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.
The #BlueJays and #Mets have reached out early on free agent Lorenzo Cain, sources say. #Rangers, #Mariners and #SFGiants also have CF openings and could be potential fits. The Giants are juggling a lot of balls right now.
— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) November 14, 2017
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…