5. Rhys Hoskins
One of the more intriguing options include former Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins. He has proven from the past that he can put up strong production numbers, averaging close to 30 home runs and 80 RBI per season. He had played some left field when he first entered the league, but had been primarily a first baseman ever since 2019. So if he were to join the Jays, it will likely be in the capacity as a designated hitter, with spot starts at first when Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has a day off in the field.
However, Hoskins missed the entire 2023 MLB season after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee in a spring training game against the Detroit Tigers. The timeline for his recovery has Hoskins back to full health by the time Spring Training rolls around. However, after coming off major surgery to repair his knee, there is always a risk factor involved on whether or not he will be up to speed by the time the regular season commences. A good example was Brandon Belt’s slow start with the Jays during the 2023 season after having knee surgery the previous fall. As a result, with the pending uncertainty in question, he is ranked slightly lower than expected among the available candidates despite his potent power potential.
4. Joc Pederson
In recent weeks, the Jays have been rumoured to be seriously interested in two-time All-Star Joc Pederson. For Jays’ fans everywhere, their most memorable moment of Pederson was perhaps his epic battle with Guerrero during the 2019 All-Star Home Run Derby. But aside from that, Pederson has actually put together a solid career after spending ten seasons in the league thus far.
To date, Pederson has amassed 186 home runs and 485 RBI in 1140 career games played. In the average season, he is good for about 20-25 home runs and 60-70 RBI of production. However, his overall power potential has been somewhat offset by a lifetime batting average of .237, which can limit his effectiveness in run production at certain times. In a way, he resembles a poor man’s Matt Chapman, as he profiles very similar to the departed third baseman from an offensive standpoint, while not likely to demand as large of a contract as what Chapman is projected to receive at the same time.
In terms of Pederson’s defensive capabilities, the Jays should do their best to keep him off the field if possible as in the past two seasons playing in the outfield, he has registered a -20 DRS along with a sub-par .961 fielding percentage. As a result, he would fit the team in the designated hitter’s role to prevent his offensive output from being nullified by his defensive deficiencies.