Blue Jays: Complementary shortstop candidates for Ross Atkins to consider
The Toronto Blue Jays shocked the fanbase by outright releasing Troy Tulowitzki. Now, they’ll need to complement the shortstop position.
In wake of the shocking but sensical release of Troy Tulowitzki today, Ross Atkins and the Toronto Blue Jays have a bit more work to accomplish this off-season. With Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Richard Urena as the only real shortstops on the depth chart until Bo Bichette is ready, the front office will likely be diving into the cheap shortstop free agent market. There isn’t much out there, but there are definitely a few names that would match Atkins’ desire.
You can rule out the following shortstops from coming to Toronto that are currently free agents such as Manny Machado, Marwin Gonzalez, Jose Reyes, Alcides Escobar, and likely Jose Iglesias.
That leaves the following names:
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If you cut down this list to even more realistic candidates, you probably rule out Asdrubal Cabrera despite the connection to Mark Shapiro. Gregorio Petit spent 2017 in the Blue Jays system, so he’d be an option as minor league depth which isn’t quite what the Blue Jays would need here. That leaves us with Galvis, Hechavarria, Mercer, and Sogard.
Hechavarria has a connection the Blue Jays as he was a member of the organization and the big club briefly in 2012 before he was dealt to the Miami Marlins in the Jose Reyes trade. That would come full circle if he came back, but in a season spent between three teams in 2018, he was horrendous offensively at a 67 wRC+. He can pick it with the glove, however, and that’s likely what the Blue Jays would be looking for. Someone who can play defense and contribute a bit with the bat. That eliminates Eric Sogard to me.
Both Freddy Galvis and Jordy Mercer had wRC+’s of 85 a season ago. Mercer is a career 88 wRC+ and Galvis is 77. Hechavarria is even worse at 72. Defensively, Galvis has been better than Mercer in the DRS department by quite a bit. Galvis saved seven runs with the Padres in 2018, while Mercer was at -9. Hechavarria is in the middle of the two at three for 2018.
If the Blue Jays are going to complement the position and have somebody who could open up as the starting shortstop if Gurriel doesn’t seize the job in the spring, Freddy Galvis or Jordy Mercer would likely fit the bill for the Jays, with Adeiny Hechavarria coming in behind them. Galvis will give you a good glove with the ability for some pop. Mercer is a more balanced hitter than Galvis but isn’t the greatest fielder. At this point, any of these three names wouldn’t surprise me if they end up in Toronto.