The Toronto Blue Jays brain trust addressed the media expressing their desire to be aggressive this offseason in adding to the current roster, so what free agents should the Jays target?
The Blue Jays realistically will not be in the running for high-priced free agents like Gerrit Cole or Madison Bumgarner, however, there are a number of second-tier players who could drastically improve this club without breaking the bank.
Pitching will be the number one priority following a season where the Jays used the second most starters in baseball history. Zack Wheeler jumps off the free-agent list as a second-tier arm that could definitely assist in solidifying the top of the rotation.
Wheeler will turn 30 next May after earning $5,975,000 million this past season with the Mets. The right-hander went 11-8 with a respectable 3.96 earned run average while fanning a batter an inning over 195 innings. Wheeler also sported a 43.2 groundball rate which would bode well in the homer-friendly confines of the Rogers Centre.
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It is going to take a multi-year pact to get it down but somewhere in the 4/$80 million neighborhood may get the two sides talking at the table.
Jake Odorizzi is also an interesting free agent who could fit into the Blue Jays plans. The 29-year-old went 15-7 with a 3.51 earned run average while striking out 178 in 159 innings of work for the Twins. Odorizzi earned $9,500,000 million this past season and will undoubtedly be looking to double that salary this offseason.
Alex Wood is another intriguing arm that when healthy can be very effective. This past season Wood only made seven appearances due to a nagging back injury. This could be a red flag to stay away from the 29-year old, however, an incentive-laden contract could potentially work.
In 2017, Wood was 16-3 with a 2.72 earned run average and while his earned run average crept up to 3.68 in 2018, he was still very effective in 27 starts. Wood earned $9,650,000 million last season for the Reds.
The southpaw has a career 3.40 earned run average in 179 career games over seven seasons. Wood is also a groundball pitcher who has previous groundball rates of over 53% in past seasons.