We’ll be talking a lot about what we would like to see the Blue Jays do over the winter. I thought I’d start with a few ideas.
I really would like to see improvement in defense. If our defense was better (it doesn’t have to be great, just better) our pitchers will look much better.
I think an improvement in two spots would have a domino effect. If we could improve at short and center field, it could make the other positions look better.
I’d like us to find an excellent defensive shortstop, move Bo Bichette to second, likely move Cavan Biggio to third as a permanent move (unless the team decides he doesn’t have the arm for the position). Maybe I’m over-valuing the troubles Bo had that last game. But Outs Above Average has him at a -1. I think Bo would be better at second than Cavan, and I believe Cavan could be an above-average third baseman with time working at it during spring training.
Bo’s bat is going to carry him at any position, I’d just like the team to make better use of their players on defense.
Santiago Espinal could be the good defensive shortstop, if they think his glove can carry his bat, but then Travis Shaw wasn’t exactly a terrific help to the offense. Or they could go after Andrelton Simmons. Or maybe they feel Jordan Groshans would be a defensive improvement.
And center field. Outs Above Average has Randal Grichuk at a -1. I know I felt far more comfortable when Jonathan Davis was playing the position. I don’t think Davis will hit well enough to be a regular in the lineup, but when he is, and he’s playing corner outfield spot, it is a mistake.
The problem with the idea of replacing Grichuk is there is nowhere to move him, and he’s being paid ($10.3 million for the next 3 years, though it could be $12.3 in that third year based on PA). Trading him would be tough. No one wants to pay that much for a 0.1 bWAR player (this year, 0.4 last year). He’s 30 now. Not many are going to believe that he’ll get better going into his 30s (though every time he has a 5 game hot streak we are going to heard he’s improved, ad nauseam). But let’s see if they find a way to move him.
If they don’t want Davis in center, Jackie Bradley Jr. is a terrific defensive center fielder and a free agent. Bradley in center would help out Teoscar Hernandez (-4 OAA) and Lourdes Gurriel (-2 OAA). They wouldn’t have to cover as much ground. Maybe they could get in front of balls hit into the outfield instead of waiting until they reach the outfield wall.
It is possible that Austin Martin would be an excellent defensive center fielder. Unfortunately, we didn’t see him play this year, so we don’t know, but I think next year is still a rebuilding year. I would be ok if the Jays tried him there through spring training and gave him the job if it worked out.
Yeah, we could use a pitcher or two as well, and we’ll talk about that as the off-season continues. But let’s start with moves on the team’s hitting side. What would you have the Jays to do?