With all the uncertainty surrounding the expiring
CBA and what exactly a new agreement between owners and players will
look like (or how long it will take to reach one)... the baseball news
of this upcoming winter appears likely to move at an even slower pace
than usual. With plenty of extra time for idle speculation... have
some idle speculation!
This will be like a piece I wrote last year, when I ran through MLB Trade
Rumors Top 50 Free Agents and judged their potential fit on the Blue
Jays. Toronto ended up signing 4 of those 50: George Springer (#3),
Marcus Semien (#15), Robbie Ray (#36) and Kirby Yates (#42), while
making a mid-season trade for another (the infamous Brad Hand, #26).
Semien and Ray worked out brilliantly of course, Springer was equally
great when he could play, while Yates never threw a regular season pitch
for the team. 3 outta 4 is pretty good I'd say. Can they do something as successful again? And who should they target? Lets dive in.
1. Carlos Correa (SS-HOU) --- AL Gold Glove (Shortstop) .279/.349/.485 (7.2 WAR) OPS+ 133 (career 127)
doubt he's a heck of a player. The type that, if you get him,
fitting him into the middle of your lineup is the easy part. I admit I wasn't aware
how consistently terrific he's been defensively, as among Astros
infielders the guy who always stood out more to me via the eye test was
Bregman. He's also been healthier than I thought: in a three year span
between 2017-19 he missed over a full season worth of games, but has
been in the lineup quite a bit more (58/60, 148/162) the past two years.
2022 will be his age 27 season and if he keeps up this level of
production for another six or seven years there's a real shot at the
Hall of Fame here. Don't think he'll be continuing that path in
Toronto: the Blue Jays already have a good hitting shortstop who while
not the same caliber of defender as Correa, has notably improved and (more importantly) is significantly younger and cheaper.
Just don't go to the Yankees though, please.
2. Corey Seager (SS-LA) --- .306/.394/.521 (3.7 WAR) OPS+ 145 (career 131)
Same thing. Please don't go to the Yankees.
Younger Seager offers a bit more bat than Correa but not quite as much
glove (seems to grade about average by most accounts). Likewise he also
has his own checkered past in regards of staying healthy, playing only
92 games this past season while missing nearly all of 2018 due to an
Still though... especially
if you could convince him to change to another infield position (*cough*
third base *cough*)... Seager seems like the exact kind of bat this
Toronto team needs. Left-handed with well above average plate discipline
(career .367 OBP), contact ability and gap power. Strangely enough he's
hit better in Dodger Stadium throughout his career than on the road by
about 50 OPS points... not that imagining him peppering balls over
that joke porch in New Yankee Stadium becomes any less gross. I'm not completely all in on Corey Seager as I was this time last
year for Spring Shoes, but if you're looking for a high upside play to
replace Semien this would be a pretty good one. Some folks are
projecting contracts in the 300 million range but considering Seager's susceptibility to injury, that level of money and term would surprise me.
He's still a LH 28 year old shortstop with a career OPS of .870 though... he's
gonna get some cash.
3. Freddie Freeman --- (1B-ATL) .300/.393/.503 (4.7 WAR) OPS+ 133 (career 138)
from adding Joey Votto, nothing would make the fanboy in me happier
than the Blue Jays bringing forever honourary Canadian Freeman up to Toronto.
Between the two you would also obviously rather have Freeman, Votto's
resurgent 2021 aside, since Freddie is six years younger. I'd love it to
death and then some, his presence would make this lineup completely unfair and ridiculous, but with Vlad here and a bunch of outfielders who
should probably DH fairly often... I don't see it. Mega contracts
for first basemen in their 30s tend not to age well either, even if this
is a good one to bet on. Damn you, rationality.
