With Kevin Kiermaier only signing a one-year deal prior to this season, the Blue Jays were always going to get his best effort. However, even they couldn't have anticipated just how good he was going to be.
Kiermaier is statistically regarded as one of the best outfield defenders of all time. He continued in this vein during 2023, to help make the Blue Jays one of the best defences in the Majors.
The three-time Gold Glove Award winner finished second on the Blue Jays with a 2.2 dWAR, his best since 2017. He also finished second among all centre fielders with 18 Defensive Runs Saved.
However, where Kiermaier really stepped it up was with his bat, with him at one point on course for the best offensive season of his 11 years in the Majors. At the end of May, he had a slash line of .319/.365/.521 and a .886 OPS.
The 33-year-old did subsequently cool off a bit, but still had a strong offensive season overall. His batting average was the second-best of his career, while he had his best slugging percentage and OPS since 2017.
One of the biggest travesties was that Kiermaier didn't get selected for his first-ever All-Star Game, despite being entirely worthy. Even allowing for every team needing at least one representative combined with voting often being a popularity contest, something just felt wrong about the snub.
Taking everything into account, it really does seem that the former Tampa Bay Ray peaked in 2023. However, at least the Blue Jays were able to benefit from his experience and excellent play.
As per Kiermaier's message on social media after the Blue Jays were knocked out of the playoffs, it sure seems like he is one-and-done in Toronto. If so, fans can feel satisfied he gave it his all.