Now that the World Series is over and old friend Marcus Semien got his ring, it's time for the Blue Jays to officially turn their attention to the offseason.
Not only is the free agent market about to open up, but the trade market is as well. With such a weak class of pending free agents, there's a strong possibility that this offseason will be one dominated by trade rumors rather than who's signing where.
In a recent article, Bleacher Report threw together a list of each MLB team's "player most likely to be traded." In the early days of this offseason, Alek Manoah, Santiago Espinal and even Yusei Kikuchi have already been thrown around the Blue Jays rumor mill a bit.
Instead, BR chose infielder Ernie Clement as the likeliest Blue Jays player to be moved. While a deal involving Clement is far from the craziest thing we've ever heard, saying he's the most likely to be moved feels like a bit of a stretch. This does not mean that he doesn't have value, though, as he showed (in a big way) that he certainly has what many teams around the league covet.
Signed to a minor league deal back in March of this year, Clement joined the Blue Jays with a history of being a light-hitting utilityman whose signing wouldn't make many headlines. Prior to his first promotion to the big leagues with the Jays, he had hit .328 with 26 runs scored, 17 walks and just four strikeouts in Triple-A Buffalo. Suddenly, his offensive game was much more prevalent and it earned him a call-up.
Clement had multiple different stints with the big league club this year, ultimately making it into 29 games in which he had 10 RBI, a .380 average and .885 OPS. His minor league numbers continued to be utterly ridiculous (in the best way), as he wound up hitting .348 with 11 home runs and 58 RBI in 72 games. His walks (26) continued to come more often than his strikeouts (16) and he finished the year with a .944 OPS in the minors. This is all without mentioning his defense. The utilityman can play virtually any position in both the infield and outfield, furthering his overall value.
So, Clement's clearly got what it takes to reinvent himself from minor league journeyman to sought after trade chip. However, the Blue Jays need him on their roster moving forward just as much as any other teams do. Moving Espinal and keeping Clement around should be the way the Jays go when they look to address their logjam in the infield. It's worth noting that Clement is out of minor league options, so he will need to crack the Opening Day roster in 2024 or the Jays will need to pass him through waivers in order to keep him around. Said lack of options is exactly why BR believes he's likely to be moved, but I'm not convinced of that just yet.