The Blue Jays have managed to extract some remarkable value from their recent free agent signings. Who might they target this offseason?
We already know that if they’re serious about trying to retain one or both of Robbie Ray and Marcus Semien that they’re going to have to spend big to do so. Last season Ross Atkins and company struck one-year contract gold with both players, signing Ray for eight million on his way to likely winning the AL Cy Young award, and Semien for 18 million, only to be rewarded with production that was good enough for a Silver Slugger and Gold Glove award, and also a top-three finish in MVP voting.
While I don’t think Atkins and his team will shy away from a big-money long-term deal for the right player, I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re looking for potential candidates that could give them similar levels of bargain-rate production. Using Semien this past season as an example, he didn’t come cheap at 18 million, but he far, far outproduced his salary in terms of WAR (Wins Above Replacement) value that he brought to the Blue Jays.
I’ve talked about some buy-low candidates before, but today I’d like to focus more on players that I think could far exceed their projected free agent value. I feel like the Blue Jays are always on the hunt for that type of player, and have many that fit the description on the current roster. As they balance their immediate and long-term needs, I’m sure it’s still a central idea in their offseason plans.