Toronto Blue Jays- The Pursuit of a More Productive Outfield
The big trick for teams in free agency is paying for future value and not for past performance. When assessing possible free agents that would help the Blue Jays in the win column, fit in the current Jays contention window and be affordable, a few names come to mind. If we think of the 2020 season as a season to improve but not necessarily contend (if it ever gets played), then let’s think of the 2021 and 2022 seasons as the years when the contention window opens up. So what outfielders might be available?
The cream of the crop has to be Mookie Betts. As Jays fans, we have all watched as Betts has dismantled the Jays for the past several seasons as a member of the Boston Red Sox. He is set to become the predominant free agent in 2021 and is expected to top Bryce Harper‘s $330 million contract and likely be seeking close to a Mike Trout type money. Huge dollars for any club, but the Blue Jays might be one of the better fits and still able to afford the contract. Betts is one of the best players in the league and would definitely look good in a Jays uniform.
The only other outfielder in the 2021 free agency class, which might fill the Jays needs, would be George Springer. With Springer, I have my hesitations. Springer will be a few years older than Betts and doesn’t have a track record of success. Springer is in the category of possibly paying for past performances while we as Jays fans watch declining skills as he enters into his mid 30’s.
The 2022 free agency class doesn’t boast the Betts type superstar, but there still could be a couple of upgrades. The two names that pop off the page are Michael Conforto and Kyle Schwarber. With Conforto, the Jays would get a good 3-4 WAR player with 30 homers, 100 RBI potential with solid defense. Schwarber would be all about the offense although I think the defense has improved over the past several years. Neither are guys that I would break the bank for, but they would be 29 years of age and could be a solid piece for a contending Jays team.