4. Kris Bryant -- (3B/OF-CHC/SF) .265/.353/.481 (3.3 WAR) OPS+ 124 (career 132)
thing I think MLBTR gets right
is that Bryant seems to have settled in as an extremely good player
instead of a superstar one. One thing I think they get wrong is
predicting Bryant gets 160 million this offseason. That's a lot of
coin for a guy about to turn 30 with helpful positional versatility, but
isn't exceptional at any one position. He can really help a ballclub
still, and he does happen to play a few positions (3B, CF) the
Blue Jays need depth at. Plugging him into this Toronto
lineup though, while beneficial, is another RH hitter with
power who also strikes out a ton... Bryant's considerable ability to draw walks of course nothing to sneeze at. I'd be absolutely fine with adding Bryant, duh, but it also depends on other moves and
the cost/budget of course. I've always really liked his swing...
looks he's waving an enormous baton, there's something appealingly elegant
5. Kevin Gausman -- (SP-SF) 14-6, 2.81 (5.4 WAR)
year I compared the resurrection of Gausman's career (and all those mid
2010s Oriole pitchers) to that of the zombies from Plan 9 From Outer
Space. Well he showed me.
I'm still not
convinced. At least, to the point where I'd want my team to be the one
handing out a massive deal to him. His overall numbers on the season
impress but he faded towards average-ish in the second half (5-3, 4.42
in 15 starts). He throws hard, he's got a good hard breaking ball...
somebody will take the chance he's genuinely as good as he's been as a
Giant. Huh... sounds familiar... Gausman's pants aren't tight enough though.
6. Marcus Semien --- AL Gold Glove (Second Base) (2B-TOR) .265/.334/.538 (7.3 WAR) OPS+ 133 (career 110)
We know this guy and what he's about.
do think his age (31 for most of next year) will be what knocks his
contract down compared to the likes of Correa and Seager, both in their
mid/late 20s... despite that in 2021 Semien was certainly more valuable than
Seager (staying in the lineup counts) and pretty close to Correa,
depending on how much you want to measure shortstop defense versus second
base. Obviously would love to see Semien back... I'd be somewhat concerned how he'd age on a long contract but as already proven, betting against him seems foolish. He's a ballplayer's ballplayer.
7. Robbie Ray --- AL Cy Young (SP-TOR) 13-7, 2.84 (6.7 WAR)
We know this guy and what he's about.
sure the history of baseball free agency is littered with pitchers
cashing in on one big career year and then reverting back to whatever
they were before, or worse (Jordan Zimmermann comes to mind). I'm not
sure how many did so by simply correcting a problem that has plagued so
many electric arms since the game itself has existed: throwing more
quality strikes. I certainly want to believe it's a real improvement,
and it isn't crazy to think it is. Even if he gives you a few years of his Arizona peak instead... that's still plenty useful. Ray is exactly what the team needs
anyway, and we've turned his career around here. Make it so.
8. Trevor Story -- (SS-COL) .251/.329/.471 (4.2 WAR) OPS+ 103 (career 112)
I've never understood the love many people have for Story (it's not like I watch a lot of Rockies games...). I
don't think he's entirely a Coors Field mirage but his career home/road
splits (.972 OPS versus .752) are seriously alarming, and 2021 especially so
(.203/.292/.426 in 71 road games). He's without question a very good fielding
shortstop with power and relatively young still (29 next season), but man. I
just really wonder if he's even a league average hitter playing his home
games elsewhere. Nolan Arenado saw his OPS drop by 100 points moving to
St. Louis, and Story was never the same level of hitter as Arenado.
9. Max Scherzer -- (SP-WSH/LAD) 15-4, 2.46 (5.2 WAR)
it cost about 35+ million a year? Yup. Will Scherzer turn 38 next
summer? Yup again. Are the odds pretty much zero that he would sign in
Toronto or that we would offer him that kind of contract? Also yup.
Would it be insanely fun though? Oh you're damn right it would be. Mad Max is one of a kind.
10. Nick Castellanos -- (RF-CIN) .309/.362/.576 (3.3 WAR) OPS+ 136 (career 115)
slipping into the second tier of players here, which in many other
years would be a top tier but this free agent class is rather loaded. These are
still star level ballplayers with considerable warts, which Castellanos headlines the description of perfectly.
