Today, we saw two solid free agent outfielders go off of the board. Jon Jay inked a one-year, $8 million deal with the World Series Champion Cubs, and the Mets re-signed the top free agent on the market, Yoenis Cespedes to a four-year contract worth $110 million.
The Blue Jays, who expect to lose two outfielders to free agency in Michael Saunders and Jose Bautista, may have come out of today empty handed, but that doesn't mean it wasn't a good day in Canada. The Jays have been connected to two outfielders: Dexter Fowler and Jay Bruce, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.
In regards to Bruce, the Jays have been known to like him for a while, as they nearly struck a deal to acquire him from Cincinnati last spring. While injuries prevented a deal from getting done, the Jays never lost interest.
Now that Yoenis Cespedes is back in the fold, Bruce makes sense as a trade chip, as the Mets could be looking to clear some payroll. Bruce, coming with one remaining season of control, would be a relatively affordable piece, likely costing Toronto two decent, but not star-level prospects.
The alternative is Dexter Fowler, a free agent. While Fowler has the draft pick compensation tied to him, we don't know what will become of that with the new CBA negotiations.
Plus, the Cubs don't seem to be a suitor any longer as they replaced him with Jay. Fowler has drawn interest from St. Louis and the Angels as well as the Blue Jays.
Fowler's high on-base percentage in conjunction with his speed and defense make him a perfect lead off option in center for the Jays. He seems likely to command a deal of four years worth $64 million in this market. A contract that could be well-worth it, as players with high OBPs tend to age more gracefully.
Regardless, we've seen this Toronto front office replace stars with cheaper options before, (J.A. Happ for three years, $36 million to replace Price), and they will hope for the same luck again.null