With the Toronto Blue Jays having a number of players enter free agency, they will be looking to fill multiple holes on their roster in the coming months. Coincidentally, The Athletic (subscription required) has recently named the Blue Jays as a suitable landing spot for many prospective players from the free agent market. Here, we take a look at some of the mentioned available players that were deemed a great fit for the ballclub.
The Crown Jewel of Free Agency
P/DH Shohei Ohtani
Among the highest tier of free agents, the Athletic tabbed the Jays as a fit for two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani. The perennial MVP candidate would instantly transform the Jays into a powerhouse with his ability to make significant contributions as both a hitter and pitcher. Last season, Ohtani hit .304 with a league-leading 1.066 OPS, along with 44 home runs and 95 RBI. As a pitcher, he compiled a 10-5 record with a 3.14 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 167 strikeouts in 132 innings pitched. Despite a recent surgery that will keep him from pitching until the 2025 season, there will still be many suitors competing for his services, as he's projected to be able to hit by Opening Day 2024. But if recent rumours are correct, the Jays will definitely make a strong push for him nonetheless.
The Pitching Options
P Aaron Nola
If the Blue Jays miss out on the Ohtani sweepstakes, the club was also named as a fit for former Phillies ace Aaron Nola. Nola helped led the Phillies to their second consecutive postseason berth, while just missing out on a return to the World Series for the second year in a row. In 2023, he pitched to a 12-9 record and a 4.46 ERA, 1.15 WHIP with 202 strikeouts in 193.2 innings of work. It may have been a slightly down year for Nola, but he has shown quite the consistency over his nine-year MLB career that he could be a reliable, front-end-of-the-rotation starter.
P Lucas Giolito
Lucas Giolito was another name that made the list of possible fits for the Blue Jays. He started off this past year strong, but had a disastrous final couple of months of the season. The former All-Star had a 3.79 ERA and 1.22 WHIP with the Chicago White Sox prior to being traded to the Los Angeles Angels at the trade deadline. From there, his season completely fell apart, as his performance inadvertently took the Angels out of contention. In the end, he was even waived by the Angels and then picked up by the Cleveland Guardians where he continued his struggles until the end of the season. If the Jays are getting the first-half version of Giolito, which was how he has pitched most of his career, he may be worth a shot at pursuing. Otherwise, they should stay away from him if they believe that his second-half inconsistencies are the new norm.