The fella can flat out hit, for
average and for power, and is about as fiery a batter you'll see (we're
talking Jose Bautista stuff here). You love to see the passion on your side, and the man just does not like to get
hit by a pitch. He's also an absurdly atrocious defender. I've heard some
people suggest signing Castellanos and arguing "ah, it's just right
field... or play him at
third? We've seen Gurriel Jr. after all! How bad could it be?" Uh... really, really bad. Gurriel Jr. at least covers a lot of his mistakes (bad jumps and balls over his head mainly) by
being so athletic and having an absolute missile for an arm. Imagine Lourdes without the cannon and half the
foot speed... that's Castellanos. I don't even wanna think about him at
third. He's only 30 next year and probably veering into a part-time
OF/DH role sooner than later. If he keeps hitting like he this you
definitely live with it... there's an eerie career parallel to J.D Martinez here that sows optimism. Worth a splurge on behalf of the Blue Jays though? A stretch.
11. Marcus Stroman -- (SP-NYM) 10-13, 3.02 (3.6 WAR)
Escaped the fire tire (tire fire?) of the Mets with one of his best seasons. Go get paid, fella.
12. Javier Baez -- (SS/2B-CHC/NYM) .265/.319/.494 (4.5 WAR) OPS+ 117 (career 104)
incredibly fun player to watch. Electric in the field, clever on the
basepaths (him psyching out that Pirates first baseman is a
highlight of the 2021 season) and about as swing happy a player you'll
ever see. He's walked just a bit more in his career than Joey Gallo did
this past season. Baez ain't getting aboard by watching that's for sure. Don't think it's happening, unless you think he's your second
base solution (I don't). It's not impossible though, if the new undervalued market asset is sheer explosive fun.
13. Starling Marte -- (CF-MIA/OAK) .310/.383/.458 (4.7 WAR) OPS+ 132 (career 116)
absolutely love guys who can steal bases (not something the Blue
Jays have much of beyond Bichette) and Marte was top 6 in both the AL and NL this past
season, finishing with 47 to lead MLB. He's coming off a really good year but I'm
wary of the idea: he'll be 33, which is a year older than Springer and Marte hasn't ever been Lorenzo Cain to begin with. Which one moves to a corner? Replacing Randal Grichuk with Marte... sure that improves the team a lot. Making it happen: not quite so direct or simple.
14. Eduardo Rodriguez -- (SP-BOS) 13-8, 4.74 (1.8 WAR)
intriguing. Rodriguez is still young (29 next season) and has multiple
very good seasons under his belt already. Plus any move that directly
hurts the Red Sox certainly works for me. He's never been great at
limiting walks or hits (1.31 career WHIP) yet is remarkably consistent:
he's never had a season with an ERA below 3.81 or above 4.74. Probably
about as dependable a back-end starter as you can find on the open
market, especially if you think there's more there to unlock.
(EDIT: signed with the Tigers for 5/77)
15. Kyle Schwarber -- (LF-WSH/BOS) .266/.374/.554 (3.2 WAR) OPS+ 148 (career 119)
on the safer side of 30, and in non COVID shortened seasons has been a
reliably good hitter. Lots of LH power, lots of strikeouts and a healthy
dose of walks. If not for the defensive limitations he'd be a perfect
fit in Toronto... alas he's limited mostly to LF and isn't too quick out
there (it works better in Fenway). He's played some first base also. Schwarber got 10 million/one
year from the Nationals last offseason and I figure he'll be expecting
more in salary and years this time around. It's a bet I'd be willing to
entertain in a vacuum, as I do think this club needs a lefty power bat
more than some folks realize. I liked what Corey Dickerson gave the club
(and am cool with bringing him back) but he's not really a middle of the order guy anymore.
16. Chris Taylor -- (UT-LAD) .254/.344/.438 (2.6 WAR) OPS+ 110 (career 109)
always somewhat skeptical of guys like this. Utility players that
become indispensable to a particular team for a few years in the
latter stages of their prime, after not doing much with significant
playing time before. Taylor was notably unremarkable playing mostly
shortstop as a Mariner (a .593 OPS in 256 PA) but as a Dodger has
flourished (.779 OPS in 2700 PA) operating as a "plug in anywhere"
everyday piece. Considering their infield and centerfield depth issues,
Taylor would be quite useful on the Blue Jays assuming he continues to
hit as he has in Los Angeles. Not sure how much I'd want to commit to
him (he'll be 31 next August) but there's a bit of Ben Zobrist to his
game that I like, only with more shortstop/centerfield ability but less
bat (and is only a RH). You could talk me into it.
