This past off-season was pretty busy for the Toronto Blue Jays, as the club signed outfielder George Springer to the largest financial contract in team history at 6 years, $150 million while also signing Marcus Semien, Robbie Ray, Kirby Yates, David Phelps, and Tyler Chatwood to one-year deals. While Springer has missed some time on the injured list along with Yates and Phelps, who are both done for the season, Semien and Ray have been outstanding additions to the club while Chatwood was the only one to really flame out.
That being said, the Blue Jays were interested in quite a few free agents this past Winter, and although they did attempt to sign a few different players, some spurned the club to sign elsewhere while others never received a formal offer from the club.
Here is a list of players that the Blue Jays were lucky to miss out on, whether or not they were just partially interested in them or actually offered a contract to said player and they went elsewhere.
Trevor Bauer – RHP
The coveted starter on the free-agent market this past off-season, the Blue Jays appeared very interested in signing Trevor Bauer after the numbers he put up with the Cincinnati Reds last season.
He would start 11 games in the shortened season and would pitch to a 1.73 ERA with 100 strikeouts in 73.0 innings of work, earning the NL Cy Young award in the process.
Adding Bauer to the rotation would have been a big help considering the only additional arms added during the off-season were Ray and Steven Matz (via trade) and adding Bauer would form a formidable one-two punch with Hyun Jin Ryu at the top of the rotation. The right-hander even confirmed the mutual interest when he posted a video to his Twitter account mentioning that he spoke with Jays pitching coach Pete Walker and other members of the coaching staff.
Bauer would end up signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers on a three-year, $102 million dollar contract with player options for both the second and third years worth roughly $35 million each year. The Blue Jays even made it into his Lebron-style announcement video but he would go on to sign with the Dodgers, with no word on any reported contract details on whether the Jays’ offered the right-hander anything official.
In his first season in California, Bauer has appeared in 17 games this season and thrown to a 2.59 ERA through 107.2 innings with 37 walks, 137 strikeouts, and a 1.00 WHIP.
While the stats are impressive, the California product is experiencing some difficulty off the field, as he is currently under administrative leave from Major League Baseball in regards to sexual assault allegations made against him earlier this year. While the case is currently with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, Bauer is currently on paid leave and could receive a further suspension from the MLB once the dust settles with his legal proceedings.
His stats are impressive on the field but it is the off-the-field issues that are the main reason the club was lucky to miss out on Bauer, as he has not appeared in a game since June 28th and is earning almost $40 million this season (his leave is paid). The Jays went through a similar scenario with Roberto Osuna back in 2018 and traded him to the Houston Astros once his suspension was over.
While it is not my place to comment whether or not he is guilty (as the legal system will do that for us), having a player making a ton of money and not playing due to a league administered leave does not help the club and it is better to have no drama off the field impacting what the team is doing on the field.