Blue Jays continue to chase left-handed strikes

The Blue Jays have one of the most dangerous formations in baseball, although their projected starting nine leans heavily to the right. Cavan Biggio is the only left-handed hitter to receive daily action in the Toronto roster, and even Santiago Espinal should spell Biggio when lefties are on the mound. With that in mind, the Jays continue to look at left-handed hitters, with Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi writing that the club has expressed interest in Michel Conforto, Joc Pederson, Brad Millerand former Jay Corey Dickerson.

While Davidi reports the Jays “had offers” on the last three names, Dickerson joined the Cardinals on a one-year/$5 million deal, Pederson accepted the one-year/$6 million offer. dollars from the Giants and Miller received $10 million. on a two-year contract with Rangers. These players were all slated for platoon or part-time service, while Conforto would apparently be both online for a more day-to-day role and at a significantly higher cost.

Clubs such as the Rockies, Marlins, Yankees and Padres have also been linked to the Conforto market this winter, although Colorado could be ruled out after signing. Kris Bryantwhile the Marlins have met their outfield needs with Jorge Soler and Avisail Garcia. Signing Conforto would cost a draft pick since he turned down the Mets’ qualifying offer, and it remains to be seen exactly what kind of deal Conforto will land heading into Opening Day. His market could improve as more outfielders are signed, although following Conforto’s average 2021 season, teams may still be reluctant to commit large sums.

A multi-year deal with opt-outs could be an option, similar to the deal just signed by another Scott Boras client – the Twins’ new shortstop Carlos Correa. Or, the Jays could offer Conforto a one-year contract worth $18.4 million (the cost of the qualifying bid), in a move similar to how Toronto landed Marcus Semien last winter. Like Semien, Conforto could see the one-year deal as a bridge to a bigger deal the following offseason, assuming Conforto returns to past form.

Signing Conforto would cost the Blue Jays $500,000 in international spending money and their second-highest pick in the 2022 draft, which would be their second-round selection. However, since the Blue Jays will get two more compensatory picks just before the third round (from Semien and Robbie Ray QOs rejected and signed elsewhere this winter), the Jays might feel they have the draft depth to rationalize signing Conforto.

Toronto’s degree of interest in Conforto is unknown, as Davidi acknowledges the Jays could just make a routine check-in on a notable unsigned free agent. Since the Jays don’t have a fixed DH, Theoscar Hernandez, George Springer, Lourdes Gurriel Jr.and Conforto could all see steady work in the DH spot and start spots, with Randal Grichuk obtain replacement duties when the situation warrants it.

Of course, the Guardians star knocking on the switch Jose Ramirez continues to be a target for the Blue Jays and would represent another left-handed option to balance the roster in a major way. It remains to be seen if the Jays and Guardians can finally agree on a trade package or if Cleveland will even end up moving Ramirez, although Davidi reports that a Guardians scout was recently seen taking video of Alexander Kirk. Since guards are thin at receiver now and don’t have a true future receiver lined up (according to Bo Naylor‘s future position), Kirk would be a logical candidate to include as part of a possible Ramirez trade package.