Now that Major League Baseball and its owners have resumed talks, fans of the game can at least be hopeful of a deal being completed in the near future. With that in mind, Blue Jays supporters must be thinking about what moves their team will make next.
Just before the lockout began, the Jays came to terms with starting pitcher Kevin Gausman, which helped offset the loss of Robbie Ray. The team also watched Marcus Semien walk out the door to sign a megadeal with the Texas Rangers.
That made the focus clear on what players the organization could target once a potential agreement is made.
Blue Jays: Potential Next Moves
The defections of Ray and Semien left the Blue Jays with a pair of obvious needs in their roster. They’ve long been linked to Cleveland Guardians’ third baseman Jose Ramirez. That’s a move that would absolutely improve the roster but would likely command a steep return.
Another splashy move they could consider that would fill a need would be signing Kris Bryant. He wouldn’t come cheap either as he’s recognized as one of the top free agents still available.
Bryant’s versatility is one of the things that makes him such an asset. He’s primarily been a third baseman throughout his career but can also play any of the outfield spots or first base. His top-flight hitting ability would add to one of MLB’s most dangerous lineups.
While bringing in Bryant would certainly move the needle, it’s not the most financially responsible thing to do. Management needs to consider their young stars who will be due for a raise or extension soon, not to mention the $100-plus contract they just handed to Gausman.
With how close this team appears to be a legitimate World Series contender, bringing in a solid veteran or two might be a better course of action.
Sure, the loss of Semien stings, but the Jays were never going to agree to the terms he signed to with Texas, particularly the length of the deal.
Just before the lockout began, the Blue Jays came to terms with starting pitcher Kevin Gausman, which helped offset the loss of Robbie Ray.
Replacing a player like Semien won’t be easy, but a by-committee approach could be considered. Signing a veteran like Josh Harrison or Jose Iglesias could be prudent. Both have positional flexibility and are underrated offensive performers.
Toronto could also consider bringing back utility man Jonathan Villar if they want to test those water again.
Filling out the Rotation
Even with Ray’s signing with the Seattle Mariners, the Blue Jays boast a starting top four among the best in the American League.
Adding another lefthanded starter would be a good idea. Kwang Hyun Kim is one of the best available on the open market and should be considered. He posted a 7-7 record with a 3.46 ERA over 106.2 innings in 2021 with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Exploring the trade market for Kyle Freeland could be a smart move as well. Randal Grichuk suffered through a miserable second-half in 2021 and could be a prime candidate to be moved. He also seems like the type of player who would hit 40-plus homers playing half his games at hitter-friendly Coors Field.
Finally, if they do trade Grichuk adding a player like Tony Kemp (also through the trade market) could work. He’d be a better fit as an additional outfielder/utility player with plus speed.
Whatever the Blue Jays do, baseball fans around the world will be elated when the great game is back.