Blue Jays fans rejoice, we have ourselves a signing!
Per Shi Davidi of Sportsnet, the Jays are signing free agent outfielder Kevin Kiermaier to a deal pending a physical.
A longtime member of the division rival Tampa Bay Rays, Kiermaier, 32, will be providing the Jays with one of the best defenders on the grass in the last decade.
As of right now the financials are not known on the deal but if I had to venture a guess, I'd say it will be a one-year contract in the $12M range.
Kiermaier is a ten-year big league vet who saw his bat fall off a bit last season, although he appeared in just 63 games for the Rays.
In 221 plate appearances, the left-handed hitter registered seven home runs and 22 RBI, posting a .228 average and an OPS+ of 89. While this is somewhat concerning, he is just one year removed from a 122-game, 102 OPS+ showing.
An injury plagued season is undoubtedly to blame for his offensive dropoff last year so don't think that he's done producing. He said in an article with AP News that his labrum was "in really rough shape. It looked awful. The doctor showed me pictures on before and after the tear and it was incredible I played as long as I did."
Now that health is on his side, there's no telling how productive he could be for this Jays lineup that has so desperately needed some new blood.
A three-time Gold Glove winner, Kiermaier posted a jaw-dropping 4.6 dWAR in 2015 for the Rays while calling center field his home. As a matter of fact, he has posted over 1.0 dWAR in each of his full seasons in the majors.
Ethan Diamandas of Sports Illustrated took to Twitter to point out that Kiermaier's value is not limited to what you see on the field. He brings a natural leader to the clubhouse and has been known over the years as an excellent sparkplug amongst teammates.
Sure, this signing is not of the same magnitude as a Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts, Brandon Nimmo or Cody Bellinger deal would've been, but in Kiermaier, the Jays have addressed one of the main needs that Ross Atkins and Co. said they were looking to fill.
Kiermaier is a left-handed hitter in a very right-hand-heavy lineup and is a truly elite defensive talent. His presence will give George Springer more time at DH and right field, giving the Jays one of the better defensive outfields in the entire league.