The MLB off-season has been predictably slow but the Toronto Blue Jays are expected to be aggressive with some of their top free agent targets.
As many would have predicted, there has been little to no movement on the MLB free agency front but that hasn’t stopped the Toronto Blue Jays from throwing out their interest in the top players on the market.
We recently discussed the team’s interest in J.T. Realmuto who would be a massive upgrade behind the plate and J.A. Happ as an intriguing depth addition. On top of that, the team has their eyes set on other players but it will be a tough road considering the competition they will have to deal with.
Here is a look at some of the players that have been heavily linked to the team.
Springer the Blue Jays preferred target
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It has been a while since Toronto had a centre fielder who can be an elite contributor and that’s what the team reportedly sees in George Springer.
According to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, Springer is keeping the Blue Jays on his list of potential destinations. He also believes that Toronto has made the Houston Astros outfielder their main priority for the outfield.
It’s not surprising to see why. Springer slashed 265/.359/.540 with 14 home runs in 2020. He also won the World Series MVP award after a strong series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Of course, there will be some fans who will be hesitant about Springer due to his connection with the Astros cheating scandal. It’s totally the right of the fanbase to have issues with the team bringing in Springer but he’s also owned up the incident as well.
When it comes to a potential contract for Springer, you’ll have to think the outfielder will get close to $100 million or more and probably look to get a maximum of five years. Is that too much for the Blue Jays to invest? Probably not especially if they consider moving a contract like a Randal Grichuk who would see a reduced role if Toronto gets Springer.
LeMahieu an ideal target for the infield
There is no reason why the Blue Jays won’t look to multiple positions in free agency and like Springer, DJ LeMahieu checks off the same boxes in the infield.
The early reports suggest that LeMahieu would like to remain in New York and could return to the Yankees or make his way over to the Mets. LeMahieu slashed .364/.421/.590 with 10 home runs in 50 games. He is a three-time Gold Glove winner and finished third in AL MVP voting.
If Toronto isn’t able to convince LeMahieu to leave New York, there are other players that will be looked at.
Wong, Segura, Simmons seen as backup infield options
There won’t be a shortage of players who the Blue Jays can turn to if they don’t land LeMahieu. Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith mentions a deep pool of infielders which include Marcus Semien, Andrelton Simmons, Didi Gregorius, Justin Turner, Kolten Wong and potentially Ha-Seong Kim if he gets posted.
Wong has been seen as a strong backup plan and it helps that Cavan Biggio can play multiple positions and he will likely be the one who moves around to accommodate whoever they brought in.
Wong slashed .265/.350/.326 with one home run and 16 RBI through 53 games with the St. Louis Cardinals last season. Similarly, Jean Segura brings similar attributes and has two more years left on his deal at $17 million.
Ozuna seen as secondary option to Springer
The Blue Jays are not leaving any stone unturned as they have looked at Marcell Ozuna, but that’s only if they can’t land Springer according to Jon Morosi.
Of course, the Blue Jays would prefer to find a more natural centre fielder like Springer or even Jackie Bradley Jr. and potentially Michael Brantley, although he’s been used more in left field. There aren’t enough internal options that provide what the free-agent targets can offer.
It’s certainly going to be an interesting couple of weeks depending on things progress at the upcoming winter meetings.
Do you see the Blue Jays landing any of the top free agents this off-season? Who is your ideal target? Let us know in the comments below.