Blue Jays: Alternative free agents for Jays top misses of the offseason

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Diego Padres
Los Angeles Dodgers v San Diego Padres / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages

The Winter Meetings have come and gone and the Toronto Blue Jays have emerged from them empty-handed.

It has been a painful few days for the team and their supporters as they’ve watched several desirable free agents sign elsewhere.

The pool of top players is growing thin, although the market still offers some potential fits for areas of need.

Blue Jays: Starting Pitchers

It seemed the Blue Jays had something cooking before the Winter Meetings kicked off when it was reported the team has extended a contract offer to Andrew Heaney. 

This generated some buzz amongst the fan base as the southpaw was coming off a season with the Dodgers that saw him record the highest strikeout rate of his career. Lo and behold, Heaney put pen to paper with the Texas Rangers instead. 

The pursuit of Heaney suggests an interest in bringing in another left-handed starter and the club could do a lot worse than sign Sean Manaea. 

Manaea slumped in San Diego last season but had some really good years in Oakland and fits the mold of a Pete Walker reclamation project. 

The 30-year-old southpaw can rack up the strikeouts and could easily slot into the No. 4 spot in the Jays rotation. He’s been a durable, consistent starter throughout his career and could be a valuable asset.

Blue Jays: Relief Pitching

Kenley Jansen was a supposed target over the last couple of offseasons but wound up inking a deal with Boston. 

While Jansen has more star power, the Jays could do well by pivoting to a lesser-known strikeout artist, Corey Knebel. 

Knebel has quietly averaged nearly 12 strikeouts per nine innings over his eight-year career and would add depth to a unit that hasn’t quite been good enough over the last two years.

Blue Jays: Outfielders

After being linked to Brandon Nimmo for weeks, the Jays' disappointing stretch continued when Nimmo signed on to return to New York in another Mets megadeal. This followed a week that Cody Bellinger and Masataka Yoshida, two other rumored targets, get scooped up by the Cubs and the Red Sox respectively. 

Michael Brantley is the most obvious match out of the players still left unsigned. The interest is nothing new as it appeared for a few moments during the 2021 hot stove season that Toronto had signed not one, but two former Houston Astros. 

Brantley would bring a veteran leadership presence along with a much-needed lefty bat. He’s been one of the best contact hitters in the game for almost a decade but has primarily been a left fielder, a position where Lourdes Gurriel Jr. has found a comfort zone.

If the Jays are considering asking a veteran to switch positions, they should also consider signing David Peralta. Like Brantley, he’s mostly played in left field, but has some power and would likely be used as a DH option too.

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