at bats. That’s the kind of dream scenario player the Blue Jays need, and will likely be at the top of their priority list this offseason.
Tony Watson would also fill a great need, as the Blue Jays have a number of talented relievers set to return in 2018, but still have a bit of weakness from the left side. The jury is still out on Aaron Loup, and youngsters like Tim Mayza and Matt Dermody could be solid options, but it’s hard to rely on the. I would expect the front office to pursue a veteran piece here, and Watson on this deal would be a no-brainer.
The Bruce contract would be a bit of a settle for the Blue Jays if you ask me, but it’s not a worst case scenario either. Bruce brings plenty of left-handed power to the table, but also makes a greater redundancy of “all or nothing” offensive approach, as he’s not very fleet or foot, and his defence leaves plenty to be desired.
However as I said above, if you were to end up with these three players as a package, that would be an overall win. Nunez would fill a tremendous need on the 2018 roster for the Blue Jays, and Watson would provide some stability to a talented bullpen. Bruce’s contract would be reasonable, and he would likely give Teoscar Hernandez a chance to play a bit against left-handed pitching, and a bit more with Pearce as the presumed left fielder.
There will be plenty of names floating around the rumour mill in the coming weeks, and don’t be surprised if Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro look to the trade route as well. In addition to the needs these players would fill, they’ll likely be looking for a back-up catcher, and probably (hopefully) another starting pitcher as well, so expect the Blue Jays to be one of the busier teams in November.