It’s been a holiday season of empty stockings for Toronto Blue Jays fans. Ohtani is a Dodger – so close, yet so far – as is Yamamoto, while Soto is headed to the Bronx. Don’t despair just yet though. If front office proclamations are to be believed, the Jays have some $40+ million left to spend this offseason, and still lurking in the free agent market are a number of potential game changers. At this point, it’s not a matter of if, but when, and more importantly, who.
Who should the Jays be targeting with the wads of cash now inevitably burning a hole in their pocket, and who should they resolutely avoid? Below, you’ll find five free agents the Jays have been tied to in recent days – three they should make every effort to sign, and two you might be surprised to hear they should stay away from.
Three free agents the Blue Jays should sign
1. Cody Bellinger
Last week, reports emerged calling the Jays “the favorite” to land Bellinger, the biggest name still out there on the free agent market. If the rumors are true, Blue Jays fans should be ecstatic, since the former MVP checks just about every box the team is looking for.
Not only is he the middle-of-the-order lefty slugger the Jays have long sought – coming off a year in which he slashed .307/.356/.881 and earned his second Silver Slugger award – but he plays something between solid and spectacular defense at all three outfield spots, meaning he could bounce around all over the grass as well as at first base.
Of course, signing Bellinger would come with significant risk. After his MVP season in 2019, he effectively fell off a cliff, slashing an almost impossibly bad .203/.272/.376 over 1,143 plate appearances from 2020-2022, before reviving his career in 2023. Might he regress back into the player who was basically unplayable for three seasons? It’s a question many teams are not willing to oblige themselves to find the answer to, particularly considering that Bellinger’s contract is expected to be north of $200M.
And yet, what free agent does not come with risk? Ohtani got $700M, and he blew his arm out a few months ago, while Yamamoto got $325M, and he’s never thrown an inning in the big leagues. If the Jays are serious about serious about chasing championships, the opportunity to sign a potential MVP candidate entering his prime is too good to pass up.