When Kevin Kiermaier took to social media after the Blue Jays were knocked out of the playoffs, he sure sounded like someone who was one and done in Toronto. He wrote:
"Thank you Blue Jays fans for making me feel loved from day one! It was an absolute honor to wear that jersey everyday. I cannot thank everyone enough. I had an absolute blast going to battle with the guys in that clubhouse everyday! Gave it everything I had! Love you Toronto!"
Nothing changed this perception, when Kiermaier was interviewed on the Toronto Star's podcast, Deep Left Field. Speaking to Mike Wilner, he said:
"My time in Toronto was amazing. I loved every second there. I’m speaking for myself, for my family."
During the conversation with Wilner, the four-time Gold Glove Award winner admitted some teams had reached out, but that it was early days. He knew only time would tell if interested parties would follow up their initial enquiry or move on to other players.
Well, it's now more than a month later, and Kiermaier is still a free agent. While this doesn't mean teams aren't (still) interested in him, his name hasn't received much recognition considering the significant amount of offseason speculation doing the rounds.
Blue Jays need to make a move
Given the current uncertainty surrounding the 33-year-old's future, the opportunity is there for the Blue Jays to strike and bring him back on a new deal. No matter how much he discussed Toronto in the past tense after the 2023 season, he absolutely loved his time in the city, which has to count for something.
At the end of the day, the Blue Jays have nothing to lose and everything to gain, by reaching out to Kiermaier. In fact, why wouldn't you want to see if you could entice one of the best ever centre fielders in Major League history to return?
The former Tampa Bay Ray was sensational in the outfield during this past season. Among other things, he won the Fielding Bible Award as best defensive centre fielder in baseball, received his fourth Gold Glove and had his best dWAR since 2017 (2.2).
Just as impressive -- maybe even more so -- was how productive Kiermaier was with his bat, with him at one point on course for his best ever offensive season. In the end he 'settled' for the second-best batting average of his 11 years in the Majors, as well as his best slugging percentage and OPS since 2017.
As things stand, the Blue Jays have Nathan Lukes in left field, due to Daulton Varsho moving over a spot to replace Kiermaier. With all due respect to Lukes, it would be a reason for concern if he is the starting left fielder on opening day.
Taking everything into account, it's tough to find a justified reason for the Blue Jays not to at least get in touch with Kiermaier to have a discussion. Even more so when, as per Tim Britton of The Athletic (subscription required), his projected financial compensation for next season is only around $10M.