Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays: Former position players who are currently MLB free agents

ST PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 28: Kevin Pillar #11 of the Toronto Blue Jays gets hit by a pitch in the sixth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays on September 28, 2018 at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
ST PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 28: Kevin Pillar #11 of the Toronto Blue Jays gets hit by a pitch in the sixth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays on September 28, 2018 at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /
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TORONTO, ON – MAY 11: Kevin Pillar #11 of the Toronto Blue Jays races around second base on his way to third base before being thrown out while attempting to stretch a double into a triple in the ninth inning during MLB game action against the Boston Red Sox at Rogers Centre on May 11, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Kevin Pillar /

Joe Panik

Veteran Joe Panik has the rare distinction of being one of the only Blue Jays players to spend multiple seasons in Toronto yet never play a game at the Rogers Centre. Joining the squad prior to the shortened 2020 campaign, Panik spent one and a half seasons with the Jays, owning a .235 batting average through 234 at-bats. Brought in as a veteran bench piece, Panik ended up being traded at the 2021 trade deadline alongside prospect Andrew McInvale in exchange for reliever Adam Cimber and outfielder Corey Dickerson.

After the trade, Panik saw his production drop, struggling to a .462 OPS with one home run and seven RBI through 122 at-bats. He did miss a couple of weeks in August on the IL but the club would DFA him at the end of the season, making him a free agent. He will most likely be looking for a Minor League deal come Spring Training.

While players cannot sign MLB deals at this time, the Blue Jays have quite a few former position players who are still looking for a deal this offseason.

Kevin Pillar

Known for his defensive ability and Superman-like diving plays, outfielder Kevin Pillar was one of the veteran players Blue Jays fans had to say goodbye to when the club was rebuilding in the late 2010s. Drafted in the 32nd round by the Blue Jays, Pillar grinded his way through the Minor Leagues and made his MLB debut in 2013. One of the longer-tenured Jays on this list, Pillar was a staple of the Jays’ 2015 and 2016 playoff teams and would leave the organization with a career .260/.297/.396 slash line with 55 home runs and a .692 OPS through 695 games. Defensively, Pillar was an absolute wizard, earning 24 and 22 bDRS in 2015 and 2016 respectively while making highlight-reel plays almost on a nightly basis.

At the start of the 2019 campaign, Pillar would be traded to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for Alen Hanson, Derek Law, and Juan de Paula. He would spend one season in the Bay Area before moving on to the Boston Red Sox, Colorado Rockies, and finally the New York Mets for the 2021 campaign. With the Mets, Pillar lost a touch defensively (-1 bDRS in the outfield) and posted a .692 OPS with 15 home runs and an 88 OPS+ through 124 games. He and the Mets both declined their contract options and the righty-batter became a free agent.

Travis Shaw

Signing a one-year deal with the Blue Jays for the 2020 season, infielder Travis Shaw was looking for a fresh start with Toronto after spending the past three seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers. Known as the “Mayor of Ding Dong City”, the lefty batter mustered six home runs and a 95 OPS+ with the Blue Jays while splitting time between third and first base.

Becoming a free agent at the end of the season, Shaw signed a Minor League deal with the Brewers but would spend a couple of months on the IL with a dislocated shoulder. The Red Sox would pick him up on waivers in mid-August and he would finish the season in Boston, amassing a .200 batting average with nine home runs and a .659 OPS through 220 at-bats. He elected free agency at the end of the season.

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