Toronto Blue Jays: 3 players to target in free agency

The Toronto Blue Jays celebrate a win against the New York Yankees at Sahlen Field. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
The Toronto Blue Jays celebrate a win against the New York Yankees at Sahlen Field. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images) /
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Toronto blue Jays
DJ LeMahieu #26 of the New York Yankees. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

3. DJ LeMahieu

Alright alright I know pitching is the priority for the Blue Jays going into 2021, but if I see DJ LeMahieu dink one more looping single into the opposite field against the Blue Jays, so help me.

Yes, the Yankees are probably going to throw an absurd amount of money at him, but maybe, just maybe, Toronto could turn their worst nemesis into their top asset.

For starters, LeMahieu would provide veteran leadership in the clubhouse. A three-time All-Star and a batting champ in both the AL and NL, LeMahieu could be that elite infield mentor that players like Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio don’t have at the moment.

Now I get it. Priority goes to developing the kids. And with players like Austin Martin and Jordan Groshans in the pipeline, it’s a tough call to sign a position player that could potentially block the emergence of a superstar. That’s where LeMahieu’s utility comes in.

LeMahieu possesses the versatility that manager Charlie Montoyo craves. The native of Visalia, Calif. has played at every infield position except for shortstop this season, with only six errors charged to his name. This matters, because we’ve seen both Guerrero Jr. and Bichette miss significant time with injuries over the course of their two years in blue. Both players could also use more days off than they got in 2020, so adding LeMahieu could mean a more healthy team overall come October.

On top of all of that, the Blue Jays (at least right this moment) don’t have a playoff-caliber third baseman. With Guerrero Jr.’s move to first seemingly permanent, and with Brandon Drury and Travis Shaw not necessarily living up to the hype, the Blue Jays need to improve at the hot corner. Martin and/or Groshans could be the answer in the long run, but both are natural shortstops. A full adjustment within the next couple years is possible, but not a guarantee.

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A contact hitter who looks like he stepped straight out of the ’40s, LeMahieu’s opposite field pop plays well at any ballpark. It’s a long shot, but if the Jays are serious about winning now, LeMahieu is the guy that could change everything.