Blue Jays, MLBTR, And Free Agents: What Would You Do?
By Jim Scott
If the Blue Jays had $26m to spend on free agents this off-season, how would you spend it?
MLB Trade Rumours recently published their list of the top 50 free agents in the 2017-2018 offseason, with their projections as to which team will sign each player and what the contract terms would be.
They project the Blue Jays to sign three players: #14 Jay Bruce (for 3 years at $39 million), #35 Eduardo Nunez (2/$14m) and #44 Tony Watson (2/$12m), for a total 2018 spend of $26 million.
Not surprisingly, many fans and writers do not agree with these selections (disagreement can be fun!). So I thought it might be fun to try an experiment.
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Here are the rules of the game. You have $26 million to spend, and no more. Each free agent costs the AAV of their contract as proposed by MLBTR. You can sign as many or as few as you like, subject to the $26m limit.
This is obviously an oversimplification. It assumes that the term of the contract does not matter, and that any free agent would come to Toronto for the MLBTR price. I also assume that any player you sign would play any role you wish. Simple? Yes. But could be fun.
Ready? Here are the AAVs:
What would I do, you ask? I would take Cobb ($12m) and Cozart ($14m).
Cobb would be my 5th starter (a h*ck of a #5!), pushing Biagini to a swingman/longman role in the MLB bullpen (and to the #6 starter gig, where I would hope to give him ~10 starts). I would turn Cozart into my Zobrist (remember my assumptions above?), playing him in LF until the injuries to Tulowitzki and Devon Travis start to pile up. So my OF on opening day would be Coz – Pillar – Teo, with Alford in Buffalo and e-Zeke (and his 2017 wRC+ of 123 against right-handers) as my bench OF and RHP pinch-hitter. One of Pearce and Morales would be traded and the other would be my DH. When/if Josh Donaldson leaves, the Jays could move Cozart or Tulo to 3B until Vlad is ready.
I would be gambling in making these picks. Perhaps Cozart’s outlier 2017 was a fluke? Perhaps the Jays need help in the 2018 bullpen more than is apparent? But most free agents are gambles, to some extent.
Next: Would Carlos Santana make any sense as a free agent?
So what would YOU do?