After an unexpected trip to the postseason, the Toronto Blue Jays are officially in their window of contention.
Ross Atkins is about as media-savvy as they come. So when the Toronto Blue Jays‘ general manager told MLB.com’s Keegan Matheson that the team was looking to acquire a “super high impact” free agent, ears perked up across the country.
While the market is both uncertain and light on big-name talent, there are certainly some options that fit Atkins’ stated superlatives. Here are three players that could suit Toronto’s fancy on the free agent market.
1. Trevor Bauer
The crown jewel of the 2020 free agent class, Trevor Bauer would certainly fit the bill of “super high impact.” Whether said impact would be positive or negative is anyone’s guess.
After one non-descript year in Arizona, Bauer was a perennial Cy Young contender with the Cleveland Indians during his six-and-a-half seasons on the shores of Lake Erie.
However, Bauer’s time with Cleveland ended on a sour note. Not please with getting hooked after conceding a two-run single against the Royals, Bauer rifled the ball over the centre-field wall at Kauffman Stadium instead of handing it to manager Terry Francona during the pitching change. Bauer never started again for the Indians, and was dealt to Cincinnati at the trade deadline.
Bauer struggled with the Reds in 2019, but regained his elite form in 2020, willing his team into the playoffs behind a sub-two ERA and a ridiculous 100/17 strikeout/walk ratio.
A *unique* personality, Bauer has already started to stir the free agency pot, posting a picture of a plane ticket to Boston on Twitter.
But even with no lack of funds to drop on a pricy pitcher, Bauer might not be the most inclined to embrace a move north. The right-hander endured one of the lowest moments of his career in the Rogers Centre, when he had to leave Game 3 of the 2016 ALCS due to a gushing cut on his right pinkie acquired whilst fixing a drone. Blue Jays fans taunted Bauer mercilessly as he walked off the mound.
Bauer also traded jabs with Blue Jays fans on Twitter after Cleveland defeated the Jays in a 19-inning affair on Canada Day.
If Atkins is to throw Toronto’s hat in the ring for Bauer’s services, he might have to do some atoning for the actions of Blue Jays Nation first.