We've been running our staff suggestions for Blue Jays free agent signings. You can see Noah's choice here, MjwW's here, Scott's here and Nick's here. So it's my turn (or more accurately I'm finally getting around to putting mine together).
I went a slightly different direction than the other guys. My pick is Yasmany Tomas.
When I first picked him it was before the Russell Martin signing and I thought the the Jays needed to make a huge splash to keep the 'cheap Rogers' crowd at bay for a bit. Of course, 20 seconds after the Russell signing, the 'cheap Rogers people were out in full force again, so I guess that reasoning was likely flawed. But I still like the idea of signing Tomas for other reasons:
- He has power. A lot of power. A couple of years ago we we were swimming in power hitters. Now we have Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion but no one else that projects to give us more than 20 home runs. We only have Edwin and Jose signed through the 2016 season. Right now it is anyone's guess if they will be interested in signing extensions. Power isn't the be all and end all, but it is handy to have someone that fits into those middle spots in the order.
- He's young, just turned 24, he's just going into his prime years, unlike most free agents who are looking at their prime years in the rear view mirror. It would be nice to spend money on an investment that grows in value, instead of the normal buying into a player whose value is depreciating. Tomas is actually a little bit younger than Anthony Gose and about 10 months younger than Brett Lawrie.
- He wouldn't cost us a draft pick. I think that is worth a fair bit.
- He plays left field (and apparently has the arm for right field) and we could use someone to do that. His defense might be just average or maybe slightly above average, but, considering the guys we've had in left field, over the past few years, average would look pretty good.
- We could let Melky go and collect the draft pick, or sign Melky with the idea that he mostly plays DH.
There are downsides. Tomas would possibly need some time in Buffalo. Maybe half a season. He's not likely to be a high average hitter. Maybe .240 to.260, but with some walks and a lot of power. And you never know what coaching could do.
He won't come cheap and the team might have to ignore the 5-year rule to get him, but if you can't ignore that rule for him then I think you have a problem.
Also, he spells Thomas without the h and that's a almost a deal breaker, but I'll overlook it in this case.
It would be a risk, there is the chance that he wouldn't turn out to be the player that we hope he'll be. But then there is always the chance that any player you sign won't be the guy you are expecting. Ricky Romero looked to be the safest of safe signings. It think the reward is worth the risk. I think that if we are going to get back to the playoffs, we need to take some risks and have them pay off.
There are no rumors that the Jays are in on Yasmany, but then the Jays try to keep things quiet, a very irritating way of doing business if you are a blogger. We haven't paid a long of money for an international free agent in a long time. I think the last time we spent much money on an international free agent was back in 2010 when we gave Adeiny Hechavarria a big $10 million, 4-year deal.
So there you go Alex, you have your marching orders, get 'er done.