With a weak crop of outfielders expected to hit the free-agent market in the coming weeks, the Toronto Blue Jays may have to look to the trade route to solidify their outfield for 2020.
The Blue Jays desperately need an outfielder to complement Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Randal Gruckhik all the while replacing the deficiencies of Teoscar Hernandez, Derek Fisher and Billy McKinney in the outfield next season.
However, other than a couple of names the free-agent outfield cupboard is rather bare this offseason. With the exception of Marcell Ozuna and Nicholas Castellanos, there are no real premier offensive outfielders searching for new deals.
J.D. Martinez could also join the fold if he chooses to opt-out of the remaining $62.5 million he is owed by the Red Sox. Martinez although an upgrade is also 32 and doesn’t exactly fit into the Blue Jays age window.
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The likes of Starling Marte, Juan Lagares, Kole Calhoun, Eric Thames, and Adam Eaton all have club options for next season and could hit free agency if their respective teams decide not to exercise their option.
In a perfect world, the Blue Jays should add a centerfielder that would afford Grichuk the opportunity to slot back into rightfield.
Yasiel Puig is also available but I am not sure he is the type of clubhouse influence the Jays particularly want around their young core.
Ozuna would be my choice from that list but I do not see the Jays being the highest bidder for him at this stage of the rebuild. The 28-year old hit .243 with 29 homers, 89 runs batted in and 12 stolen bases for the Cardinals in 2019.
So, Ross Atkins may have to dip into his prospect surplus in order to land a viable outfielder for 2020 and beyond as it appears the free-agent market will be a non-factor this offseason.