Do the Blue Jays already have a replacement for Kiermaier?
As universally loved as Kiermaier is, there's another, younger outfielder already in the fold who seems like the heir-apparent for the center field job. Despite his immense struggles with the bat this season, Daulton Varsho's defensive play in the outfield has been more than adequate in his first season in Toronto.
Okay, forget adequate. Varsho's defense has been downright incredible.
Playing primarily in left field with 109 appearances, the 27-year-old former catcher has also made 61 appearances in center, filling in for Kiermaier with ease.
With 1,210 innings patrolling his two positions, Varsho is playing Gold Glove-caliber defense, leading all outfielders with a 27 DRS. He also sits fourth in the majors with a 13.2 Ultimate Zone Rating per 150 games (UZR/150). If that isn't enough for you, remember that table from earlier? Varsho is just off that leaderboard with the fifth-highest OAA and RAA at 10 and 9, respectively.
So, if the team is unable to bring Kiermaier back, for whatever reason, they will be ready to roll out a solid replacement. As a bonus for the number crunchers in the front office, Varsho is affordable at $3.1M this season and in his arbitration years until 2027.
The problem is that they'll need to find another top-tier defender to maintain the team's defensive identity and level of outfield play to which we have all become accustomed.
There are plenty of reasons for the Jays to bring Kiermaier back, although things don't always work out how we'd like in the big business of baseball.
In the end though, it's simple, really ... just re-sign Kevin Kiermaier.