With the World Series set to kick off on Tuesday, we’re finally getting around to the most interesting part of the year — Transaction Season.
Though we shouldn’t expect the Blue Jays to be in on the top free agents this winter, as Mark Shapiro pretty much came out and said as such, the front office has stated a desire to spend some money to improve the team heading into 2020. The plan seems to be to find more under-the-radar free agents who slip between the cracks. Last year, we saw the Minnesota Twins do a nice job adding players who got forgotten by the market, like Marwin Gonzalez, C.J. Cron, and Nelson Cruz, and they played a key role in the team’s Central Division win.
A free agent who could fit into that category is Marcell Ozuna, who’s coming off back-to-back good-not-great years in St. Louis. According to Hector Gomez, the Jays are one of the teams currently in the pursuit for Ozuna.
According to Dominican sports journalist @Adanlesther OF Marcell Ozuna could get a 160M$/7 years contract. Reds, White Sox, Marlins, Blue Jays, Cardinals, Royals, Athletics and Mariners on pursuit as of now.@z101digital @ZDeportes https://t.co/UtUPe8lcRJ
— Héctor Gómez (@hgomez27) October 21, 2019
Gomez is reporting that a Dominican reporter suggested Ozuna could earn as much as $160 million in free agency this off-season, which seems a bit steep for a corner outfielder with shoddy defence. Ozuna had a breakout season for the Marlins back in 2017, got dealt in the Derek Jeter exodus to St. Louis, and was a fairly solid contributor there for two years. He slashed a .241/.328/.472 line, clubbed 29 bombs, and was worth 2.6 wins per FanGraphs.
Injecting Ozuna’s bat into the lineup would certainly be a welcomed addition, but spending $160 million for essentially an older and more established version of Teoscar Hernandez is a steep price to pay. The Jays have a complete mess in the outfield, with Lourdes Gurriel and Randal Grichuk occupying two spots and Hernandez, Derek Fisher, Anthony Alford, Billy McKinney, and Jonathan David vying for the others.
If the Jays are going to dish out a big chunk of cash, it would be better served on a good starting pitcher than a corner outfielder with pop. If the Jays are interested in this kind of add, it might be more prudent to go after Yasiel Puig, who would likely be a cheaper option.