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Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Crasnick: Jays ‘Have Reached Out Early’ On Lorenzo Cain

Lorenzo Cain, free agent formerly of the Kansas City Royals, makes some sense as a player the Blue Jays might target. He’s a good defensive outfielder, with speed on the basepaths as well. Cain is primarily a centrefielder (though he played nearly a thousand innings in right field between 2012 and 2016), and a decent enough hitter to boot, with a 107 wRC+ on his career, having put up a 115 wRC+ last season, which helped power him to 4.1 WAR.

Granted, there are things not to like so much about him, too. Like the fact that he’ll turn 32 in early April. Or the fact that, other than 2017 and 2015, he’s spent time on the DL in every season of his big league career. The fact that you might worry that his skills won’t age terribly well, especially if he’s playing on turf in half his games. The fact that, with Kevin Pillar already in tow, he’d be forced into a corner outfield spot and perhaps lose some of his value. Or, especially, the fact that most prognosticators seem to believe that he’s going to land a contract of something like four or five years this winter.

But apparently none of that is stopping the Blue Jays from, at the very least, doing their due diligence on him. Or so says Jerry Crasnick.

I’ve seen a lot of fans talking about Cain in the leadup to this offseason, and I’ve never been too sold for a lot of the above reasons. But I certainly can’t deny that he’d instantly make the Blue Jays a better team, and add a top-of-the-order hitter and a dimension of speed that they currently lack. That would be fun, at least. And adding him might give them the option to trade Pillar, too. Which might even make the most sense.

Of course, the Jays having, along with the Mets, “reached out early” doesn’t really mean much. The Jays will be reaching out on a bunch of players, to be sure. But it’s not untrue that the club, in the Shapiro-Atkins era, have been very quick to act once free agency begins. Could this rumbling be a hint that they’re about to do so again? I have no idea, obviously. But it’s at least possible. Especially if they can do it at less than five years — or, better still, less than four — and without committing so much money going forward that it rules out the possibility of re-signing Josh Donaldson (which they very clearly ought to do, even though it has never really felt as though it’s really going to happen).

So, there’s that…

  • Nice Guy Eddie

    If the Jays sign Cain, they lose their second pick, which will be their second rounder, and 500k from the international pool. They’ll also have an outfield of Cain and … no one really. Pllar’s bat doesn’t play in centre let alone a corner. Teoscar is at best a flyer as a starter, and Alford’s only future value I’d guess is in centre due to his lack of power. Now, if they could trade Pillar for a corner outfielder, that would change things, but I don’t think he’d bring much. As it stands, I’m saying don’t sign any of the free agents with comp tied to them.

    • Mule or etc...

      Over the past 3 years Pillar accrued 9.5 fWAR making him the 22nd most valuable outfielder in the league during that span falling in between Kole Calhoun (9.7) and AJ Pollock (9.0). I’d say he’s okay in centre.

      • Mule or etc...

        To complete my thought instead of hastily hitting post, Cain was 4th with 13.1 fWAR. Sure he’d lose some value shifting to RF but an .800 OPS will certainly play there. Even with a (sigh) Zeke/Pearce platoon in LF the outfield would be much better than what the Jays have run out their for the past couple years.