The Blue Jays enter the 2019-2020 free agent market with plenty of payroll to work with. So, who are the best fits to fill the positions of need?
Before outlining the best free agent fits for the Blue Jays, it’s important to first note the positions that need an upgrade. Three glaring holes immediately come to mind: outfield, starting pitching, and first base. I’ll list the best possible, the most realistic, and the most intriguing free agent names that the Blue Jays can sign to fill their holes.
Marcell Ozuna would solve a lot of problems for the Blue Jays. He’s an above-average hitter (112 career wRC+), plays good defense, and is young enough (29 in 2020) to be a part of the emerging core. In 2017, his best season, Ozuna batted .312/.376/.548 with 37 home runs. The combination of high potential and high floor is the reason why he should be atop the Blue Jays’ wish list this winter.
Like Marcell Ozuna, Nicholas Castellanos will be a very popular name in free agency. He’s always been a good hitter, and he’s taken his offensive game to the next level in the last couple of years (126 wRC+). The one knock on Castellanos is that he’s a poor defensive outfielder. It’s why he should be below Marcell Ozuna in the list of free agent outfield options for the Blue Jays.
Realistic: Avisail Garcia
Given the lack of premium outfield options in the 2019-2020 free agent pool, the cost of signing Marcell Ozuna and Nicholas Castellanos might end up being too rich for the Blue Jays. The next name that they might look to is Avisail Garcia. Garcia is a solid, albeit unspectacular outfielder. He’s also young and has shown potential for reaching that next level (4.2 fWAR in 2017). However, though Garcia might be the Blue Jays’ most realistic option, it’s hard to justify adding a short-term fix if it’s going to take away opportunities from guys like Anthony Alford and Derek Fisher.
Intriguing: Yasiel Puig
It doesn’t seem too long ago when the Yasiel Puig looked like an emerging superstar for the L.A. Dodgers. Though he hasn’t lived up to the lofty expectations, Puig remains a highly productive player. He’s never had a season where his wRC+ was under 100 or fWAR under 1.0. In 2020, Puig will still only be 29 years old. Given his tantalizing ceiling, the Blue Jays would be wise to keep an eye on Yasiel Puig’s market this winter.