The Texas Rangers have successfully secured a spot in the 2023 World Series. Tuesday night will be the heavily-anticipated Game 7 of the NLCS between the Phillies and Diamondbacks to determine which team will take on the surging Rangers.
In Blue Jays land, there is not a ton of movement right now, as essentially the entire league is waiting for the World Series to end before the free agent market opens up and trades can once again be made.
Despite the fact that no moves can officially happen yet, there are still some rumblings about what the Blue Jays could do this offseason, as well as some of their pending free agents already having some suitors lining up.
Let's dive in.
Jordan Hicks could return to the St. Louis Cardinals in free agency
Flamethrowing reliever Jordan Hicks came over to the Blue Jays at the deadline for a pair of high-end pitching prospects. The right-hander was electric in 25 outings post-trade, posting a 2.63 ERA while lowering his H/9 and BB/9 from his time on the Cardinals this year.
Hicks, 27, may not have ever found a fit on the Jays (as previously mentioned by Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet) and is unlikely to come back. However, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said in a chat with his readers that "there will be a conversation about a reunion" between Hicks and the Cardinals.
After spending the first five-plus years of his career in St. Louis, it makes sense that the familiarity between player and organization would help them line up on a new deal. This now makes two pending Blue Jays free agents (Whit Merrifield, White Sox) who are already receiving interest in their services before officially hitting the open market.
Blue Jays could pursue a pair of utilitymen in free agency
Another tidbit from Nicholson-Smith, who name-dropped a pair of utility players the Blue Jays will have interest in once free agency opens. BNS names Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Amed Rosario, a pair of infielders who have recently dabbled in the outfield as well. He begins talking about potential free agent fits around the 27:00 mark.
Kinera-Falefa, 28, has spent the past two seasons on the division rival New York Yankees. He does not have any pop in his bat to speak of, but he's another player who plays above-average defense at multiple positions. The six-year veteran can play virtually any position on the diamond, including all three spots in the outfield and shortstop. He'd represent a low-cost option to replace Merrifield, but the Jays would have to sign him knowing it'd be a step back offensively.
Rosario, 27, has a ton of speed on the basepaths and has double-digit home run potential. He spent last year on the Guardians and Dodgers, hitting a combined .263 with eight triples, six home runs and 58 runs batted in. He would cost even less than IKF would on a potential free agent contract.
BNS and Blake Murphy threw a few additional names around, including Jeimer Candelario, Cody Bellinger and Jung-hoo Lee. The duo goes on to say that "there is not a single free agent they can't afford" to sign if the interest is there. However, BNS says that Bellinger could command a deal as high as seven years, which ramps up the risk factor for the Jays.
A pair of former Blue Jays are on the move
According to Dan Hayes of The Athletic, the Twins outrighted Jordan Luplow off of their 40-man roster. The 30-year-old elected to test free agency rather than accept an assignment to Triple-A. Luplow appeared in seven games for the 2023 Blue Jays, going 3-for-14 with a run driven in and a run scored. He is a right-handed slugger with solid pop against lefties, so he should be able to find a new contract with another team this offseason.
Elsewhere, Anthony Kay, who spent parts of four seasons on the Blue Jays, was placed on waivers by the New York Mets. On Tuesday, the Oakland A's announced that they claimed him off of waivers and gave him a spot on their 40-man roster. The southpaw made 17 appearances between the Cubs and Mets this past season, posting a ghastly 6.60 ERA with 11 strikeouts and nine walks in 15 innings of work.