The Toronto Blue Jays have much work to do in the coming months as they attempt to re-tool a roster that fell below expectations in 2023. While some solutions may be found via free agency, this year’s class lacks the depth of previous editions. Another option is the trade market, which could yield some intriguing players. MLB Trade Rumors released their top 25 Offseason Trade Candidates. Here are some potential fits for the Jays.
Eloy Jiménez, OF/DH, White Sox
Four years ago, Jiménez was one of the most exciting young sluggers in the sport. He hit 31 home runs in 468 at-bats and finished fourth in the AL Rookie of the Year voting. After a productive COVID-shortened 2020 season, the 26-year-old has struggled to stay on the field or come close to that initial productivity.
Still, he’s a career .275 hitter with a .800+ OPS. After playing 114 games in left field in 2019, Jiménez has played just 135 games in the field in the four seasons since, including just 14, all in right, last year. So, he’d mostly be a DH, but for a team that needs more power, “Big Baby” - an affectionate nickname despite what it sounds like - could be a big part of providing that.
Jorge Polanco, 2B, Twins
After declining a mutual option on Whit Merrifield, there’s a belief that incumbents Cavan Biggio, Santiago Espinal, and Davis Schneider will battle it out for the starting second base spot in Spring Training. But is that what’s going to happen? History tells us that a more established veteran will be part of the mix, and you could do much worse than Jorge Polanco.
The 30-year-old has established himself as one of the best offensive second basemen in the majors. He was limited to 80 games last season but has reached the 20-homer mark twice, with a career-high 33 in 2021. Minnesota is cutting payroll, and Polanco should net a decent return for them.
Paul Blackburn, SP, A’s
Over the last two years, Blackburn has emerged as one of the best pitchers on the Athletics and was the team’s lone All-Star in 2022. He pitched to a 4.43 ERA in 103.2 innings a season ago. Durability has been a slight issue with 21 and 20 starts over the last two years, but he is worth taking a flyer on.
Blackburn fits the profile of being a reliable and affordable back-end rotation piece for a contender. In many ways, he’s a perfect fit in Toronto, and he’d compete to fill out a starting five that would rival any team in the American League. Ironically, the next player on MLBTR's list is Alek Manoah.