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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TORONTO, ONTARIO – SEPTEMBER 29: Justin Smoak #14 of the Toronto Blue Jays walks off the field after his team defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in the final game of the season in their MLB game at the Rogers Centre on September 29, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ONTARIO – SEPTEMBER 29: Justin Smoak #14 of the Toronto Blue Jays walks off the field after his team defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in the final game of the season in their MLB game at the Rogers Centre on September 29, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images) /

First Base

Best: Jose Abreu

Jose Abreu is a great first baseman, but he’s not a good fit for the Blue Jays. He’s a bit too old (33 in 2020), too expensive, and has declined the past two years.

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Realistic: Justin Smoak

One of the main reasons why Jose Abreu isn’t a good fit is because Justin Smoak is a free agent option. Smoak is the same age as Abreu, will cost less, and is highly respected in the Blue Jays clubhouse. The one concern with re-signing Smoak, or signing any free agent first baseman for that matter, is the possible timeshare dilemma that will arise with Rowdy Tellez‘s presence on the roster. And, though Smoak is a leader and can make positive contributions to the team, he’s too old to be a part of the future core. Would he accept a leadership role while only playing on a semi-regular basis? It’s a storyline to keep an eye on as the Blue Jays negotiate with Smoak this offseason.

Intriguing: Howie Kendrick

Howie Kendrick is coming off of a World Series championship. In 2019, his age 36 season, he was still electric as he batted .344/.395/.572 with 17 home runs in 121 games. Those offensive numbers were backed by an elite exit velocity (91.6 mph, 92nd percentile) and hard-hit percentage (48.3%, 94th percentile).

Next. Free agent game: How would you spend 35 million?. dark

Given Kendrick’s age, it’s hard to imagine he’ll ask for a big contract. If the price is right and Justin Smoak is off the market, then Kendrick should be a name that the Blue Jays pursue as their part-time first baseman and utility player, if he doesn’t choose to retire or return to the World Series champion Nationals.

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