15 worst Toronto Blue Jays free agent signings in franchise history
Since their inception back in 1977, the Toronto Blue Jays have had many players appear in uniform for their club.
Free agent contracts are a funny thing. For every George Springer there’s a Travis Shaw. For every Roger Clemens there’s a Tanner Roark. For every Kevin Gausman there's a Jaime García.
You get the point.
Many of the moves the club has made over the years have worked out for the better but unfortunately, just as many did not work out.
We're going to run down the 15 worst free agent signings the Blue Jays have ever made. It was a painstaking process, but we found a way to narrow it down.
A warning ahead of time: you’ll notice a disturbing amount of players that came to Toronto to end their careers. There’s nothing behind that, just something that has been weird but true over the years.
Let me first establish that Yusei Kikuchi falls firmly into the “too early to tell” conversation. He has just one season with the Jays under his belt, two more to go, but last year he was an eyesore on the mound. Bearded Yusei Kikuchi could end up stealing the show here, so let's circle back to this one.
Before we dive all the way in, here are some of the honorable mentions who signed awful contracts but weren’t quite top-15 material.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia - minor league contract that led to $1.25M when promoted (2017)
Can’t hate on the Jays too much for this one because Salty was just two seasons removed from a 113 OPS+ showing in a 70-game cameo for the Diamondbacks. He played 10 games for the Jays and registered just one hit in 25 at-bats.
Tomo Ohka - one year, $1.5M (2007)
Ohka had been a longtime veteran in the league by the time he wound up with the Jays. He was coming off two poor seasons in a row as a member of the Brewers’ rotation and was just as bad in Toronto. In 10 starts, he was 2-5 with a 5.79 ERA in 56 innings, walking (22) more batters than he struck out (21).
Travis Shaw - one year, $4M (2019)
The “Mayor of Ding Dong City” proved to be an extremely valuable player for the Brewers across a four-year tenure but the club cut bait after an awful 2019 season. The Jays signed Shaw and he remained limited on both offense and defense. He posted a .239 average in 50 games in the 2020 season.