The Toronto Blue Jays were a contender last season in the American League. Despite finishing fourth, they did not meet fans’ expectations in the playoffs. After the Blue Jays traded Teoscar Hernandez, there is now an available spot to acquire another outfielder. The Blue Jays have signed Kevin Kiermaier, and many fans argue that his addition will fill the void Teoscar left. Looking at the other contenders in the American League, the Blue Jays should improve their outfield to keep up.
Blue Jays in agreement with Kevin Kiermaier pending a physical, per industry source. The CF, coming off hip surgery, is a three-time GG winner and a top percentile defender, which may matter more with new OF dimensions coming to Rogers Centre: https://t.co/L3gD86dHu9
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) December 10, 2022
The Blue Jays’ list of outfielders on their 40-man roster currently consists of the following players:
George Springer, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Kevin Kiermaier, Otto Lopez, Nathan Lukes, and Whit Merrifield
Here are the Blue Jays’ options moving forward this off-season.
1) Stand Pat
So far, this is an outfield built by the Blue Jays front office. While it has three all-stars in the lineup, they may not want to add another. This would be showing confidence in the current outfield depth and expecting more to fill the void of Teoscar Hernandez. This would rely on bounce-back seasons from Kevin Kiermaier and Whit Merrifield, along with another all-star season from George Springer. While it is an option that seems to be feasible for only a minority of Blue Jays fans, the risk could garner success.
2) Acquire Another In Free Agency
The Toronto Blue Jays have moved on from two outfielders this off-season. While they have acquired Kevin Kiermaier, they could likely sign another. Here are a few of the top outfielders still on the market.
Brantley is a five-time all-star and silver slugger. Last season saw the outfielder from Washington plagued with injuries but great to have when healthy. In 2022, he hit .288/.370/.416 with 5 home runs and 26 RBI in 64 games. In 2021, he hit .311/.362/.437 with 8 home runs and 47 RBI in 121 games. Brantley is a player the Blue Jays inquired about the last time he was a free agent, and he has played the outfield with George Springer in the past. These reasons make him a favorite for the Blue Jays to sign. Brantley is turning 36 and comes with plenty of playoff experience after spending the last four seasons with the Houston Astros. He is a career .298 hitter who can play near the top of the lineup.
After spending the last eight seasons with the San Diego Padres, Wil Myers is a free agent. Wil Myers’s ability to play a utility role is appealing to the Blue Jays. Although he is primarily an outfielder, he can play either corner infield positions to give Vladimir Guerrero Jr.or Matt Chapman a day off. Defensively, he led all NL outfielders in fielding percentage in 2021. Myers is the same age as Kevin Kiermaier and also came up through the Rays farm system. He is a better hitter than Kevin Kiermaier and was a part of a Padres team that made it to the NLCS last season.
AJ Pollock is another player the Blue Jays could consider. In 2022 with the Chicago White Sox, he hit .245/.292/.389 with 14 home runs and 56 RBI. Heading into his age-35 season, Pollock is an all-star and a gold glover. He is someone who can play every day when healthy and is predominantly a left fielder. He has won a World Series with the Los Angeles Dodgers and has been pivotal in other playoff runs.
David Peralta is a player that Blue Jays fans may not be familiar with. Playing the 2022 season with both the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Tampa Bay Rays, he had a season to forget. He hit a paltry .251/.316/.415 with 12 home runs and 59 RBI. Although he is a former Silver Slugger, Peralta is best known for his speed and defensive prowess. He is a Gold Glove winner and led the National League in Range Factor/Game in three of his last four seasons. He is heading into his age-35 season but could elevate the Blue Jays around the bottom third of the lineup.
After being traded to the Colorado Rockies for Randal Grichuk, Raimel Tapia became an everyday starter for the Toronto Blue Jays. In 128 games with Toronto last season, he hit .265/.292/.380 with 7 home runs and 52 RBI. He got along with his teammates well, and bringing him back could show better results than last season. Tapia could be someone who could be competitive with Cavan Biggio for the final spot in the outfield. While 2022 was a subpar season by his standards, he is still 29 and can turn things around in the next few seasons.
3) Acquire one Through Trade
Ultimately it is genuinely unknown what could happen in the next few weeks. The Blue Jays could pull off a blockbuster trade. Cavan Biggio could transition to be an outfield starter. While it is fun to speculate over potential transactions, the final say belongs to the Blue Jays’ front office.
Teoscar Hernandez, Kevin Kiermaier, George Springer, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Otto Lopez, Nathan Lukes, Whit Merrifield, Michael Brantley, Wil Myers, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Matt Chapman, AJ Pollock, David Peralta, Raimel Tapia, Randal Grichuk, Cavan Biggio
Justin grew up a fan of the Toronto Blue Jays. He's begun writing to express his opinions and engage with his fellow readers. Follow Justin on Twitter @J_Merrlles