The World Series is over and it is time to shift focus on the offseason. This will be the first in a series of posts on free agents I think the Blue Jays should target. Toronto does not have a need at every position, so I will be focusing on where the Jays should add. Today I start with Lorenzo Cain of the Royals
Pros of signing Lorenzo Cain
Lorenzo Cain has the ability to steal bases and get on base. Far too often this season, the Jays were trying to hit the long ball. With Lorenzo Cain at the top of the lineup, the Blue Jays can use the hit and run or score multiple runs on a HR. I would use whoever is hottest between Pillar and Cain at the top of the lineup and put the other player in the 9th hole. This way there will be speed at the top and bottom of the lineup.
Cain is a great defender. He committed just 7 errors all of last season. He also has a strong arm. Lorenzo Cain has a strong chance to win his first gold glove this season. He committed the 3rd fewest errors in the AL (7), had the most putouts as a CF (430) and was 5th in the AL in outfield assists (5). I see him replacing Joey Bats in RF on most nights and when Kevin Pillar needs a rest, he can shift to CF.
Cain played 155 games last season and 2 seasons before that he appeared in 133 games. Given the Jays luck with injuries, it is important to target free agents with few injuries in the past. Injuries will happen and I'm not saying that Cain might not get injured if the Jays signed him but history suggests that is less likely.
Cons of signing Lorenzo Cain
Historically, Lorenzo Cain has a high strike out rate. In 2017, Cain struck out 100 times in 584 AB. For a player who would likely be batting leadoff if the Jays were to sign him, this is not a good thing. You want your lead-off hitter to get on base most of the time.
Price it will take to sign him
Last season, Lorenzo Cain made $11M. Given who else is on the market and the needs of other teams it is likely the Jays will have to offer him a minimum of $20M. Bautista signed for $18M last season and Joeybats wasn't exactly in high demand.
Is Cain worth the price when you already have Pillar in CF and potentially minor leaguers such as Toescar Hernandez who could make the roster with a strong spring training? To me, it's worth the risk. Provided Cain is willing to accept a position change, having him at the top of the order will provide more opportunities for bigger innings. Also, having two speedy outfielders with strong arms can really limit the extra bases the Jays give up and help pitchers get out of trouble faster.
What do you think? Please comment below
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