17. Raisel Iglesias -- (RP-LAA) 2.57, 38 SV (2.8 WAR)
the Reds salary dumped him last winter I'd completely forgotten about Iglesias... nevermind notice he had a terrific year for the Angels. His numbers
certainly catch your attention: A career 10.9 K/9 rate, ERA under 3.00
in five of the past six seasons and a .216 batting average against. As a Red
I don't recall him being quite so dominant or automatic at the end of
games, though one certainly can't deny the Cincinnati bullpen was a
flaming car wreck in 2021 without him. I suppose going after Iglesias
depends on your preference on spending 15+ million a season on
relievers, particularly one who will be 32 in January. He's clearly
a very good one, but I'd pass.
18. Carlos Rodon -- (SP-CWS) 13-5, 2.37 (5.0 WAR)
the Marcus Semien of the 2021 offseason: a potential superstar many
expect to take a one year "prove it" deal so to set himself up for the
big payday next winter. Unlike Semien, the concerns around Rodon also
include injury risk or diminished velocity on top of the "fluke season"
question. If Matz and Ray are elsewhere, Rodon would certainly be an
enticing high-risk high-reward gamble at a high price tag for a season
or two. Not my money and all that.
19. Jon Gray (SP-COL) 8-12, 4.59 (1.3 WAR)
like a less consistent, RH, older Eduardo Rodriguez. Signing Gray to
a significant sum would be an upside play: you get him out of the thin
Denver air but he still gives you the same results... you're
probably a bit disappointed. For what it's worth, his career numbers on
the road aren't much different than his home numbers. All that in mind, the floor
seems to be a decent 4/5 starter, with potential upside considering he still throws hard. On a reasonable deal it's worth a look.
20. Seiya Suzuki (OF-NPB)
never seen him play and know nothing about him beyond the numbers: a
power hitting RH bat in Japan with a good defensive reputation and
excellent plate discipline. It's impossible to predict how that'll
transfer over... but I like the profile. Hope the Reds get him to replace Castellannos.
21. Anthony Rizzo (1B-CHC/NYY) .248/.344/.440 (1.7 WAR) OPS+ 111 (career 127)
one of my favourite players (clearly I just like LH NL first basemen)
and while his better offensive days seem behind him at 32, he's still a
good (and smart) enough hitter to help a club as a secondary star... plus he's just such an alert defender at the first sack. His batting approach would fit perfectly on the
Blue Jays (take that, shift!) but his limitation of only playing first base sadly does not... damn
22. Anthony DeSclafani (SP-SF) 13-7, 3.17 (3.9 WAR)
Rodney Dangerfield of free agent starting pitchers... no respect! True,
his track record has some bumps on the path and he's never been one to
rack up strikeouts. Aside from 2021 you're looking at a "solid but not
great" mid rotation guy. Gotta figure he'll look to take advantage of
his best season and cash in as a 32 year old free agent pitcher... I
wouldn't be lining up for that. It's possible he's the next Ryan Vogelsong, which works best when playing for the Giants obviously. It's wild all these years
later that of all the young pitchers Toronto traded in the winter of
2012... DeSclafani had by far the best MLB season in 2021. Baseball...
you just never know.
23. Justin Verlander (SP) - did not pitch in 2021
knows what he has left after missing so much time... he'll also be 39
before opening day 2022... but damn I'd be pretty excited if the Blue
Jays gave him a look. Unlike when they tried out a clearly washed Johan
Santana in Spring Training (who hadn't been good in years even when
healthy), Verlander was still one of the very best pitchers in the
league when we last saw him. It'd be darn nice to see him pitch a
no-hitter for the Blue Jays at least. He'd instantly become one of the greatest pitchers to ever wear the uniform.
