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Davidi: Middle-of-the-order bat remains ‘primary need’ for Toronto Blue Jays

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Photo credit:Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
2 months ago
The deflation of Shohei Ohtani’s unprecedented contract with the LA Dodgers is real in Toronto, and rightfully so.
All signs pointed towards the Jays being right there, neck-in-neck with the California club to sign baseball’s biggest star. But for the Toronto Blue Jays, they have no choice but to look ahead as they try and collect themselves in a time when the market will undoubtedly heat up.
The only problem? Their initial Plan B in Juan Soto landed across the border with the New York Yankees, who couldn’t wait to improve their offence in a similar way the Jays need to.
Now, the team needs to look at Plan C and beyond to freshen up their lineup at a critical point in the franchise’s history — one where the club has invested $300m into Rogers Centre with brand new premium seats to sell.
In the aftermath, Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi opined the primary need for the Jays continues to be “a middle-of-the-order bat to better support Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Bo Bichette.” The only problem is selling the fan base on options that aren’t Ohtani, and Soto won’t be so easy.
Davidi rattled off several names the club could look at. In the short-term, Rhys Hoskins and J.D. Martinez “make sense” as designated hitters, and the club could “re-engage more aggressively” with their free agent in Matt Chapman, a move this scribe thinks would be wise.
The team remains involved with Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Davidi reported, a utility player who slashed .242/.306/.340 and a 78 OPS+ with the Yankees last year, and that “their every-time-available interest in Joc Pederson and Michael Brantley, to some degree, remains.”
Toronto has been linked to free-agent posted pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who won the NPB’s pitching triple crown each of the last two years with the league’s top ERA, most strikeouts, and most wins. Davidi mentioned him as an option that would allow the Jays to get creative, potentially allowing them to trade Alek Manoah to acquire offence by way of a trade.
Davidi’s colleague, Ben Nicholson-Smith, also mentioned Chapman and Hoskins as options, adding World Series champion and 2019 Silver Slugger Mitch Garver as an option.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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