Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays: Looking ahead to the 2021 free agent crop

TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 15: Ross Atkins, Executive Vice President, Baseball Operations & General Manager of the Toronto Blue Jays presents Shun Yamaguchi #1 his jersey and hat during a press conference at Rogers Centre on January 15, 2020 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 15: Ross Atkins, Executive Vice President, Baseball Operations & General Manager of the Toronto Blue Jays presents Shun Yamaguchi #1 his jersey and hat during a press conference at Rogers Centre on January 15, 2020 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
4 of 5
Next
BALTIMORE, MD – SEPTEMBER 19: Rowdy Tellez #44 of the Toronto Blue Jays in position during a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 19, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD – SEPTEMBER 19: Rowdy Tellez #44 of the Toronto Blue Jays in position during a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 19, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

First Base

I included first base because it was a position with a lot of question marks going into the off-season, and in some ways they’ll continue a year from now unless Rowdy Tellez can take charge and start playing the position on a regular basis.

For now, the Blue Jays have Travis Shaw ready to make the majority of starts at first base, and he’ll be looking to bounce back from a dreadful 2019 campaign. Prior to that he was an above-average hitter for power and average, with the ability to play first, second, and third base. If the 29-year-old can get back on track with his career in 2020, he could be a fit to stick around. He’ll actually still be arbitration eligible in 2021 for the last time, so the Blue Jays could choose to retain him, even in a utility role going forward.

I know many of you are thinking that Vladimir Guerrero Jr. could make the move to first base by next season, but the Blue Jays are operating as if that isn’t going to happen, and for now so am I. That said, I would still expect them to seek a short-term solution because of that eventual possibility, so a free agent like Carlos Santana (Cleveland has an expensive club option on him they’ll likely decline), or maybe even Yuli Gurriel could join his brother in Toronto on a short-term deal.

Ultimately I’m sure the Blue Jays are hoping they can find a solution for 2020 and 2021 between Tellez and Shaw, who could both provide a necessary left-handed bat to complement the rest of the group. If not, I suspect they’ll look at someone like Santana, Gurriel, or who knows, Justin Smoak will be a free agent again too.

facebooktwitterreddit