(EDIT -- re-signed with Houston for 50 million over two years. Much as I like Verlander that's a pricey tag on a fella who hasn't pitched since 2019)
24. Avisail Garcia (RF-MIL) .262/.330/.490 (2.9 WAR) OPS+ 117 (career 105)
nice player who had a nice year. Sort of a poor man's Teoscar Hernandez
(with less bat and more glove). The King of Vibes wins that comparison.
25. Jorge Soler (OF-KC/ATL) .223/.316/.432 (-0.3 WAR) OPS+ 97 (career 111)
somewhere... made a bet before the season that Jorge Soler would win
the World Series MVP. Maybe they were an extremely optimistic Royals
fan, maybe it was a random joke bet... but you know somebody did.
26. Alex Wood (SP-SF) 10-4, 3.83 (1.3 WAR)
of one of the funkiest deliveries in baseball, Wood put up a very nice
2021 for the Giants after struggling badly in 2019-20 when he could even
take the hill. A career National League guy, it's difficult to say how
Wood would perform in the considerably more hitter friendly environments
of the AL East, not to mention the injury risk. His windup is so weird
and deceptive though it'd at least be cool to watch. You gotta figure
San Francisco will bring back at least one of their free agent pitchers
and Wood might be the most likely with that group.
27. Steven Matz (SP-TOR) 14-7, 3.82 (2.0 WAR)
We know this guy and what he's about.
seems unlikely we'll see Matz return north, although if Toronto misses
on Ray and he's still on the board I bet they'll circle back for another
shot. I think 2021 is basically who he is and has always been... you can do a lot worse.
28. Kendall Graveman (RP-SEA/HOU) 1.77, 10 SV (2.1 WAR)
curious case indeed. After a few seasons as a dependably solid starting
pitcher for Oakland, Graveman fell into the abyss. As a low strikeout, plenty contact pitcher, the margin for error combined with injury
seems to have closed around him. He spent a season rehabbing from Tommy
John surgery for the Cubs in the minors but was released later that winter
having thrown just six innings in 2019. Seattle gave him a shot in 2020,
and while that season didn't impress anybody either the Mariners
brought him back for 2021 exclusively as a reliever. Suddenly he became
unhittable, surrendering just 15 in 33 innings with just 3 earned runs for Seattle.
Graveman wasn't quite as good in Houston (seemingly used more as a setup
man there) though he turned in some very effective postseason work.
suppose you could bring him in as sort of the "Closer B", perhaps if
Romano needs a day off. One season isn't a great body of work to judge
upon but you can definitely squint and see a pretty good relief pitcher in
Graveman, who will be 31 next season. Something like the deal Blake
Treinen signed with the Dodgers wouldn't be that crazy. Anything insane... would be just that (it's like these words describe themselves).
29. Kenley Jansen (RP-LAD) 2.22, 38 SV (2.3 WAR)
Many Jansens! Having turned 34 in September, the Kenleyliest of Jansens isn't
looking at another 5/77 deal like the one he signed in 2017. A 12 season
veteran of the Dodgers, the blowing leaves suggest he'll be slinging that
heavy cut-fastball for a different team in 2022. Would you want it to
be in Toronto? Jansen has been a consistently excellent pitcher his
entire career: he's nearly impossible to take out of the ballpark, is
stingy giving up hits and has always struck batters out, even as his
velocity has dipped. Presumably you'd be signing him to be "the 9th inning
guy" and not as a "mix and match" late innings piece... a perhaps tricky balance considering you're also probably
not getting "peak" Jansen (his 2012-17 run is pretty nuts). If going
forward he's more his 2021 self and less the worrying decline we saw in
2019-20 (where he was much closer to average than elite) he's an arm you want to finish games.
30. Mark Canha (OF-OAK) .231/.358/.387 (2.5 WAR) OPS+ 111 (career 114)
really like the OBP marks the past three seasons: .396, .387, .358. I
don't like that he'll be 33 next season, and while versatile seems a very average
fielder that you're best off hiding in a corner. He's a good fit for
somebody (the Reds!) but don't think it's here.
