Blue Jays Rumours: Why The Interest in Kolten Wong?

The Toronto Blue Jays have shown interest in a number of free agents so far this off-season, including former Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong.

The Toronto Blue Jays have been connected to plenty of free agents in recent weeks as the rumour mill continues to swirl in MLB. While pitching remains much of the focus in Toronto, a number of position players have also emerged as likely targets for Ross Atkins and the Blue Jays front office.

That group includes long-time St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong. After the Cards declined his $12.5 million option for the 2021 season, Wong became a free agent for the first time in his career. The eight-year big league vet just turned 30 last month and is coming off back-to-back Gold Glove seasons in St. Louis.

With run prevention being a key point of emphasis for the Blue Jays this off-season, it’s no surprise that Wong is on the team’s radar. Wong has been an above average defensive player throughout his career, while also showing good discipline at the plate and some speed on the base paths.

Wong has posted a 16.7 bWAR for his career, with those totals peaking in 2019. During that season with the Cardinals, he slashed .285/.361/.423 with 11 home runs, 59 RBI, and 24 stolen bases in 148 games. He posted a 5.2 bWAR as a 28-year old in 2019 and even earned a couple MVP votes in the National League.

Wong’s offence took a step back in 2020, however, as his batting average regressed closer to his career average and his power touch dried up entirely. Wong went deep just once over 208 plate appearances this past season, while posting 16 RBI and five stolen bases. For his career, the veteran has slashed .261/.333/.384 in 852 games played. He has hit 53 home runs with 281 RBI and 351 runs scored. Wong has also stolen 88 bases while being thrown out 25 times.

What He Would Bring To Toronto

Wong’s defense would be a welcome addition to the Blue Jays roster. Currently, Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio make up the middle infield in Toronto and if Wong were to be added to the mix, Biggio would likely find himself on the move to either third base or the outfield. After seeing Travis Shaw start the majority of games this past season on the hot corner, an infield featuring Biggio, Bichette, and Wong on most nights would be an obvious upgrade.

The 30-year-old would also bring a unique skill set to the Toronto line-up. The Blue Jays already have a ton of guys who can hit home runs and strike out, two things Wong isn’t known for. Instead, Wong’s ability to work an at-bat and inject some speed into the base paths could help balance out the Jays batting order. He would at least give Charlie Montoyo some more versatility and another potential table setter who could be moved up and down the order.

Wong would also bring a veteran presence to a team that already features so much young talent in the line-up and on the infield. With other free agent infielders, such as DJ LeMahieu, commanding big money this winter, an addition like Wong could be done at a much more reasonable number. A two- or three-year deal in the $8-10 million range would allow the Blue Jays to remain aggressive on the pitching front and feel better about their team defence going forward.

If Biggio were to move to the outfield, an addition like Wong could also be the catalyst for a potential trade involving one of the Blue Jays outfielders. There is no shortage of ways for Toronto to go about reshaping the roster this off-season, so it makes sense that the team has been brought up in so many rumours.

Kolten Wong would be a welcome free agent addition to the Blue Jays roster and one that wouldn’t strap the team financially.