Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays: Which potential free agents could be of interest next winter?

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 20: Justin Smoak #14 of the Toronto Blue Jays watches as he hits a game-winning solo home run in the ninth inning during MLB game action against the Tampa Bay Rays at Rogers Centre on September 20, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 20: Justin Smoak #14 of the Toronto Blue Jays watches as he hits a game-winning solo home run in the ninth inning during MLB game action against the Tampa Bay Rays at Rogers Centre on September 20, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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CHICAGO, IL – OCTOBER 02: Nolan Arenado #28 of the Colorado Rockies celebrates defeating the Chicago Cubs 2-1 in thirteen innings to win the National League Wild Card Game at Wrigley Field on October 2, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL – OCTOBER 02: Nolan Arenado #28 of the Colorado Rockies celebrates defeating the Chicago Cubs 2-1 in thirteen innings to win the National League Wild Card Game at Wrigley Field on October 2, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

While I don’t think the Blue Jays will be terribly aggressive this offseason, I could see things being a lot different a year from now in free agency. Who might be available if the Blue Jays are seriously shopping by then?

I feel like a bit of a broken record lately when I say that the Blue Jays likely won’t be big shoppers this year in free agency, but I really do believe that’ll be the case. Sure, there are reports that Ross Atkins and company are interested in Dallas Keuchel, but it takes two to tango, and the Blue Jays are probably at least a year away from being serious bidders in the free agency market. I’ve been wrong before, but that’s just how I see things playing out.

That said, I could see the situation changing an awful lot in a year or two, and a lot will depend on their development of their young talent. We’re poised to hopefully witness the first full seasons from Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Danny Jansen, Ryan Borucki, and the eventual promotion of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. That’s not all of the talent in the system either, as there are several more on the way including Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, Nate Pearson, Eric Pardinho, and many more potential big league assets. They’re still just prospects, but the future appears bright in Toronto.

If everything goes right for the youngsters this year, it’s possible that the free agent market could have a very different level of interest in coming to Toronto. There are perceived downsides like being the only Canadian team, or playing on turf in the Rogers Centre, but ultimately players care about two factors more than anything else: Getting paid, and winning.

The Blue Jays should have plenty of payroll in the next few seasons, especially as they eventually shed the big contracts that remain for Russell Martin, Troy Tulowitzki, and even Kendrys Morales. That said, they’re already in a position where they should have the money they need to spend, it’s just a matter of building the team the right way, and making sure there is proper playing time for the young players to develop.

With all of that said, I expect the Blue Jays to be more serious buyers a year from now. Let’s have a look at the potential free agents that could be available, assuming they don’t sign extensions before hitting the open market.

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