Blue Jays free agent foursome still remain unsigned
The Toronto Blue Jays still have a foursome of free agents who remain unsigned as January comes to a close and spring training in the not so distant future.
Slugger Jose Bautista, utility infielder Darwin Barney, veteran catcher Miguel Montero and swing-man Brett Anderson are all still searching for a new employer with Opening Day on the horizon. Anderson of the four has the best shot at returning to Toronto for the 2018 campaign however it is rumoured he is looking for a guaranteed spot in a starting rotation before inking a pact with his next team.
There is still a portion of the Jays fan base who would welcome back Joey Bats with open arms however that ship appears to have sailed especially now that the Jays have a plethora of outfield options and the newly acquired Randal Grichuk the odds-on favourite to land the majority of the playing time in right field.
Barney was a serviceable veteran over the past few seasons for the Jays but it appears the Jays will not look to bring back the aging infielder. Barney’s double-play partner Ryan Goins signed a minor league deal with the Kansas City Royals earlier last week much to the chagrin of Marcus Stroman.
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The Jays are still searching for a backup catcher but it would be surprising if they revisited the Montero experiment in 2018. The Jays currently have Luke Maile tabbed as Russell Martin‘s cohort, however, he does not offer much in terms of offensive production.
Anderson could in all likelihood circle back and take over the 5th spot in the Jays rotation which would afford manager John Gibbons the opportunity to move Joe Biagini back into his familiar role in the bullpen. Hopefully at the end of the day, the Jays stretch for a more prolific option than Anderson to join the rotation.
Here is how the foursome fared in their walk year with the Jays:
Bautista: .203/.308/.366, 23 HR, 63 RBI, 170 SO, -1.7 WAR, $18 million.
Barney: .232/.275/.327, 6 HR, 25 RBI, 64 SO, -0.7 WAR, $2.887 million
Montero: .138/.248/.241, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 23 SO, -0.7 WAR, $14 million (Acquired from Cubs in July)
Anderson: 33.1 IP, 2-2, 5.13 ERA, 1.440 WHIP, 0.3 WAR, $3.5 million (Signed as free agent in August)
Next: Blue Jays: Bargains to be had at the back end of the rotation
The foursome is in a category with a large cast of free agents all searching for new deals in a slower than usual offseason thus far. We will see how it all plays out but I would be surprised if you see any of the four back in a Blue Jays uniform for 2018.