Toronto Blue Jays News

Who will be the Blue Jays designated hitter this season?

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 07: Alejandro Kirk #30 of the Toronto Blue Jays in action during a game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on September 7, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 07: Alejandro Kirk #30 of the Toronto Blue Jays in action during a game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on September 7, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – OCTOBER 18: Kyle Schwarber #18 of the Boston Red Sox watches his home run against the Houston Astros during Game Three of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park on October 18, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Outside Options

Considering no Major League team can sign a player to an MLB deal with the ongoing CBA negotiations, the DH position is not really stacked outside of a few players in terms of free agents.

Nelson Cruz is one of the  “DH only” types of players given his age and defensive liabilities that sits at the top of the list of potential options for the Jays. Splitting last season between Minnesota and Tampa Bay, Cruz started off well with the Twins to the tune of a .907 OPS with 19 home runs but stepped back a bit with the Rays, dropping to .725 OPS but still hitting the long ball with 13 home runs.

His current market value via Spotrac is $14 million and one would imagine that he would be signing a short-term contract given he is entering the twilight years of his career. He could fit well with the club given the Jays are poised to compete this season and they could use his power bat but the risk would be that you would get the Cruz that ended with Tampa vs. the player who was an All-Star with the Twins.

Another name on the list that would be an excellent addition but would be worth a pretty penny is lefty-batter Kyle Schwarber.

After six seasons with Chicago, Schwarber resurrected his career last season split between the Washington Nationals and Boston Red Sox, finishing the year with a .266/.374/.554 slash line, 32 home runs, and a .928 OPS. He also ranked high on many different offensive categories such as average exit velocity (90th percentile), xwOBA (95th percentile), and barrel percentage (96th percentile) and also bats from the left side, something that is lacking on the current roster.

Defensively, he has primarily spent most of his time in left field but did start taking reps at first base last season after he was traded to the Red Sox. This could bode well with Guerrero Jr., in that the two could create a tandem at first base/DH that would keep both players in the lineup and adds Schwarber’s power bat from the left side.

Next. Kevin Smith could be the Blue Jays breakout prospect this year. dark

The risk associated with this signing is that Schwarber wants big-time money, reportedly asking for a three-year deal worth $60 million, which could blowback on the Jays if he cannot find the same bat that elevated his status in 2021. He will also have a long list of suitors when the universal DH comes into effect in the near future (at least as per the current CBA discussions).

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