1. Cody Bellinger
Finally, the number one prime power-hitting candidate the Jays need to focus on signing is none other than former MVP Cody Bellinger. Bellinger represents the best positional player available in the free agent market. It comes as no surprise after putting together a stellar 2023 season in which he posted a career-best .307 batting average, along with an .881 OPS, 133 OPS+, 95 runs scored, 29 doubles, 26 home runs, 97 RBI and 20 stolen bases. More importantly, after struggling for up much of his previous three seasons, Bellinger appeared to have finally regained his MVP form.
In addition, unlike most of the other candidates on this list, Bellinger can actually provide reliable and steady defence in the outfield. As a former Gold Glove winner, he has posted a solid .988 fielding percentage or higher as an outfielder in each of the past five seasons. On top of that, Bellinger is the exact solution to solve the Jays’ woes when hitting with runners in scoring position as in 2023, he batted .323 with an .898 OPS, 6 home runs, 12 sacrifice flies and 71 RBI in such situations.
With the perfect blend of both potent offence with steady defence, Bellinger ideally is the number one target the Jays should sign right now. In addition, he also brings with him a wealth of postseason experience as he has played in 69 career playoff games, including being named NLCS MVP in 2018, and winning it all in 2020. However, one thing to keep in mind is that following the re-signing of Kevin Kiermaier this offseason by the Jays, their outfield appears already set for 2024. So if Bellinger is signed only for the role of the designated hitter, not only would his defensive talents be wasted as he heads into his prime years, but most likely the Jays will end up overpaying him if he strictly hits as a DH. So either the Jays need to find a viable solution when Bellinger joins their outfield, or they will need to convince Bellinger to take on a lesser contract by becoming their primary DH for the foreseeable future.