MLB insider predicts Blue Jays make "desperate" move to sign best-remaining free agent hitter

There's still time for the Blue Jays to turn an underwhelming offseason into a positive one, at least from the perspective of a prominent ESPN baseball analyst.

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If you listen to Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins, he's happy with the current roster and believes it's more than capable of making a genuine challenge for the World Series in 2024. However, at least one prominent member of the baseball media isn't having any of it.

ESPN's Jeff Passan has predicted that the Blue Jays are going to make a move for Cody Bellinger. During an appearance on ESPN 1000 with Waddle and Silvy, the MLB insider said the Jays need Bellinger a lot more than his most recent team, the Chicago Cubs.

Passan went on to offer some rationale behind his thinking. More specifically, that the Blue Jays' front office is desperate to sign the best remaining free agent, after missing out on Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

So is there any truth to this?

Now certainly, not clinching the signature of either Ohtani or Yamamoto -- along with Juan Soto -- undoubtedly left a bitter taste in the mouth of the Blue Jays organisation (as well as their fans). However, is the front office really that desperate to sign Bellinger?

The reason for asking this question, is to consider who the Blue Jays have signed so far, since failing to reel in Ohtani and company. Among others this includes Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Justin Turner, as well as re-signing Kevin Kiermaier.

What we're driving at here is, if the Blue Jays are so desperate to bring in Bellinger, they sure have a funny way of showing it. With him yet to be signed, surely they've been taking a risk on missing out on him altogether, especially so close to pitchers and catchers reporting to Dunedin.

A waiting game

In reality, what's likely really happening is that the Blue Jays -- along with any number of other potential interested suitors -- have probably been hoping the two-time Silver Slugger would lower his demands over time. And with spring training upon us, this game of chicken is surely close to a conclusion?

The irony in all of this is that. as per their pursuit of Ohtani, the Blue Jays can easily afford whatever it is that Bellinger is asking for. In addition, he actually deserves to receive a decent contract offer.

The 2019 NL MVP is coming off a season where he ranked eighth among all qualifying players, with a .881 OPS. He also had a .307 batting average, which was fourth-best among left-handed bats and the best of his seven years in the Majors.

On top of this, Bellinger's 97 RBI tied for the second-most of his career, while he had the lowest strikeout rate of his career, at 15.7 percent. Come season's end, he'd played well enough to finish 10th in NL MVP voting.

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Defensively, we appreciate the 28-year-old played the majority of his games last year in centre field, which is Kiermaier's prime position. However, he also saw time at first base and DH, and has previous experience in left and right field.

The overriding point is, Bellinger would undoubtedly boost the Blue Jays lineup and provide a positive conclusion to a frustrating offseason. If there was ever a time for fans to want Passan to be right with a prediction, they have to be hoping it's now.