Reclamation projects: 5 free agent hitters and 4 pitchers the Blue Jays should pursue

Which previously struggling players should the Blue Jays take a chance on in free agency that could bring surprising value to the ballclub in 2024?

Cleveland Guardians v Detroit Tigers
Cleveland Guardians v Detroit Tigers / Duane Burleson/GettyImages
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Wil Myers

As a former top 5 prospect in all of baseball, expectations have always been high for outfielder Wil Myers ever since he stepped his foot into the majors. He certainly did not disappoint in his rookie debut season in 2013 when he batted .293 with an .831 OPS, along with 50 runs scored, 13 home runs and 53 RBI in just a little over half a season with the Rays. His impressive performance earned him AL Rookie of the Year honours at the conclusion of the season. However, he was often plagued by injuries that limited his overall production early on in his career.

As a result, Myers’ career didn’t really continue to take off until he became a part of the San Diego Padres via trade by the Rays. In 2016, he put together an All-Star season in which he accumulated 28 home runs and a career-high 94 RBI while scoring 99 runs in 157 games. It was also then when the Padres began to use Myers more in the infield after being previously used primarily as an outfielder with the Rays. Defensively, his strongest position is at first base in which he has posted a career .997 fielding percentage along with 11 DRS. His strongest outfield position albeit a smaller sample size is left field, with a career .995 fielding percentage and 5 DRS.

Last year, Myers endured an uncharacteristic rough start to the season where he struggled mightily with the Cincinnati Reds. He managed to only get into 37 games before landing on the IL with kidney stones and a sprained left shoulder. At that time, Myers had compiled a mediocre .189 average, .541 OPS, with only 3 home runs and 12 RBI. When he was healthy once again, the Reds designated him for assignment and ultimately released him. As a result, it shouldn’t take a lot to obtain Myers’ services, with potential of a low-risk, high-reward outcome. If he could revert to his usual form, he should be good for 20 home runs and 60-70 RBI per season. He would fit in well with the Jays as a stop-gap solution in left field, or by filling the designated hitter role while making spot starts at first base when Vladimir Guerrero Jr. needs a rest day.