What we’ve been waiting for in centre field?
Despite the fact that the Blue Jays have a full outfield trio with Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Teoscar Hernandez, and Randal Grichuk, we’ve heard an awful lot about upgrades this offseason.
The biggest reason for that is the fact that George Springer is a free agent, and one who has been linked to the Blue Jays fairly frequently. However, Springer has several suitors and is largely expected to sign with the Mets, so the Blue Jays need a Plan B if they want to improve the outfield.
Enter Ian Happ, who has just the type of versatility that the Blue Jays fall in love with. He’s spent plenty of time as an infielder throughout his career, but he played 56 games in the outfield in 2020, including 51 in centre field. He’s not a defensive wizard by any means, but he’s likely on par with what Springer would bring to the table, and definitely an upgrade over Grichuk’s glove work. Happ also had a nice season at the plate this year, slashing .258/.361/.505 with 12 home runs, 11 doubles, and 28 RBI, good for 1.4 bWAR.
Spotrac.com has the switch-hitter slated for a salary of 3.5 million in 2021, with two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining before he’ll be a free agent. That will likely increase the Cubs’ ask in any trade discussions, and rightfully so. That said, he’s not a star on the level that Bryant or Baez have been, so the Cubs can’t ask for the moon either.
If the Blue Jays are unsuccessful in their pursuit of Springer, someone like Happ might be a great second option to improve the outfield. He’ll cost a few decent prospects if the Cubs are willing to trade him, but it’s an idea to keep in mind.