Blue Jays Trade Targets: Landing a former MVP may be complicated, but worth it

Which former MVP could the Blue Jays pursue to bolster their 2024 roster?

Wild Card Series - Arizona Diamondbacks v Milwaukee Brewers - Game Two
Wild Card Series - Arizona Diamondbacks v Milwaukee Brewers - Game Two / John Fisher/GettyImages

With the recent departure of Kevin Kiermaier, the Toronto Blue Jays are currently left with a huge hole to fill this offseason in the outfield. Not only did Kiermaier provide Gold Glove-caliber defence in 2023, he gave the club an added boost offensively both at the plate and on the basepaths. To find an adequate replacement to cover all three important aspects of the game may be difficult, but if a certain superstar that could come close to matching that level of production, it is certainly worth pursuing.

In recent weeks, MLB insider Ken Rosenthal from The Athletic (subscription required) has suggested that the Milwaukee Brewers may be headed towards a rebuild in the not-so-distant future. With some of the moves being made by the team, it sure looks this may be happening already. Trade deadline acquisition Mark Canha has been traded to the Detroit Tigers for a pitching prospect while co-ace Brandon Woodruff was recently non-tendered by the club and is now a free agent. Rosenthal further elaborated that if the Brewers indeed go bigger with a sell-off, even superstar Christian Yelich could be made available.

If that is the case, the Blue Jays should consider pursuing the former NL MVP. After all, the Jays did try once before back in 2018, but trade talks fell off because the Jays weren’t willing to move Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Yelich would be a perfect replacement for Kiermaier in the Jays’ outfield. Although he may no longer be putting up 35+ homers and 95+ RBI like he did frequently during his dominant years, the two-time All-Star and three-time Silver Slugger could easily provide 15-20 home runs and 60-80 RBI per season going forward. More importantly, he still has the wheels, swiping 28 bases in 31 attempts this past season, which was just two off his career high of 30 in 2019.

Let's not forget, Yelich is also a former Gold Glove winner, so he'd provide solid defence in the outfield despite turning 32 by 2024. He has a career .993 fielding percentage with 15 DRS over 10 seasons playing in left field, which happens to also be his strongest position of the three. If he were to join the Jays, Daulton Varsho would move over to centre field to maximize his effectiveness.

However, things could get complicated as the Jays would need to deal with a few obstacles to make it happen. The biggest roadblock here is Yelich's contract. With an annual AAV of $26 million and five years remaining in his current deal, it will require the Brewers to help eat some of his salary as well to balance the books. Additionally, Yelich would need to agree to the trade as he possesses a full no-trade clause. If the Brewers are indeed looking at a rebuild, with Yelich’s hopes for a shot at a World Series championship diminishing by the year, he would certainly consider such a trade option to give himself all the opportunities he could get to win.