As free agency sets to begin tomorrow, teams from across the league can negotiate with any eligible free agent five days after the conclusion of the World Series. The Blue Jays will now have the ability to take a look at some players who could help the team but not break the bank nor cost them draft picks because they aren’t tied to a qualifying offer.
All in all, 14 players received a QO, two of them being Marcus Semien and Robbie Ray, while the club offered a multi-year deal to southpaw Steven Matz but he declined, looking to test the open waters. That being said, here are three players who are not tied to a qualifying offer who are realistic options that could help the major league roster next season.
I will try and keep this is as realistic as possible (for example, Freddie Freeman is a free agent but will most likely return to Atlanta) so some of the bigger names may not make the list (but some might).
A player that is already on the Blue Jays radar, Kevin Gausman accepted the qualifying offer from the San Francisco Giants last offseason and heads to free agency one again, minus the draft pick compensation holding him back.
The Jays’ front office reportedly offered Gausman a three-year deal in the $40 million range before he took the offer from the Giants and I would expect that the interest is still there considering he didn’t lose a step in 2021. Gausman authored a 2.81 ERA through 33 starts in San Francisco, striking out 227 batters through 192.0 innings of work. That comes a year after he posted a strong 2020 campaign, pitching to a 3.62 ERA through 59.2 innings during the shortened season.
The competition for the right-hander’s services will be off the charts considering he isn’t tied to the qualifying offer and you can expect the Giants will want him back. You can also expect that the Blue Jays will have to improve their offer from last season, as Spotrac has his market value sitting at $22.4 million.
Whether this is realistic or not, if Robbie Ray does end up heading elsewhere next season, having Gausman join the team would be almost like a similar replacement, considering the right-hander actually bested Ray in terms of ERA by a few points. This is one to keep an eye on for sure.