The Toronto Blue Jays will be looking for players to make up their bench in 2020 and Brandon Drury is probably a guy they’ll keep
The Toronto Blue Jays will be looking to take a step forward in 2020. That is not to say that they will challenge the Rays (that’s right) for the division title, but they should certainly improve on their 95 losses. How they go about building the 2020 roster will be interesting, but one guy who has probably done enough to be brought back is Brandon Drury.
It should be noted that, in an ideal world, Drury would be non-tendered this winter and set free to sign elsewhere. His offensive production was rather disappointing and it makes you wonder if he and Billy McKinney were the best GM, Ross Atkins could to when trading J.A. Happ. Drury hit 15 home runs, which is not really that impressive in this version on Major League Baseball where 20 dingers is about the lowest total you’d expect from a guy with 447 plate appearances. 15 is just not that many.
The rest of his numbers were kind of ugly:
He hasn’t had much success since leaving Arizona. But, in his first full season since said departure, he really didn’t impress much. Striking out a quarter of the time and walking at a rate of 5.6% makes his 15 homers seem that much less meaningful. If Drury is going to be relied upon for 400+ plate appearances, he’s gonna have to do more with them than he did in 2019.
However, 2020 doesn’t appear to be that ideal world mentioned above. Sure, the Blue Jays could look elsewhere for a utility guy. The list of potential free agents does house some interesting names. Eric Sogard, anyone? But, if the club is going to go shopping on that list of mostly over 30 year olds, they might as well keep the younger Drury. At 27, he could still provide some value.
When you take into account that Drury played every infield position, except catcher and every outfield position but center, it is hard to imagine Toronto passing on his flexibility. They would not be looking to him to play much in the outfield, which his -4 DRS and -26.4 UZR/150 point out for us. Given the lack of outfield options the team has, it isn’t hard to envision him sticking around as an emergency plan in that regard. As for the infield, the Blue Jays look to have third, short and second occupied on a daily basis, so they really only need to find a back up infielder. Given his offensive production in 2019, with regular playing time, Drury should be seen as just that: a back up.
This piece probably sounds a bit wishy washy. ‘Drury has been terrible, but he’s probably going to come back as a back up’. Here’s the thing: the Blue Jays used 2019 to see what they have in guys like Drury. They saw it and it was not good. That doesn’t necessarily mean that he will be tossed aside, though.
Drury has an option remaining and is projected to make $2.5M in arbitration this winter. Given the $9M value the Blue Jays place on a win, they would need roughly 0.3 fWAR out of him to make the $2.5M “worth it”. His ZiPS 3 Year Projection has him putting up 0.6, 0.7, 0.6 fWAR over the next three season respectively, which would put his value somewhere around $4.5M. So, while $2.5M sounds like a lot of money, it really isn’t in today’s game.
The Blue Jays will also benefit from having an extra roster spot in 2020, which allows them to perhaps hang on to Brandon Drury in the hopes that he regain his Arizona form. The extra roster spot, his remaining option, his positional flexibility and his relatively low salary point to a guy who the Toronto Blue Jays will likely retain for 2020. As much as he has disappointed, this coming season allows for his return. If the Blue Jays were in a position to really challenge for the division, Drury’s story would be much different. But, they aren’t and it isn’t.
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.