Michael Brantley, Joc Pederson among names who are coming up as fall back nets for the Blue Jays

Ryley Delaney
7 months ago
While the Jays have a legitimate shot at signing Shohei Ohtani, they still trail the Los Angeles Dodgers as the favourite.
In a recent Shi Davidi article from Sportsnet, he mentions that the Blue Jays’ plan is far murkier if they miss out on the two-way Japanese superstar., and if Bellinger wants more than $200,000,000, the Jays would be out on that. Davidi also mentions San Diego Padres’ Juan Soto as an option, but that could cost them roster players and top prospect Ricky Tiedemann, which Davidi can’t see the Jays doing.
Interestingly, Héctor Gómez reported that the Blue Jays have “intensified talks for Juan Soto” and that Toronto “are the favourites to land Soto”. Now, Gómez should be taken with a grain of salt because he’s been incorrect with his reports as many times as he’s been right, but it’s still exciting.
With all that being said, if the Jays miss out on the two big fish, who would they be interested in?

Michael Brantley:

Death, taxes, and the Blue Jays are interested in the 36-year-old outfielder/designated hitter.
Brantley only played in 15 games in 2023, slashing .278/.298/.426 with two homers in 57 plate appearances. In the midst of the 2022 season, he needed surgery and missed 14 months, returning in August 2023.
His last full season was in 2021, when he slashed .311/.362/.437 with eight homers in 508 plate appearances for a 121 wRC+ and 2.3 fWAR.
The left-handed batting outfielder may never return to his pre-shoulder injury form, but having an experienced bat could certainly help the Jays.

Joc Pederson:

A theme of this speculation is the fact that the Blue Jays have been linked to all three of these players in the past. During the 2021-22 off-season, the Blue Jays were said to be interested in the outfielder.
Pederson accepted the San Francisco Giants’ qualifying offer after the 2022 season and moved to the designated hitter role in 2023. The 31-year-old slashed .235/.348/.416 with 15 homers in 425 plate appearances, along with a 20.9 K% and a 13.4 BB%, the highest he’s had since 2015.
I wrote more about Pederson in a Free Agency Profile, which you can read here.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa:
If the Blue Jays were to sign Kiner-Falefa, who they had interest in at the 2023 trade deadline, he’d solely be used as a glove.
The 28-year-old shortstop/third baseman/outfielder spent his 2023 season with the New York Yankees and slashed .242/.306/.340 with six homers in 361 plate appearances for an 82 wRC+ and 0.2 fWAR. He’s never posted a wRC+ above 91, but he’s had two seasons with an fWAR above 1.5.
For his career, Kiner-Falefa has 25 Defensive Runs saved and -6 Outs Above Average in 2691 innings played at shortstop. He’s even better at third base, owning a 19 DRS and 22 OAA in 1207.1 innings at the hot corner.
Prior to the 2023 season, Kiner-Falefa never played outfield, but with the emergence of Anthony Volpe, the Yankees played him at all three outfield positions. Playing 566.1 innings in the outfield, he posted a -4 DRS and -2 OAA. Interestingly, he only had a -1 DRS and 1 OAA in 278.1 innings in centre field, and had a -3 DRS and -3 OAA in 248 innings in left field.
Like Pederson, I wrote a Free Agency Profile on Isiah Kiner-Falefa.

Moral of the story:

Get Ohtani. All three of these guys would be good additions for what they provide, but they can’t be “the addition”. At this point with all the rumours circulating, the only two acquisitions that wouldn’t feel like a let down is if they either get Ohtani or Soto, maybe both.
Get ‘er done.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Threads @Brennan_L_D.


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