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Friday, May 20, 2022
Home Sports MLB Latest on Blue Jays' post-exclusion plans

Latest on Blue Jays’ post-exclusion plans

The Blue Jays made one of the biggest free agent purchases before the start of the lockout, with the landing Kevin Gausman on a five-year contract. He stepped into the rotation space that was evacuated when the reigning Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray signed with the Mariners. So while the Jays have already made a notable strike out of season, there is definitely room for more when the deals freeze come to an end.

It has long been known that adding an infield player is a priority Marcus Seeds went to the Rangers via free agency. It can take the form of a bakkie on either a third or second basis, and thus press Cavan Biggio and / or Santiago Spinale to the other position. Along with their desire for help in the field, the Jays are likely to prioritize further rotation pickups and add a high-lever reliever, writes Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.

It is debatable the Jays only need to look for depth pickups in the starting lineup. The top four of Gausman, José Berrios, Hyun-jin Ryu and Alek Manoah is among the stronger around the game. Veteran Ross Stripling seems to be the favorite for the # 5 opening role right now. After starting his MLB career with four consecutive sub-4.00 ERA seasons, Stripling has seen its production slide over the past two years. Back to the start of 2020, he owns a 5.14 ERA / 5.52 FIP over 150 2/3 overs with a 20.6% knockout rate that scores a few points below the league average. As he has done throughout his career, Stripling continued to beat the hitting zone (7.4% pace), but he was marked for an unbearable 2.2 home runs per nine overs over that stretch.

Stripling’s early career run of success with the Dodgers probably reflects a higher ceiling than that of most nominal # 5 beginners in the game, but another rotation pick could push him into an overqualified sixth starter / swing roll. The Jays also have top prospects Nate Pearson in the fold, though it remains to be seen how many turns they can reasonably expect from the right in 2022. He was limited by injuries to just 45 2/3 frames between Toronto and Triple-A Buffalo last year. Pearson is still a highly regarded young arm – he booked in 2nd among Jays farm workers on Baseball of America recent organizational rankings – but it remains to be seen whether the club might prefer to keep an eye on his workload by having him act as a multi-innings reliever next season.

This is especially true given the middle-of-the-road help group that the Jays hope to expand to after the exclusion. Toronto runners-up last season were 16th in MLB in ERA (4.08), 13th in strike / step rate difference (14.9 percentage points) and 12th in SIERA (3.92). Jordaan Romano broke out as an excellent late-game weapon, and Toronto has already added yimi garcia on a two-year free agent agreement. Yet there is still room for a high-leverage arm among a group that also includes Tim Mayza, Adam Cimber and the talented but often injured Julian Merryweather.

Romano clinched the ninth innings last season, so Toronto does not have to land a proven closer. Yet it should not automatically take them out of the race for someone like not Kenley Jansen, the top remaining free agent reliever. Getting a veteran closer – to be clear, Jansen’s just one speculative example – will give captain Charlie Montoyo more flexibility to deploy Romano in a situational high-leverage role. Other notable free agent lightening weapons include Collin McHugh, old friend Ryan Tepera, Andrew Chafin and Joe Kelly. Potential late-turn illuminators that may be commercially available include Lou Trivino, Cole Sulser and David Bednar.

Davidi writes that a left-handed hitting outfielder may also be on the wish list, though it may not be at the priority level of some of the club’s other needs. Toronto’s projected regular outfield of Lourdes Gurriel Jr., George Springer and Teoscar Hernandez all struck right-handed. So does the fourth outside player Randal Grichuk. The Jays would certainly like to find a recipient for the nearly $ 21 MM in guaranteed money left on the latter’s deal until 2023. That would be easier said than done, but to complete a Grichuk deal, the search for make additional outfield assistance more urgent.

The Jays are not going to spend on a top-of-the-market outfield player, given the strength of their current squad. Pederson game and Eddie Rosario is probably affordable, but would prefer to sign with a club that offers a clearer path to everyday representatives. Corey Dickerson, which the Jays acquired last summer with Cimber from the Marlins, has also hit the open market and is likely to be limited to one-year deals.

Dickerson hit .282 / .329 / .450 in 140 record appearances with the Jays in the long haul. This is in line with his overall production over the past two seasons – high batting averages but a low pace and decent but unspectacular power production. His overall attacking output scored right around league average, according to wRC +, but he was a reliable productive bat for most of the early part of his career. Dickerson, who apparently spoke of his time in Toronto as part of a wider interview with Davidi, indicated that he is on track for 2022 with the goal of some of the extra-basic impact he made during his time at the Rockies , Rays, to be rediscovered. , Pirates and Phillies between 2013-19.

It’s not clear if the Jays will call Dickerson again when club staff are allowed to speak to free agents. Whatever action team president Mark Shapiro, general manager Ross Atkins and the rest of the front office choose, it turns out they have a fair amount financial flexibility to address the different holes on the grid. With a season of 91 wins that were nonetheless a touch short of the playoffs, there is little reason not to be aggressive.

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