31. Kyle Seager (3B-SEA) .212/.285/.438 (2.0 WAR) OPS+ 100 (career 112)
batting average and especially OBP are pretty alarming: a .285 OBP is
Randal Grichuk territory. Fortunately for Older Seager, his body of work
suggests this was more of a blip than a flaw in the design (although he
is a 34 year old third baseman with steadily declining BABIP, if that
means anything). The fit for Toronto seems too good to be true: a veteran LH
bat who can significantly shore up the defense at the hot corner and
still pop a few dingers out for ya. Really the perfect #5/6 hitter on a
team loaded with right-handed bats... if the blip is more real than the decline.
32. Michael Conforto (OF-NYM) .232/.344/.384 (0.8 WAR) OPS+ 101 (career 124)
high on base LH bat with considerable power and proven hitting ability, coming off a down year?
Yeah that sounds good. Conforto, 29 in March, is maybe another one
year "prove em" deal. After what Marcus Semien did in 2021, we'll be inventing these types of one year deals for at least half a decade. Why wouldn't you?
I really haven't seen Conforto play much, no characteristic or moment jumps out at me (it's my Realmuto blindspot I guess). The numbers suggest he's a terrific hitter. If the Blue Jays went and got him, I'd like the gamble.
33. Clayton Kershaw (SP-LAD) 10-8, 3.55 (2.4 WAR)
We can dream, right? It's not happening though. It would be entering a portal into some irregular universe to see Kershaw wearing any non-Dodger uniform. Still, he looks good in blue...
34. Yusei Kikuchi (SP-SEA) 7-9, 4.41 (1.7 WAR)
definitely remember this guy dominating the Jays in Seattle one
late lost summer evening. Kikuchi, an all-star in 2021, faded so brutally the final few
months his numbers don't look worth a major league guarantee.
He suffered a suspicious drop in spin rate halfway through the year and
opposing batters absolutely hammered him (an opposing OPS of .906,
which is pretttttty bad). Considering the pitcher friendliness of
Seattle's home park (whatever it's called now)... yikes.
35. Eduardo Escobar (3B-ARI/MIL) .253/.314/.472 (2.4 WAR) OPS+ 109 (career 99)
a switch hitting infielder who can play anywhere with multiple 20+ home
run seasons? What's the catch? He'll be 33? He hasn't played shortstop
in six years? Ah whatever. If the
team decides to prioritize the budget towards pitching, Escobar could slot in super easily on the
2022 Blue Jays. His ability to play either 3B or 2B certainly leaves your
options open. Seems almost too obvious... maybe.
36. Brandon Belt (1B-SF) .274/.378/.597 (2.7 WAR) OPS+ 160 (career 125)
An absolutely terrific hitter when healthy, which has been an issue. Seems unlikely he's leaving San Francisco regardless. (EDIT: He didn't)
37. Noah Syndergaard (SP-NYM) 0-1, 9.00 (2 ip)
As with Belt, Syndergaard probably accepts the qualifying offer so to better cash in next winter..... (EDIT) except no! He rejected it and signed for 21 million with the Angels. So much for my brief moment of clairvoyance)
38. Corey Knebel (RP-LAD)
A quality reliever, lots of strikeouts and lots of free passes. Meh?
39. Alex Cobb (SP-LAA)
had a better season than you think (8-3, 3.78 in 18 starts) as getting
the heck off the Orioles seems to have been good for him (as it would be
for anyone). Cobb has never been somebody you can rely on for innings,
but at an appropriately low cost he'd be a fine depth addition/lottery
ticket. Also not sure if he still uses that supremely bizarre slow and toe-pointy leg kick (I
40. Zack Greinke (SP-HOU)
I know he struggled pretty badly down the stretch of 2021. I don't
care, sign me up. The unusualness of his pitching style in this modern
age of high octave fastballs, combined with the endlessly unusualness of Greinke himself,...would just be so delightful to see in Blue Jay blue. It does seem like
the hitter-friendly confines of his home park didn't help him much in
2021 either. It's not crazy to think he could help the 2022 Blue Jays.
41. Eddie Rosario (LF-CLE/ATL)
good, not great, major league hitter. Pretty limited defensively, and
with a low walk rate is a LH version of a few guys
the Blue Jays already have. Better than Grichuk, probably.
