JFtC kicks off a new series where we offer up a collection of Toronto Blue Jays scenarios that ask you what you would rather
The Toronto Blue Jays are at a pivotal point this offseason. They have a lot of different ways they can go in free agency and on the trade market. They literally have multiple choices, which not only makes for an interesting, but lends itself to a new series here at Jays From the Couch. We will present a few scenarios and ask you which you would prefer. Let’s have some fun!
If the Blue Jays are going to end the cycle of AAAA players roaming their outfield, they’re going to have to look to bring in some higher end talent. The trade market could offer up some rather interesting names like the two above. On the one hand, you have Marte, who would take over the center field duties and push Randal Grichuk back to right field. Some would argue that is where Grichuk should be, but right now, Toronto doesn’t have much of a choice.
In Marte, the Blue Jays would be getting a 31 year old who is good for 20+ home runs, 20+ stolen bases, owns a career slash line of .287/.341/.452 and when he plays a full season, he put up 3+ fWAR. Oh, and he does not really strike out. In over 1000 innings in CF last season, he put up -9 DRS and a UZR/150 of -8.3. He is set to make $11.5M next season and $12.5M in 2021.
In Haniger, the Blue Jays get a much cheaper option as he’s set to make $3M (in arbitration) next season and has 2 more seasons of team control before he’s a free agent in 2023. The 28 year old played in just 63 games last season, but still managed to show off his power. In 2018, he hit 26 homers, drove in 93 and put up 4.5 fWAR all in Seattle. He does have some experience in CF with nearly 600 career innings there, but is a right fielder who plays rather good defense. So, likely this would mean that Grichuk stays in CF.
#2– Would you rather the Blue Jays bring back Justin Smoak or use the ‘in house’ options at 1B?
The Blue Jays are staring down the barrel of giving everyday playing time to Rowdy Tellez, which isn’t exactly a slam dunk of a decision given his stretches of struggling. As previously highlighted, Toronto has an interesting situation with regard to this position.
As of right now, the club could decide that Tellez followed by Brandon Drury or even Cavan Biggio is a more desirable decision so they can use every penny of their money to land pitching. Obviously, this creates an offensive deficit. Neither Drury or Tellez could get on base last season…like, at all. If Ross Atkins wants to save money, he’s going to have to answer for a rather empty spot in the lineup.
Or, he could look to re-up with Smoak, a 32 year old familiar face who can provide 20+ home runs and get on base. His 2019 batting average was rather bleak at .208, but the fact that he still got on base has to weigh heavily in this discussion, considering how the others didn’t. Smoak plays under-rated defense and could be a nice insurance policy for Tellez
when if he struggles.
#3– Would you rather the Blue Jays spend big on one starter, or smaller on two?
If the Blue Jays are going to even think about contending in the next few years, they’re going to have to figure out where they’ll find their ace. Sure, teams can compete with 4 or 5 decent pitchers, but a good pitching staff, a pitching staff that will put you in the playoffs, needs an ace. Is now the time for Toronto to think like that?
Looking to the free agent market, the Blue Jays could afford anyone they wish. That’s right, they have the money to sign Stephen Strasburg or Gerrit Cole. Heck, they have the money to sign both. Money is not the problem. If we look ahead to the following winter, there aren’t many starters who even come close to a Cole or Strasburg. Zack Wheeler should also be lumped into this category. He’ll cost north of $20M per year, but he’s well worth the investment. If signing an ace is a priority, the Blue Jays would do well to do so now. The Blue Jays have a long list of guys who can fill the rotation out: Anderson, Thronton, Kay, Jacob Waguespack and others. They’re not ideal, but if it means you can sign one of the best pitchers out there, you have to really consider it.
Signing an ace, though, doesn’t guarantee much on a team where there is so much need in the rotation. Does signing an ace really improve the entire rotation? Probably not the way signing a Dallas Keuchel and a Tanner Roark might. Signing a couple of these mid-level starters raises the floor of the rotation. Chase Anderson was brought in to do that and adding a couple more won’t hurt. This would allow the likes of Anthony Kay, Sean Reid-Foley, Trent Thornton to compete for jobs, rather than Toronto needing to give them one.
There you have it. Three scenarios for you to weigh in on. So, which would you rather?
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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.