Brandon Belt played a crucial role for the Jays in 2023. He was the team’s primary designated hitter and backup first baseman. The 35-year-old has hinted hard at retirement but has not filed any papers and is an obvious choice for another reunion.
Jorge Soler is another intriguing option at this spot. The Cuba native possesses tremendous power and is coming off one of his best seasons, blasting 36 home runs with the Miami Marlins. The 31-year-old isn’t known for his defense and only played 32 games in the outfield in 2023, so it would take some flexibility away from the DH slot, but Soler has the kind of slugging ability this team needs.
If the organization pursues someone to fill the Brandon Belt role but can’t convince Belt to return, they could consider Rhys Hoskins. The longtime Philadelphia Phillies slugger is a free agent after an injury in the 2022 postseason that caused him to miss the entire 2023 season.
For that reason, Hoskins is a prime candidate for a “pillow contract” or one with options. The 30-year-old has averaged 30 homers a season in each 162-game season since 2018 and crushed 18 in a 50-game “cameo” rookie season in 2017. Whether the veteran, who’s used to playing first base every day, is willing to accept a reduced part is a conversation worth having.
Another name that could be a wildcard in this market is Joc Pederson. He played DH in 79 of his 121 appearances in 2023 but can play either corner outfield position and features a sweet southpaw swing.