Blue Jays: Which potential free agents could be of interest next winter?
We finally get to what should be the strength of the future, at least according to the hype around their minor league system.
In an ideal world their infield will be set up for the future with the likes of Vlad Jr., Bo Bichette, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Rowdy Tellez, Danny Jansen, and others like Cavan Biggio, Reese McGuire, Kevin Smith, and Jordan Groshans. The depth is very deep in the Blue Jays’ system, and it could allow Atkins to get creative in making trades down the line.
For now the Blue Jays will have to exercise some patience and see what they’ve got in their potential minor league stars. While it’s fun to dream on an entirely home grown group of superstars, that’s not going to happen. Not all of the above mentioned names are going to be stars, so the Blue Jays will need to give each of them some time to develop and see what they’ve got before they decide if they need to invest in the infield.
The outfield could be a different story, especially a year from now. The 2019 season looks like it’ll include a group lead by Kevin Pillar, Randal Grichuk, Teoscar Hernandez, Billy McKinney, and maybe Dwight Smith Jr. However, I don’t think Pillar will be in Toronto any longer than another year, and Grichuk is a free agent after 2020. Hernandez is still a question mark with the glove in the outfield, and the Blue Jays really don’t know what they have in either McKinney or Smith. Biggio recently added the outfield to his defensive repertoire with work in the Arizona Fall League, but it’s hard to say where the group could be in a year or two.
With that in mind, it’s possible that Atkins could entertain some of the possible options next winter. The group could include J.D. Martinez (if you still view him as an outfielder), Marcell Ozuna, Aaron Hicks, Yasiel Puig, and maybe Adam Eaton if his option isn’t exercised. I don’t know that the Red Sox are going to let Martinez go anywhere, but there are some other interesting pieces in that group. Hicks has transformed himself into a legit two-way star when healthy, Puig still seems like he hasn’t hit his potential, and Eaton could be a sneaky good pick up due to his struggles to stay healthy.
There isn’t a game changer like Bryce Harper that will be available, but that likely wouldn’t have mattered for the Blue Jays anyway.