Four tiers of lineup upgrades for the Blue Jays

Chicago White Sox v Toronto Blue Jays
Chicago White Sox v Toronto Blue Jays / Vaughn Ridley/GettyImages
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Tier 3

The next tier of players are moves that are close to guaranteed to provide an offensive impact, but wouldn’t classify as that big splash the front office has previously alluded to.

Joc Pederson

Pederson, a bat-first corner outfielder/DH, would slot into a run producing role in this lineup perfectly. Coming off a productive, two-year stint with the Giants, Pederson’s offensive approach took an interesting turn from one year to the next during that time.

During his All-Star 2022 season, Pederson was a hard hit merchant. This skillset put him in at least the 95th percentile in xwOBA, xSLG, average exit velocity, barrel percentage, and hard hit percentage, resulting in .521 slugging percentage and a 146 OPS+. He did all this damage while being a slightly above average hitter in terms of selectivity, ranking in the 67th percentile in walk percentage. 

The season that just passed showed a dip in his power output. His homer total dropped from 23 to 15, with his OPS+ dropping over 30 points to a lower but still admirable 111. This came alongside a remarkable increase in plate discipline, with his walk percentage ballooning to a number in the 91st percentile. 

Should the Blue Jays offer Pederson a deal, it’s likely it would be for multiple years. They’d be close to guaranteed a player at least in the middle of the performances from those two seasons, a guy who barrels the ball with a keen awareness of the strike-zone. Though a little above a liability with the glove, Pederson's potential production would be hard to ignore. His bat is worth the decrease in overall defence, as the Jays would love a capable left-handed bat in the middle of their order.

Teoscar Hernandez

A more significant returning Blue Jay, this old friend would be sure to bring back some much needed power and provide a spark to this lineup. After a mediocre year in Seattle, which saw him post his lowest OPS+ since 2020, Teo is still a sure bet to hit at least 20 home runs and provide passible defence in a corner outfield spot.

Despite playing in a career-high 160 games, Hernandez just never really got it going in 2023. Both his power and on-base skills took a step back from his time with the Blue Jays, but betting on Teo at a seemingly smaller price tag could be a smart move for a front office looking to reinvigorate this offence.

Matt Chapman

Perhaps the most significant possible reunion, bringing back Chappy brings two big guarantees. Those being Gold Glove defence and barrels. It’s been said again and again, but Chapman’s production put next to his peripherals just doesn’t make any sense. He is too talented to doubt his power potential after a down year, and bringing him back solves multiple problems the Jays currently face.

Attempting to bring back Chapman gives them an above-average third baseman for the foreseeable future, injects power back into this lineup that would be lost without him, and continues a good relationship with super agent Scott Broras.

Jorge Soler

What could very likely be the highest potential bat of this group, the former home run champion would slot very well into a LF/DH platoon in this Blue Jays lineup. Soler is coming off a season which saw a 128 OPS+ over 137 games, including 36 homers and 75 RBI on a below-average hitting Marlins team.

Soler has been inconsistent through his MLB career, but last years peripherals offer an encouraging sign that continued success is on the horizon. He had a .374 xwOBA, putting him in the 93rd percentile, and also posted the second-best walk percentage of his career, a stellar 11.4%.