“The Blue Jays need to get more left-handed.”
That was one of the overriding criticisms of the 2016 Toronto Blue Jays; they were right-handed dominant. Aside from Michael Saunders, the Blue Jays rolled out a parade of righty hitters. At times, it made the Blue Jays very easy to pitch to and pick apart.
So along with versatility, one of the mandates for the 2017 Toronto Blue Jays was to bring more balance to the batting order. Plug more lefties into the order to make the lineup less one-dimensional.
The Blue Jays already completed part one of that project by signing switch-hitter Kendrys Morales a few weeks ago. But they still have plenty of work to do in order to even out the batting order, something the Jays are well aware of and are looking to remedy.
Over at the New York Post, Joel Sherman spoke about the Blue Jays’ pursuit to make their lineup even more left-handed:
The Blue Jays have signed Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce and plan to obtain another bat for lefty diversification, such as Mitch Moreland.
As it stands, the Blue Jays currently only have one everyday player who can bat left-handed: Kendrys Morales. If you include Justin Smoak, that makes two; but ideally, he should be relegated to the bench. Ezequiel Carrera is in the same boat – not an everyday player.
A “lefty bat” could mean anybody; that includes free agent options like Dexter Fowler and Mitch Moreland, it could mean the recently non-tendered Chris Carter or Ben Revere, or straight-up free agents like Michael Saunders, Justin Morneau and Luis Valbuena.
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That also includes potential trades for a left-handed hitter like Adam Eaton, Joey Votto, Charlie Blackmon, and others.
The problem is the bulk of the remaining left-handed hitters on the free agent market are first baseman (or players with plenty of experience at the position). After signing Steve Pearce, the Blue Jays now have three guys who could occupy the position (Steve Pearce, Kendrys Morales, Justin Smoak).
That’s what makes the pursuit of Mitch Moreland even less appealing to me; unless the Blue Jays find a way to jettison the Justin Smoak contract or find a trade partner for his services. But it would be redundant to have four first baseman on the Blue Jays roster, let alone three.
If the Blue Jays are going get another left-handed hitter, it’s going to be an outfielder. Fowler’s ability to hit from both sides of the plate makes him that much more valuable, and fielding a premium position like centre field will help Fowler land a big contract.
Again, Fowler just makes way too much sense for the Blue Jays and checks off so many of items on their wish list; he’s a switch hitter, he’s an outfielder, he gets on base at a decent clip, he has some speed and he doesn’t strike out a lot.