The Blue Jays are nearly done making additions for the spring. Only some minor tinkering remains. We look at some possible depth options
A few days ago we explored some rotation depth options still available on the free agent market.
“No more major league signings are expected. Toronto’s biggest holes have been plugged and most of their (expected) payroll has been eaten up. However, expect the team to throw a few more spring invites into the mix. There are quite a few unsigned players out there, some of them quite solid, so it’s a team friendly market at this point.”
Some names have come off the board since that post so this paragraph is less true now but there are yet some helpful pieces available. In this post, we’ll have a look at the position players FAs still remaining and which of them might be useful to the Blue Jays.
The target, at this point in the offseason, is some type of minor league deal. Some would require opt outs, in case the Blue Jays pass on their services, and others would be willing to accept a standard MiLB pact.
At what positions would the Blue Jays benefit from some additional depth or competition?
Toronto doesn’t have a need or room for another catcher in the mix. There isn’t a better option out there at the appropriate price point anyways. The Jays have plenty of options at first on their major league roster. Ryan Goins provides solid insurance at second and shortstop.
Behind Josh Donaldson at third however, the depth wears thin. The next true third baseman in the system is Jason Leblebijian who started last year at single A Dunedin. The Blue Jays could use a more experienced insurance policy if the unthinkable happens to Donaldson. Old friend Aaron Hill is still a free agent but isn’t at the point of thinking about MiLB deals.
- Ed Lucas. The 34 year veteran is adept at fielding the hot corner. He spent 2016 in AAA. He can play many other positions as well
- Don Kelly. Similar to Lucas but has more major league experience
Left field is the only position where there is an open competition this spring. The starting and reserve role are both up for grabs. Ezequiel Carrera and Melvin Upton are the leading candidates but management has been chasing other options to join the competition all offseason. There are at least a dozen free agents who can play left field. This is one area especially ripe for a bargain. We’ll highlight a few (here’s a full list)
- Kelly Johnson. Yup, him. Plays a solid left field, left handed. Pretty effective for the Mets last year. Positional flexibility.
- Ryan Raburn. In 2015, had a .937 OPS. Decent fielder. Smashes lefties.
- Coco Crisp. Solid in left. Last year, .698 OPS. Switch hitter.
- Michael Bourn. Left handed, great fielder, bounce back 2016. Signed spring deal with Jays last season and was released.
The Blue Jays are set for starters in centre and right field. The backup for both positions will be determined by the left field competition. For outfield insurance and depth the Jays have Dalton Pompey, Darrell Ceciliani and Jose Tabata.