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Outfield trade targets the Blue Jays could consider after Hernandez exits

When the Toronto Blue Jays traded Teoscar Hernandez to Seattle, it was a sign of intent to reshape the outfield, which played offensively but caused fit problems for the rest of the team.

The trio of Hernández, George Springer and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. created a solid outfield that most teams would be happy with. Also, they were exclusively right-handed hitters and failed to produce strong defensive metrics, allowing Springer to record a career-high in center field innings in his 32-year-old season.

What the Blue Jays end up doing in 2023 is no guarantee it will be any better, but by opening a spot the team could create more effective defensive adjustments and limit or eliminate Springer’s center field rep. and you can probably get the chance to create more left/right… line-up balance.

One avenue for that to happen is through free agency, where the team is linked to both players demanding big deals like Brandon Nimo and regeneration projects like Cody Bellinger. The trade market is also brimming with potential, as both established stars and up-and-comers are likely to be available.

Here are the outfielders the Blue Jays could potentially acquire in trades this offseason.

big swing

Brian Reynolds

Year: 27

Bat: switch

Statistics for 2022: .262/.345/.461 line in 614 plate appearance with 27 HR and 7 SB (2.9 fWAR)

2023 salaries or MLBTR projected arbitration salaries: $6.75 million

Years of team management: 3

Why he fits: Reynolds is the best center fielder available on the trading market.

Over the last two seasons, his fWAR (9.0) ranks 24th among all position players, behind Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bryce Harper.

He’s the type of player who rarely looks like a star, but he often plays like a star because there are so few holes in his game. , throwing arms are all between average and elite.

Reynolds may never replicate the 6.1 fWAR 2021 season, but he’s patted at the heart of his prime, so we predict he’ll be a near-four-win player in the near future.

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Reynolds has two key questions. The first is his acquisition cost. FanGraphs rated him 34th in his ranking of trades his value last season.

Another issue is his defense. Despite solid sprint speed and arm strength numbers, Reynolds’ defensive metrics are all over the place: in 2022 his OAA is in his 6th percentile, and in 2021 he’s in the 98th percentile. was.

It’s easy to say the truth lies somewhere in between, but metrics tend not to like his work centered.

Even pessimistic about the 27-year-old’s defense, the overall package is impressive, but he’s probably not the player to turn Toronto’s outfield defense into a top unit for years to come.

short term fix

Ian Happ

Year: 28

Bat: switch

Statistics for 2022: .271/.342/.440 lines, 641 plate appearances, 17 HR and 9 SBs (3.5 fWAR)

2023 salaries or MLBTR projected arbitration salaries: $10.6 million

Years of team management: 1

Why he fits: Happ has been linked with the Blue Jays many times over the past few years and for good reason.

Of all the options on this list, Happ has the highest salary and the least team control, pushing his trade value somewhat into reasonable territory. I’m about to finish with fWAR, so I can’t get him for the peanuts.

The biggest concern about Happ’s potential Blue Jays target is that he’s clearly better left field than center field.


Happ’s trade would be a move to punt Toronto’s defensive question for another year while ensuring the team’s lineup remains elite.

While there’s nothing wrong with that plan in theory, part of the logic of moving from Hernandez seemed to be to create an outfield that would fit better than recent iterations – at least defensively. .

Bringing in haps creates yet another unbalanced outfield unit that maximizes offense at the expense of protection.

2017 Teoscar Hernandez

Jesus Sanchez

Year: twenty five

Bat: left

Statistics for 2022: .214/.280/.403 lines, 343 plate appearances, 13 HR and 1 SB (0.9 fWAR)

2023 salaries or MLBTR projected arbitration salaries: MLB lowest

Years of team management: Five

Why he fits: Prioritizing tools over achievements has led the Blue Jays to acquire outfielders like Derek Fisher and Socrates Brito in recent years, but it’s also why they acquired Hernandez in the first place.

In the last two seasons, Sanchez has not established himself as an everyday player in Miami, but his talent is undeniably attractive. The Dominican outfielder has enormous raw power as evidenced by his 96th percentile maximum exit speed, and big arms are headlining his defensive tool.

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The concern here is that he hasn’t made a breakthrough yet, and while his approach at bat may be near-wild, Steamer plans to keep him on the .245/.312/.440 line next season. — good for 113 wRC+.

There is also evidence to suggest that a shift ban could help him thrive, as an overloaded defense hampered his effectiveness last season and he was shifted nearly 50% of the time.

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Betting on Sanchez is risky, but his costs aren’t exorbitant, and choosing him allows teams to allocate more resources to other parts of their roster.

top prospect

Sal Frerick

Year: twenty two

Bat: left

Statistics for 2022: .331/.403/.480 line, 562 plate appearance, 11 HR and 24 SB in A+, AA, and AAA

2023 salaries or MLBTR projected arbitration salaries: MLB lowest

Years of team management: 6

Why he fits: For the most part, Frelick is not the type of player available on the trading market. No matter which prospect you look at his list, he’s the Milwaukee Brewers’ top four prospect, tending to second only to Jackson Chourio.

Still, the Brewers’ top five prospects are all outfielders, according to MLB Pipeline, and the team has promoted Garrett Mitchell to do great work in center field at the end of 2022.

The Brett Lowry and Devon Travis trades are two examples of the Blue Jays gaining prospects with a view to becoming an immediate starter, and that blueprint could work well with Frerich.

The 22-year-old has great contact and a great sense of the strike zone. He recorded 217 triples last year and just his 16 strikeouts in his A at-bats.

Given the potential long-term solution in premium positions, Frerich will need a decent return, but the Brewers have no notable prospects in the high minors and Victor Caratini has a below-average return. A seasoned starter.

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Outfield trade targets the Blue Jays could consider after Hernandez exits

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