The Toronto Blue Jays boast a lineup with few peers around Major League Baseball. There’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr., leading the league in home runs and contending for the Triple Crown. George Springer, when healthy, provides power from the leadoff spot. Both Bo Bichette and Teoscar Hernandez drove in more than 100 RBI in 2021.
This was the lineup that led baseball in home runs and OPS last season, that got the Blue Jays to 91 wins and within a game of a postseason berth. They also have one thing in common: they are all right-handed.
For how prolific the Blue Jays were at the plate in 2021, most of it came from the right side. Of their 262 home runs last season, just 7.6 percent were hit by left-handers. The 20 homers hit by Blue Jays left-handers were the fewest in the league; the San Francisco Giants, by comparison, hit 131. Cavan Biggio, who hit his last on July 19 and appeared in only two games after August, led the team with seven. They had a combined OPS of .653, third-worst behind the Cardinals and Marlins.
Schwarber is powerful, hitting at least 30 home runs three times since 2017. He’s versatile, with the ability to play both the outfield and first base. He can be plugged in anywhere in the lineup; he played everywhere from leadoff (27 games) to the cleanup spot (28 games) last season with the Washington Nationals and Boston Red Sox. He’s also left-handed. He is, in short, everything the Blue Jays have been looking for this offseason.
The Blue Jays are reportedly eyeing Kyle Schwarber, a left-handed free-agent slugger who is just what the lineup needs
Schwarber’s 2021 season took off as soon as the calendar turned to June. He hit 16 home runs in an 18-game stretch during the month, joining Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa as the only players in MLB history to do so. Only a hamstring injury suffered in early July and caused him to miss six weeks could slow him down.
After being traded to the Red Sox at the deadline, his OPS was more than 300 points higher than the Blue Jays team average. No Blue Jays left-hander had a multi-homer game last season; Schwarber alone did it six times, including a three-homer game against the New York Mets on June 20.
Even when he wasn’t flashing his power, Schwarber proved adept at getting on-base. His 13.6 percent walk rate ranked 16th in the league last season among batters with at least 300 plate appearances and was better than every Blue Jays batter. Only Guerrero had a higher on-base percentage than Schwarber’s .374.
Opening Day for the Blue Jays is in 24 days. When they take the field on April 8th, a lineup beginning with Springer, followed by Schwarber and the trio of Guerrero, Bichette, and Hernandez, would be the envy of MLB.
He’s not one of the marquee free agents left on the market such as Freddie Freeman and Carlos Correa, but Schwarber would be a nice consolation prize for the Blue Jays.