The Toronto Blue Jays gave their fans some holiday cheer (or a lump of coal depending on who you ask) by making a trade for Daulton Varsho two days before Christmas.
Although the transaction checks many boxes and gives the team a new-look outfield, most people believe another outfielder will be brought in to provide depth and play a role similar to the one Raimel Tapia filled last season.
Some players are still available via the trade or free-agent markets who would fit in rather nicely.
At the very least, The Jays will need someone who can be a late-inning defensive replacement and occasional starter in either center or one of the corner outfield spots.
They could do worse than Adam Engel, who has excelled as a defender since breaking into the league but whose offensive game has often lagged behind. He was supposed to be the White Sox centerfielder of the future but that never materialized. Still, he has value as a part-time player.
Since 2017, Engel is fourth among all outfielders with 54 Outs Above Average (OAA) despite topping the 1000-inning mark just once. He showed some offensive potential in 2020 and 2021, hitting a combined .270 with 10 home runs, 14 doubles, and 30 RBI over 211 at-bats.
Obviously, that is a limited sample size and Engel regressed in 2022 with a .224 batting average and one homer but he’s shown he can be a capable hitter and an elite defensive outfielder.
After being a top prospect in the Rangers system over a decade ago and subsequently missing two years due to injury, Jurickson Profar has found new life on the West Coast with the San Diego Padres.
He’s coming off his finest season, when he hit .243 with 15 homers, 36 doubles, 58 RBI, and a 3.1 WAR. Recently, he’s played most of his games in the outfield but can fill in at second base or anywhere else on the infield as well.
While trading for another outfielder is less likely now that Varsho is on board, the Padres' logjam in the outfield created by their free-agency frenzy, could create an opportunity for Trent Grisham.
Like Engel, he’s known as a glove-first outfielder, but Grisham hit a career-high 17 home runs in 2022 and three more during the postseason. He also had a BAbip of just .231, far below the league average of .293.
Trades within the division are rare, but no one seems to know what the Red Sox plan is this offseason, and although Alex Verdugo has been a key player for them since 2020, he’s hardly indispensable and will be a free agent in 2025.
Verdugo may be better suited to a part-time/platoon role and he’s another lefty bat with speed, some power, and who plays with an edge. He has an OPS+ of 100 or more in each of the last four seasons and has eclipsed the 30-double plateau twice.