It’s essentially the end of the first day of the resumed free agency period. I, among many others, thought that once the roster freeze lifted, a bunch of deals would come at us in rapid fire succession. Sadly, this was not the case

The transactions:

There were a total of six MLB transactions today. Two unimportant moves, two good pitchers were signed, one move that could impact the Jays chances at a top free agent, and one move by the Blue Jays themselves.

Cardinals sign Drew VerHagen:

In terms of important signings, this ranks dead last. The 31-year-old pitched the last two seasons in Japan and is looking to make a North American comeback.

Rangers sign Martin Perez:

Another signing that doesn’t really impact the Jays whatsoever. The 30-year-old lefty pitched for the Red Sox in 2021 and posted a 4.74 ERA and 4.82 FIP in 114 innings pitched. His career ERA sits at 4.71 while his FIP sits at 4.545 in his 1102.2 career innings pitched.

Giants sign Carlos Rodon:

This one is tough. The 29-year-old lefty put up fantastic numbers in 2021 with the White Sox, pitching 132.2 innings and owning an ERA of 2.37. His FIP was also on the low side at 2.65. This was his best season to date, as he also had a K/9 of 12.55 (his career number is 9.55) and a BB/9 of 2.44 (career number is 3.59). Not to mention, had the Jays signed the lefty, they would not have given up a compensation pick.
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Dodgers re-sign Clayton Kershaw:

The likelihood that the Jays would have had a chance to sign the 33-year-old lefty was slim to none. The past season, Kershaw posted his worst ERA (3.55) since his rookie season. However, his 3.00 FIP was his best since the 2016 season when Kershaw dominated the league.

Cubs sign Andrelton Simmons:

Simmons didn’t have a great season with the Minnesota Twins as he slashed .223/.283/.558 with a -0.5 fWAR. The 32-year-old shortstop, who has always been known for his defense, registered a 15 DRS. The only reason this is notable is because the Cubs were the frontrunners to sign fellow shortstop, Carlos Correa. With the Cubs potentially out of the race, perhaps the Jays can look to sign him?

Blue Jays sign Andrew Vasquez:

I wrote about the Blue Jays signing him here. So to add new information, the 28-year-old lefty (who is 6’6) had a pretty impressive K/9 of 12.5 in Triple A. Not just that, but he had a ground ball percentage of 61.8% in his 42.1 innings pitched with the Twins farm team, an utterly crazy number. His walk rate of 4.5 is concerning, but with Pete Walker’s magic, this could be a very good low risk, high reward type signing.
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Rumours:

Good album, but let’s dig into the rumour mill.

Freddie Freeman, the next Dodger?

Take this with a grain of salt, but per Jon Morosi, the Dodgers have made an offer to the 32-year-old first baseman. While he had a great season and would help fill the needs of the Blue Jays (left-handed bat), it seemed unlikely that he would be signed. As it currently stands, the most pressing need for the Blue Jays is at third base.
Speaking of which…

Jose Ramirez a perfect fit for the Blue Jays?

Again, it’s a rumour (more so speculation) from Jon Morosi, so it has to be taken with a grain of galt. Hoping on The Fan Morning Show, Morosi said that if the Cleveland Guardians are set to rebuild, Ramirez is the guy to move. Guess which team is in the market for the best third baseman in all of baseball? The Toronto Blue Jays.
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If the Jays trade for Ramirez, they will win the World Series.

Blue Jays interested in Jonathan Villar?

According to Hector Gomez (who announced the Jays signing Gregory Cano), the Jays are looking into Jonathan Villar. This would be a terrible decision. If you remember, Villar walked out on the Jays after he was pulled in the 2020 playoffs.
Not just that, but the 30-year-old infielder didn’t have that great of a 2021. He slashed .249/.322/.738 with 15 home runs, but his K% was a rather high 26.1%. On defense, he spent the majority of the time playing at third base, where he posted a -4 DRS in 748 innings. He played 199 innings at short, where he posted a 4 DRS, but his DRS at second base (63.1 innings), brings his overall total DRS to -2.
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Furthermore, his base stealing success declined quite a lot in 2021. For the first time since his rookie season, his success rate dropped below 70%, with a career low 66.6% success rate.
It wouldn’t be a good idea to sign Villar.

The Blue Jays are the frontrunners for Yusei Kikuchi?

This article is more salty than a Texas Ranger fan in the years 2015 and 2016. With that being said, this is another rumour to be taken with a grain of salt, in fact, it’s probably not true. Here is a tweet from this person earlier in the day:
As for Kikuchi himself, I would pass on him as well. The 30-year-old lefty has not put up great numbers since moving to the majors, as his career ERA sits at 4.97 while his FIP sits at 4.93. This past season was arguably his best as he had a 4.441 ERA and 4.61 FIP, but there is one concerning factor.
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Kikuchi gave up 11 home runs at T-Mobile Park, one of the most notorious ballparks. He added an additional 16 on the road, leading to 27 home runs given up in total. In fact, if there was a fly ball, there was a 1 in 5 chance that it was leaving the park.
In my mind, he is not an upgrade over Stripling.
As always, you can follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D. This was only day one of free agency, so hopefully we can see more movement tomorrow. Perhaps the Jays will finally trade for Jose Ramirez or sign Carlos Correa. The world is their oyster.