As far as villain-to-hero redemption stories go, it doesn't get much better than Kevin Kiermaier's 2023 season with the Toronto Blue Jays.
After signing a one-year, $9M "show-me" deal, the former Tampa Bay Ray arrived in town as public enemy number one after a decade of tormenting Jays fans with his stellar defense and pesky bat.
Oh, and let's not forget the infamous card-stealing fiasco of 2021.
In a season that has been about as successful as a free agent in Kiermaier's situation — a 33-year-old coming off hip surgery — could imagine, he has endeared himself to the fans and his teammates and has turned out to be an indispensable piece of the 2023 Blue Jays.
However, with only weeks left in the regular season, the question looms: will Kiermaier return for an encore performance in a Blue Jays uniform, or will he be plying his trade elsewhere next year come Opening Day?
It's hard to imagine many fans not wanting to see ol' dreamy eyes back in Toronto, and for good reason. He would certainly be welcomed with open arms by the city, the country and his teammates.
But will the front office feel the same? Will Kiermaier want to come back for another run? Can the two sides agree on dollars and term for a player heading into his age 34 season?