1) Brandon Woodruff
Most baseball fans won't be surprised to see Brandon Woodruff at the top of our list of five players the Blue Jays should pursue. He is generally accepted as the best available player of everyone non-tendered.
Woodruff is expecting to miss most of the 2024 campaign, after undergoing right shoulder surgery to repair his anterior capsule. It was just part of an injury-filled 2023, which compromised what could have been a outstanding season.
When the two-time All-Star was healthy, he was on course for the best season of his seven years in the Majors. He set career-bests with a 2.28 ERA, 189 ERA+, 5.9 percent walk rate and 0.821 WHIP.
In general, Woodruff has been excellent for the majority of his time in the Majors, with a 46-26 record in 115 starts and 130 overall games. Along the way, he has produced a 3.10 ERA, 137 ERA+, 3.19 FIP and 1.045 WHIP.
Pending his ability to remain healthy in the future, the 30-year-old has a fine pitching arsenal and can still improve. He could make what is already an excellent Blue Jays rotation even better in the future, especially when considering the questions marks surrounding Yusei Kikuchi and more so Alek Monoah.
Woodruff had a contract worth $10.8 million this past season and is projected to get around $11.6 million with his next deal. This would be excellent value -- again pending his health -- at essentially half of what Kevin Gausman and Chris Bassitt will get next year.
Alluding to Woodruff's opinion of his worth, consider a recent report in respect of negotiations he had with the Brewers. As per Bob Nightengale of USA Today, he was apparently offered a two-year deal, but talks eventually broke off.
There seems little doubt the Blue Jays would be able to afford whatever the 2011 fifth round draft pick wants, within reason of course given his health issues. They should definitely make a play for him, although you would anticipate a lot of competition for his services.