Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays: Free agent Freeman is gaining interest from AL East rivals

TORONTO, ON - MAY 16: Freddie Freeman #5 of the Atlanta Braves hits a two-run home run in the fifth inning during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on May 16, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - MAY 16: Freddie Freeman #5 of the Atlanta Braves hits a two-run home run in the fifth inning during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on May 16, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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This offseason, the Blue Jays have both gained and lost players that are going to change the dynamic of the roster heading into 2022. Gone are Robbie Ray, Marcus Semien, and Steven Matz while the club has brought in reliever Yimi Garcia as well as starting pitcher Kevin Gausman, a right-hander the club has been interested in for quite some time.

With free-agent transactions grinding to a halt once the CBA expired and the ensuing lockout, the rumour mill has pretty much been at a standstill, with MiLB deals and little tidbits emerging from insiders around the game. One interesting news story early into the lockout was that the Blue Jays had met with first baseman and free agent Freddie Freeman’s representatives, gauging interest in the slugger and most likely kicking the tires on a potential future contract discussion.

While it is surprising that the Atlanta Braves did not lock up Freeman before the lockout, it is no secret that the World Series champ on the Blue Jays roster would be an absolute game-changer. While he doesn’t necessarily fill in for a position of need at first base with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. slated to take on the role, adding his lefty-bat creates one of the most deadly batting orders in all of baseball alongside Guerrero Jr., George Springer, Bo Bichette, and Teoscar Hernandez. The Jays lack a power bat from the left side and Freeman, along with his solid defensive skills at first, makes the club better but will come with a steep price tag that is looking to be around the six-year, $180 million area.

Freddie Freeman garnered interest from the Blue Jays prior to the lockout but AL East rivals are not far behind in pursuing the talented first baseman.

At such a high price tag, it was a bit surprising to see some news coming from MLB Network’s Jon Heyman yesterday in that the Tampa Bay Rays had offered Freeman a contract offer prior to the lockout, with the terms not known at this time. Regarded as a small market team, the Rays have already made some waves when they locked up rising prospect Wander Franco to an 11-year pact worth $182 million, with the recent Freeman news looking like the club is willing to spend in order to win.

Already strong organization that finished first last season and were in the World Series back in 2020, Freeman heading to Florida would create a wrinkle in the AL East standings for the Jays, as the Rays are already projected on numerous rankings sites to finish first in the division. Similarly, Freeman is also being courted by other teams from across the league, with the New York Yankees also reportedly in the mix.

While it necessarily wouldn’t be the end of the world to see Freeman sign elsewhere, having him suit up for an AL East rival is something many Blue Jays fans would not be too keen on, especially since he has a stellar track record at the Rogers Centre, going 17 for 47 through 11 games with five home runs and a .362 batting average. Factor in that he would be joining an already dangerous Rays lineup (with more prospect talent on the way) and a Yankees team that is always a thorn in the Jays side, and the dynamics of the division could really change if Freeman signs with either rival team.

Next. The downside of being added to the 40-man roster this offseason. dark

It will be interesting once a new CBA is in place and free agency is underway again, as it is surely going to be a hectic 24-48 hours as teams try to solidify their rosters in a quick turnaround before Spring Training gets underway.

Will Freeman be donning a Jays jersey, or will fans be subjected to the California product suiting up for a rival squad?

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