Blue Jays: Best Free Agent Fits in Positions of Need

CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 13: Jake Odorizzi #12 of the Minnesota Twins pitches against the Cleveland Indians during the first inning at Progressive Field on July 13, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 13: Jake Odorizzi #12 of the Minnesota Twins pitches against the Cleveland Indians during the first inning at Progressive Field on July 13, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images) /
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CLEVELAND, OH – JULY 13: Jake Odorizzi #12 of the Minnesota Twins pitches against the Cleveland Indians during the first inning at Progressive Field on July 13, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH – JULY 13: Jake Odorizzi #12 of the Minnesota Twins pitches against the Cleveland Indians during the first inning at Progressive Field on July 13, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images) /

2. Starting Pitching

Best: Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg

Yeah, not happening.

Realistic: Jake Odorizzi, Kyle Gibson

Though Jake Odorizzi and Kyle Gibson aren’t the aces that fans would like, they are still very valuable pitchers. Odorizzi is coming off of his first All-Star selection, and Gibson is coming off a solid 2.6 fWAR season himself. Both pitchers are very similar in terms of talent: middle-of-the-rotation starters who you can trust every fifth day to give the team a chance to win. Gibson (32) is a bit older than Odorizzi (29) but won’t come with a qualifying offer attached. And, because of a lower ceiling, Gibson will likely command far less money than Odorizzi.

Intriguing: Alex Wood, Josh Lindblom

Alex Wood is the definition of a bounce-back candidate. From 2013 to 2018, Wood had a 3.29 ERA and 3.36 FIP in 803.1 innings of work. However, in 2019, Wood was uncharacteristically hit hard and finished the season with a 5.80 ERA and 6.38 FIP. His struggles appear to be injury-related as he missed the first half of the season with a back injury. Furthermore, Wood’s 2019 fastball velocity did not experience a decline.

The one concern with Wood would be his durability. He’s never pitched 200 innings in a season before and has only reached the 150 inning plateau four times in his seven year career. Still, Wood is reasonably young (29 in 2020), and his bounce-back potential should be very appealing for the Blue Jays. On a cheap, one or two year contract, Wood could be a perfect signing this off-season.

Unlike the players mentioned above, Josh Lindblom is not a name that Blue Jays fans would be familiar with. That’s because Lindblom has pitched in the KBO (Korea Baseball Organization) since 2015. In a league that’s famous for its offence, Lindblom put up fantastic numbers: a 3.55 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in 823.1 innings of work. And just last year, Lindblom had his best season yet, going 20-3 with a 2.50 ERA and 189-to-29 K/BB ratio.

Though he’ll be 33 in 2019, gambling on Lindblom wouldn’t be such a bad idea for the Blue Jays. If it works out, the Blue Jays would add a strong starter on a very reasonable contract. If it doesn’t work out, then the minimal commitment to Lindblom would not have a significant impact on the long-term payroll.

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