Blue Jays: Slow playing the market will pay dividends
We all know how slow the off-season has gone for not just the Toronto Blue Jays but all of the MLB. Instead of panicking at the lack of moves besides Yangervis Solarte and Aledmys Diaz, why can’t we look at the potential for the slow playing of the market to be to the Blue Jays advantage?
Both Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins have publicly stated that they have turned their focus to adding to the outfield situation as well as to the rotation. There are still massive names out there for both the outfield and the rotation like Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb, and J.D. Martinez. Those guys will likely get their money, but what about the crop of players below them who would accept one-year deals right before or during Spring Training? There are numerous names out their in the free agent market who could be had within the reported $20 million still out there.
In the outfield, you’re looking at the following who would almost certainly take a 1 or 2-year deal the longer the free agent market stays stale. Their 2017 fWAR totals are listed beside them:
- Jarrod Dyson – 2.1
- Carlos Gomez – 2.3
- Curtis Granderson – 2.1
- Jon Jay – 1.6
- Cameron Maybin – 1.2
- Carlos Gonzalez – -0.2 (bounce back candidate)
Given that seemingly any addition from the guys I’ve named other than Carlos Gonzalez would be an upgrade on Jose Bautista, they’d instantly provide value for the 2018 edition of the Blue Jays. It’s likely that Kevin Pillar and Teoscar Hernandez would start in center and right field. Steve Pearce and Ezequiel Carrera are also there for left field but neither could take the job on a full-time basis and run with it. Much like the additions of Solarte and Diaz, an addition of any of the guys I’ve listed above would be an improvement to the 2018 team.
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Of course, in a perfect world, I would take Lorenzo Cain in a heartbeat. Cain fits exactly what the Toronto Blue Jays need and even Cain’s asking price and term could potentially come down the longer he stays on the free agent market which could make the Blue Jays jump at him and bring him to Toronto. However, if that doesn’t happen, the names listed above could potentially play on an everyday basis, be had for cheap, and on a 1-year deal because of how long they’ve sat on the free agent market as we draw closer to Spring Training.
If we shift focus to the rotation and arms who would likely accept a one year deal and provide an improvement on what the Blue Jays got from the 5th spot of the rotation a year ago, the following names come to mind:
- Andrew Cashner – 1.9
- Jaime Garcia – 2.1
- Miguel Gonzalez – 1.4
- Chris Tillman – -1.0 (bounce back candidate)
- Jason Vargas – 1.6
These arms outside of Chris Tillman would provide some rotation stability but also be an improvement on what the Blue Jays got from the 5th spot of the rotation ago. Of course, given that they have Joe Biagini waiting in the wings, they may not need to push the issue and add a starter. They could open up the season with Biagini as the 5th man of the rotation.
Much like Lorenzo Cain, a perfect world addition would be Alex Cobb or Lance Lynn. That seems quite unlikely however and they definitely won’t fall so far that they only sign 1-year deals.
The slow play tactic in the off-season could be just as successful as last year when the Blue Jays signed Joe Smith extremely late in the off-season to add to the bullpen. I can see a similar type of signing for either the outfield or the rotation that would have a nice impact on a one year deal.
Next: Blue Jays: Middle infield logjam is a great thing
The slow play of the market for the Toronto Blue Jays could really be to their advantage and it’s time people stop panicking and start looking at the potential for good additions the longer guys stay on the free agent market.