Photo credit:John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
Blue Jays “went hard” after Joc Pederson, have “sincere interest” in J.D. Martinez, and more!
27 days ago
The Blue Jays hunt for a designated hitter is ongoing.
According to Jon Morosi of MLB Network Toronto has “sincere interest” in two designated hitters, J.D. Martinez and Justin Turner.
Martinez is the better of the two, as the 36-year-old slashed .271/.321/.572 with 33 homers in 479 plate appearances with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2023. The K% of 31.1% was on the high side, but Martinez’s career K% sits at 31.1% and this is a clear outlier.
Turner is still a good hitter, as he slashed .276/.345/.455 with 23 home runs in 626 plate appearances with the Boston Red Sox. However, he turned 39 years old in November and has also fully moved to designated hitter, playing 98 games there, 41 games at first base, 10 games at second base, and seven games at third base.
Of course, the Jays have also been seen as the favourite to sign Jorge Soler according to Jon Heyman. He is the best designated hitter on the market, as he slashed .250/.341/.512 with 36 home runs in 580 plate appearances. The 31-year-old’s home run total was second among this year’s free agents, as only Shohei Ohtani finished with a higher total.
Blue Jays went hard for Joc Pederson:
Sometimes, it’s a good thing when you miss out on a player.
According to Buster Olney of ESPN, the Jays pushed hard for Pederson, a sentiment that was backed up by Sportsnet’s beat writers constantly linking the two parties.
Pederson has a rough season, slashing .235/.348/.416 with 15 home runs in 423 plate appearances, along with a 13.4 BB% and a 20.9 K%. The 2022 season was a career-best, as he slashed .274/.353/.521 with 23 home runs in 433 plate appearances for a career-high 146 wRC+.
Still, it’s probably for the best that the Jays missed out on Pederson, as it was believed he wanted to stay in the west.
Arbitration days set:
Arbitration is always fun.
According to this Sportsnet article, arbitration will start on January 30 and run until February 16. If you can recall, Vladimir Guerrero Jr is the only Blue Jay heading to arbitration and he wants $19.9 million, while the Jays want to give him $18.05 million.
The arbitrator will either give him what Guerrero Jr. wants or what the Blue Jays want to give him. It’s possible that the Blue Jays and Guerrero Jr. agree on a two-year deal before arbitration begins, as the Jays are a “file and trial” team, meaning they never give out one-year deals to avoid arbitration.
It will be interesting to see what Guerrero Jr. makes heading into the 2024 season, but he really needs a rebound year.
Jorge Polanco heads to the Seattle Mariners:
As I was writing this article, Jeff Passan announced that the Minnesota Twins and Seattle Mariners agreed to a trade which would see Polanco head to Seattle.
Toronto was an ideal landing spot for Polanco, as they still will need an infielder who could play third, and Polanco’s bat is great. Last season, he slashed .255/.335/.454 with 14 home runs and a 118 wRC+. He’s just two seasons removed from slashed .269/.323/.503 with a career-high 33 home runs and a 124 wRC+ for a 4.2 fWAR.
Re-signing Matt Chapman is still the way to go, as he provides great defence and his bat is underrated at this point.
As always, you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Threads @Brennan_L_D.
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