As the offseason unwinds, general managers across baseball will be looking to put the finishing touches on their rosters. Big names such as Dexter Fowler, Ian Desmond, and Yovani Gallardo are still there for the taking, while many other free agents could improve a team's organizational depth. As "Transaction Friday" quickly approaches, let's take a look at five remaining free agents that could be of interest to the Toronto Blue Jays.
1B- Justin Morneau:
Let's face it, at one point or another every Jays fan has dreamed of watching Morneau play for Toronto. The team boasts a strong right-handed hitting heavy lineup that could certainly use a solid left-handed bat to complement Michael Saunders. With most teams already set at first base, you have to wonder if Morneau will now take a low salary to play in Canada.
Justin Smoak was projected to earn $2 million through arbitration, but somehow ended up with $3.9 million. Assuming this salary is not fully guaranteed, the Jays could conceivably trade or cut Smoak and only pay a fraction of this amount, before allocating that money to a player such as Morneau. If the winner of the 2014 National League batting title will play in Canada for a few million dollars, having a more established left-handed bat could really benefit the team.
1B- Ike Davis
It's tough to find 28-year old hitters that have hit 30+ home runs in a single season. Although Davis struggled in 2015, his track record against right-handed pitching is very impressive. A terrific walk rate has helped him achieve a career .352 on base percentage vs. righties, and a move to the Rogers Centre could help surge his power numbers.
After an off year Davis may have to settle for a minor league deal. The Blue Jays could sign him and have him battle Smoak for the first base job throughout spring training. It could be quite a nice buy-low option for Toronto, as his career numbers against righties are comparable to Evan Longoria, Davis Wright, Eric Hosmer, and Troy Tulowitzki.
C- Tony Sanchez
If Russell Martin gets injured the Blue Jays are in serious trouble. Current depth options include Josh Thole, A.J. Jimenez, and Humberto Quintero, a group that doesn't exactly scream quality options. Sanchez is not perfect, he has had trouble throwing out base runners in the past, but he has fared pretty well in terms of pitch framing.
Throughout the minors he has shown a strong ability to take a walk, a skill that should hopefully translate to the majors. Given the Jays lack of depth at this position, Toronto could offer Sanchez a terrific opportunity to make the majors if an injury does occur. A deal could really work for both sides.
RP- Carlos Torres
With pitchers such as J.A. Happ, Jesse Chavez, and Marco Estrada in the rotation, the team's relievers will likely face face a heavy workload. Enter Torres, a right-handed pitcher who has pitched an incredible 149 innings out of the bullpen from 2014-2015. Although the 4.68 earned run average he posted last season was quite high, more advanced measures such as SIERA ranked him much more favourably.
RP- Ryan Webb
The 30-year old right-hander pitched for Mark Shapiro's Cleveland Indians in 2015, posting a 3.2 earned run average (3.77 FIP) across 40 appearances. The Blue Jays already have a right-handed groundball specialist in their bullpen with Aaron Sanchez, but signing Webb would allow Sanchez to start in Buffalo.
Sanchez is still only 23 and has tremendous tools, which leads me to believe that his talents are wasted as a middle reliever this early in his career. For a minimum guarantee, the Jays could sign Webb and give Sanchez a better opportunity to reach his potential.