Toronto Blue Jays: Three free agents to target this offseason

TORONTO, ONTARIO - SEPTEMBER 29: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 and Teoscar Hernandez #37 of the Toronto Blue Jays salute the crowd during the last game of the season, facing the Tampa Bay Rays during a break in the third inning during their MLB game at the Rogers Centre on September 29, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ONTARIO - SEPTEMBER 29: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 and Teoscar Hernandez #37 of the Toronto Blue Jays salute the crowd during the last game of the season, facing the Tampa Bay Rays during a break in the third inning during their MLB game at the Rogers Centre on September 29, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Scott Kane/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Kane/Getty Images) /

Dallas Keuchel

Free agency can be a harrowed time for players, with Dallas Keuchel having his own negative experiences this past season.

Keuchel would sit out roughly half of the season, finally signing with the Atlanta Braves on June 7. The left-handed pitcher had been offered a qualifying offer, and after rejecting the offer, he would sit on the sidelines all offseason and two full months into the regular season. Teams weren’t willing to sign Keuchel to the long term deal he wanted while also giving up the draft picks in compensation, so after the June Amateur draft (no longer tied to the draft picks), he finally signed with an MLB team.

In just 19 starts this season, Keuchel would generate a 2.0 WAR with a 3.75 ERA, 91 strikeouts and 39 walks. He would give up 47 earned runs with 16 coming via the long ball, while also getting opposing hitters to smack 60.1% of batted balls on the ground. His ground ball to fly ball ratio was also at 1.47, which is an excellent statistic that would feature well in a hitter-friendly ballpark like the Rogers Centre.

With the qualifying offer behind him, this offseason should be an easier one for the 6’3 left-hander.  He too would be a veteran in the relatively young Toronto Blue Jays clubhouse and should command a similar salary to Jake Odorizzi at roughly $17-20 million per season.

There is one thing going against the Blue Jays in signing Keuchel, in the form of his representation by agent Scott Boras.

Known for getting his clients the most money as possible through the free-agent market, Scott Boras has been very critical of rebuilding teams like the Blue Jays. Boras states that the Blue Jays suffer from the ‘Blue Flu‘, which is the main reason fans were not attending games and the reason behind the attendance continuously dropping since the playoff seasons in 2015 and 2016.

The Blue Jays will most likely win Dallas Keuchel over if they entice him with the most money per season, even if it means overpaying by $1-3 million dollars. Depending on how the market is for his services, this could make the Blue Jays out of contention if a team is willing to go towards the higher side of the aforementioned pay range, as $22+ million is most likely too much for his services.

Getting players up to play in Canada has always been a challenge for the Toronto Blue Jays front office, and this offseason will be no different.