The deadline for teams to non-tender arbitration-eligible players was on Wednesday, so we have a whole bunch of new names on the free-agent market.
The Blue Jays non-tendered two players, Travis Shaw and A.J. Cole. That leaves Teoscar Hernandez and Ross Stripling as the only arbitration-eligible Blue Jays.
Shaw getting cut was really no surprise at all. He was brought in on a one-year deal to be a veteran stop-gap at third. The hope was that Shaw could rebound from a putrid season at the plate and become the hitter he was in 2017 and 2018. That didn’t happen. Shaw slashed a .239/.306/.411 line with OK defence. This is a position the Blue Jays are surely looking to upgrade this off-season.
A.J. Cole seems a bit more surprising on the surface but it really isn’t. Cole was solid for the Blue Jays in 2020. He tossed 23 1/3 innings for the team and had a nice 3.09 ERA, though his peripheral numbers (3.5 walks per nine and 7.7 strikeouts per nine) weren’t good. There will be plenty of better relievers who fall through the cracks this winter so there’s no sense in committing to Cole at this stage.
The Blue Jays now have 38 players on their 40-man roster, giving them the flexibility to grab a player in the upcoming Rule 5 draft and also giving them the room to add free agents without having to DFA anybody.
Anyways, the Shaw and Cole news isn’t the most interesting thing from yesterday. There are a handful of quality players from around the league who got non-tendered that are interesting free agents to consider…
Just one year removed from clubbing 38 homers, the Cubs decided to cut Kyle Schwarber loose. He had a miserable season at the plate, slashing a .188/.308/.393 line with just 11 homers across 59 games. I’m not sure if the Blue Jays really need another power-hitting corner outfielder with a bad glove, but it’s hard to ignore Schwarber’s upside. He seems like the kind of guy who will become a Tampa Bay Ray and smack 50 dingers.
Yet another power-hitting-poor-defending corner outfielder, Eddie Rosario got cut loose by the Twins after a fairly productive season. Rosario slashed a solid .257/.316/.476 line and hit 13 homers over 57 games but Minnesota decided against having Rosario take his third go at arbitration. Again, with Randal Grichuk, Teoscar Hernandez, and Lourdes Gurriel already in the mix, the fit probably doesn’t make much sense. But if a trade is made involving any of those players, Rosario would make a fine replacement.
Finally, here’s an outfielder that actually fits Toronto’s needs. David Dahl, a former No. 10 overall pick, was cut loose by the Rockies after putting up a .470 OPS in 2020. Dahl was coming off of what appeared to be a breakout season in 2019 where he slashed a .302/.353/.524 line and earned an All-Star Team nod. He’s a left-handed bat who plays a decent centre field. The bat has upside so there’s merit to buying low on Dahl. Maybe he could form a good platoon with Grichuk.
If you’re still confused as to why A.J. Cole wasn’t tendered, this should help clear things up. The Reds non-tendered Archie Bradley after a season in which he posted a 2.95 ERA over 18 1/3 innings. Bradley was drafted No. 7 overall by the Diamondbacks and has really, really good stuff but hasn’t put it together outside of a great season in 2017. As I said earlier, there’ll be plenty of good arms who fall through the cracks this winter who will be available on cheap deals closer to spring training.
So, yeah, a handful of interesting names who could be worthwhile reclamation projects. Hopefully free agency starts moving now that the non-tender decisions have been made.