Blue Jays looking for a high-end 4th outfielder?
As the MLB hot stove continues to simmer, it sounds like the Blue Jays are still exploring multiple ways to make the roster better.
So far the Jays have been heavily tied to the outfield market, which makes sense after they traded Teoscar Hernandez to the Seattle Mariners, and also designated Raimel Tapia and Bradley Zimmer for assignment. They're more than likely going to need some kind of replacement for Hernandez, and it sounds like they'd like to upgrade their fourth outfielder situation as well.
The reason I say that is because more recent rumours have tied the Blue Jays to players like former Tampa Bay Ray Kevin Kiermaier, as well as Joey Gallo, who spent last season between the Yankees and the Dodgers. While both players have their upsides, I'd be genuinely surprised if the Jays, or any other contender for that matter, had real interest in bringing either player in as a full-time starter.
It makes sense that the Blue Jays would want to protect their outfield depth chart, especially after all of the injuries they've had to navigate over the last few years. The most significant would be the plethora of injuries that George Springer has dealt with over his first two seasons as a Blue Jay, which also led to Tapia playing in 128 games last year. This time around, it sounds like the Jays would prefer to have a stronger depth chart.
Will they be able to add a player like Kiermaier or Gallo to that kind of role? A big part of me is doubtful, and it almost feels like they would have to guarantee some sort of role or percentage of playing time in order to get either player to sign up. Dependiing on what else Ross Atkins and company decides to do with the roster, that might be easier said than done for John Schneider and the coaching staff, especially if that fourth outfielder isn't producing, or if the regular starters happen to stay mostly healthy throughout the year.
In my mind, I'm not against the idea of signing either player, but I hope it means that they're also looking for another regular to join the lineup. For a player like Gallo, for example, the lower the pressure the better, and setting him up for an opportunity to earn a more regular role is probably the way to go.
For now, the rumours will continue to swirl, and whether that's the Blue Jays pursuing Cody Bellinger, Brandon Nimmo, or the latest two outfielders they've been connected to, it sounds like the outfield is going to have a bit of a different look one way or another.