Post Post Season Time
Thursday, November 02 2023 @ 12:25 PM EDT
Contributed by: John Northey
The season is over, the Rangers won it all - sigh. Now time for the Jays and all others to dream big about who will sign and who will be traded.
Dates coming up...
So which top free agents might the Jays go for?
- The next few days are important, 5 days post-WS teams and players need to exercise their options, players become free agents now, teams have these 5 days to decide on offering a Qualifying Offer or not ($20.5 mil for 1 year guaranteed if the player wants it), all players on the 60 day IL must be moved to the 40 man roster.
- November 7-9: GM meetings in Scottsdale Arizona - groundwork for deals will happen here, as will groundwork for free agents - teams will quickly find out a LOT during this time, but little will actually happen as far as we will see - possible a big deal happens but most likely it won't.
- November 9th: Silver Slugger awards handed out -
- November 13-16th: BBWAA awards handed out - 13th Rookie (Schneider might get some votes), 14th Manager (would be shocked if Schneider got any votes), 15th Cy Young (Gausman will get some votes), 16th MVP (AKA the Ohtani by default award unless someone has a historic season)
- November 14th: Rule 5 protection deadline: Jays must decide who to protect and who not to by this date
- November 17th: Non-Tender date - AKA the day Cimber is no longer a Blue Jay.
- December 4-7: Winter Meetings - this is the time for the Rule 5 draft (December 6th), lots of deals happen, normally the first big free agent signings happen during this, these were the meetings that the McGriff/Fernandez for Alomar/Carter trade happened during (with writers applauding after the announcement due to it being 4 all-stars going back and forth). The MLB Draft Lottery will happen during this too (December 5th).
- January 15th: new international signing period begins - normally a big rush day one to sign newly eligible guys to deals (Vlad was a day 1 signing for example, but Kirk & Moreno were signed months later).
- February 13th: Pitchers and catchers report.
- February 22nd: Spring training games begin and hopes and dreams can get into full gear.
- March 20-21st: Dodgers vs Padres in South Korea start the regular season off with 2 games.
- March 28th: Regular season fully begins with Jays in Tampa Bay for 4 games
- April 8th: Jays home opener vs Seattle (Monday)
Really, this winter if the Jays go for a top free agent and can't sign the unicorn or Bellinger they'll need to make it a starting pitcher. The quality drops drastically and quickly after that unless they resign Chapman (I don't see that happening). Trades are a crapshoot, who knows who is available and why - SD has money issues, as do other teams (TV deals collapsed for 14 teams) but which ones and how big are those issues? We can't know the full scope unless they are dumb enough to publicly announce it (few would). Which players are pains in the butt to have around, which are really good team players? Again, we can't know unless they are gross publicly (or charged). Plus, of course, we have the background of the Jays needing to start thinking seriously about Bo & Vlad extensions as there are just 2 years left pre-free agency for them, and Jansen who is a free agent post 2024.
- Ohtani: everyone wants him, about 5-10 teams might be able to afford him. Luckily the Jays are one of those who also are obviously contenders. Sadly we are nowhere near the west coast so odds are he'll go elsewhere (Dodgers the favorites) but the Jays are reported to have a 'unicorn' budget and a normal one, so they are going to give it a shot.
- Cody Bellinger: the best non-Ohtani hitter, plays CF/1B, bats left. Jays have chased him for a few years now, but will they risk the $150-$200 million it'll take to sign him? Will he be willing to move to LF? We'll see.
- Starting pitchers: There are an assortment of star quality guys here all expecting $100-$200 mil plus deals - Yoshinobu Yamamoto (sub 2 ERA in Japan for years and will be entering his age 26 season next year), Aaron Nola (did well in the WS, 113 ERA+ lifetime, entering age 31 season), Sonny Gray (154 ERA+ in 2023, 121 lifetime, entering age 34 season so might come cheaper in terms of years), Jordan Montgomery (very solid 116 ERA+ lifetime, over 110 each of the past 3 years, 150+ IP each of those years too, entering age 31 season, 5 post seasons starts this year, 1 relief, 31 IP 10 ER = 2.90 ERA this post season), Blake Snell (limited endurance, but damn good when on the mound, has AL East experience with the Rays, lots of post season experience, likely to win his 2nd Cy Young award this offseason, entering age 31 season). The quality drops after that drastically.
- Jays: Chapman would be nice to keep, but is looking at a 4+ year deal for $100+ mil - do the Jays want to risk that much on him?, Kiermaier - sadly doesn't make much sense to resign him with Varsho here, except as a plan D (ie: no other OF could be signed), Hicks I'd love to keep, but will probably cost $10 mil a year for 3 years and I can't see the Jays doing that. Hyun Jin Ryu (unlikely), Brandon Belt (unlikely), Jay Jackson (if he'd take another AAA deal but odds are he won't), Whit Merrifield (unlikely).
Mix in the kids who deserve a spot either now (Schneider) or soon (Orelvis Martinez, Ricky Tiedemann, Addison Barger, etc.) and we have a lot to debate. It'll be fun overanalyzing all of this as things happen.