Blue Jays: The best ways to take advantage of payroll crunches

TORONTO, CANADA - DECEMBER 4: President Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins pose for a photo after speaking to the media as Atkins is introduced as the new general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays during a press conference on December 4, 2015 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, CANADA - DECEMBER 4: President Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins pose for a photo after speaking to the media as Atkins is introduced as the new general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays during a press conference on December 4, 2015 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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DUNEDIN, FL – FEBRUARY 24: Toronto Blue Jays president and CEO Mark Shapiro visits with team mascot Ace prior to a ribbon cutting for the grand re-opening of the redesigned ball park prior to a Grapefruit League spring training game against the Atlanta Braves at TD Ballpark on February 24, 2020 in Dunedin, Florida. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
DUNEDIN, FL – FEBRUARY 24: Toronto Blue Jays president and CEO Mark Shapiro visits with team mascot Ace prior to a ribbon cutting for the grand re-opening of the redesigned ball park prior to a Grapefruit League spring training game against the Atlanta Braves at TD Ballpark on February 24, 2020 in Dunedin, Florida. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

It sounds like there will be a lot of teams looking to shed some payroll obligations this winter, and that could be a great opportunity for the Blue Jays.

It’s going to be an odd offseason for Major League Baseball, and we’re already seeing free agency come in with a well-anticipated whimper.

That’s to be expected after a shortened 60-game season that also lacked any ticket revenue while teams played in empty stadiums, and it’s likely to have a tremendous impact on the offseason in several ways. The free agent pool is bound to suffer a bit for sure, but we’re already seeing some GM’s making moves to cut payroll ahead of next year, and that’s a situation where the Blue Jays need to keep their eyes peeled.

They already passed on one potential way to improve the team when they didn’t claim Brad Hand from waivers, but after every other front office made the same decision, he’ll be a surprising addition to the free agent pool. Seeing Cleveland rid themselves of Hand’s 10 million dollar contract tells us a lot, especially after a season that he posted some of the best numbers in the AL among relievers. With that in mind, there are bound to be other opportunities to pick up expensive players.

Chances are that’s going to come through the trade route now, but my guess is that trade value will be way down, especially on more expensive players. If that’s the case, who are some of the best players the Blue Jays could pursue this winter, offering to take a heavy contract off the hands of their former team? Let’s have a look at some of the best options that could be legitimately available.

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