42. Hector Neris (RP-PHI)
a bit of Rafael Dolis to Neris' profile (I mean 2020 Dolis, not the
ghastly 2021 version). Low contact, doesn't know where the ball is going
sometimes, lots of swing and miss. Dolis never gave up home runs as
frequently as Neris though.
43. Jonathan Villar (UT-NYM)
Had a good year in Queens. No thanks.
44. Mark Melancon (RP-SD)
grass man continues to get it done, presumably due to complete moxy and location considering his diminished stuff. I like Melancon quite a bit... I could see him getting another 100 saves as an NL closer or washing out of the American League by July as a Texas Rangers failure. Don't do it Mark!
45. Ryan Tepera (RP-CHC/CWS)
really made himself into a dependable bullpen arm, while his joke MVP
vote last season adds to the charm and legacy.
46. Corey Kluber (SP-NYY)
think he proved two things in 2021: he can still pitch pretty well when
healthy, and that he's never going to stay healthy. Much like Alex
Cobb, you're adding Kluber in hopes that he gives you 100 good innings.
47. Nelson Cruz (DH-MIN/TB)
hit nearly as well for Tampa Bay as he did in Minnesota, because of
course the Rays are just no fun. I don't quite see a fit in Toronto
since he's purely been a DH for quite a while now, but you never know.
The Rays did try him at 1B for a game. Cruz is only 51 homers away from
500... even though he's 41 years old it's not insane to think he could actually get there. What an odd career.
48. Danny Duffy (SP-KC*) *traded to the Dodgers but never pitched for them
A dependable backend starter with some health question marks. Hey, we stopped shopping at the front shelf about 1200 words ago.
49. Yan Gomes (C-WSH/OAK)
didn't realize we hadn't seen a catcher until now. That being a position of depth (and almost certain trade) for the Blue Jays, a
Yan Gomes signing is the least likely occurrence on this entire
list. I'd wager their odds of adding both Corey Seager and Scherzer higher... high enough? Damn.
50. Andrew Heaney (SP-LAA/NYY)
Already signed with the Dodgers.
Honourable Mentions? Why Not!
James Paxton - Recovering from Tommy John surgery. Would love to see him here but... yeah.
Joc Pederson - Still has some power, still not a great outfielder. You could do worse as a 4th OF, you could do a lot better.
Tommy Pham - He'll be 34 and his defense seems to be slipping into badness. Still gives you some power and OBP skill, an improvement over Grichuk at least.
Michael Pineda - The big fella must have the largest pants in the league the anti-Robbie Ray). Solid starter when able to pitch the last few years, as depth I'm down.
Brooks Raley - You can never have too many lefty relievers who strike out tons of guys. Seems a bit better than the ERA suggests.
Tomoyuki Sugano - Quiet news on this front compared to last winter. Probably staying in Japan.
Johnny Cueto - Was entirely decent for SF in 2021 after a few years in the darkness. I love watching him pitch (the shimmy!) but moving to the AL East at 36 would be a tall ask.
Josh Harrison - Could be a decent 2B/UT pickup if the team misses out on everyone else I've mentioned.
Rich Hill - 42 in March and just pitched the second most innings of his career (158.2). That big curveball is pretty neat, you could sell me on that.
Daniel Hudson - Was really good for the Nats, not so much for the Padres. Is striking out a ton of guys (103 in 71.2 innings since 2020). Could be a sneaky good pickup.
Joe Kelly - Never been a Kelly fan, though he is coming off a pretty effective year. Meh.
Aaron Loup - A 2.8 WAR season? A 6-0, 0.95 mark will do that. Sure, why not?
Andrew McCutchen - He can still hit a little and get on base. You'd probably want him to DH more often than not but he can help a team still.
Brad Miller - Good LH bat, can play a bunch of positions in theory but isn't particularly good at any of them. As a bench piece could be useful.
Andrew Chafin - Lefty reliever who had a great year between the Cubs and A's. Honestly never heard of him before.
Tyler Anderson - A pitch to contact 31 year old LHP who probably doesn't excite many. Maybe as a swingman but the Jays already have one in Stripling.
Colin McHugh - Yes.
That's all I got. Feel like I went through half the league. Have at it.