Blue Jays Offseason Depends on Nimmo

The Toronto Blue Jays’ pursuit of Nimmo will dictate the direction for the remainder of their resources will be used this offseason


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The baseball offseason is still very young, and it says that here Brandon Nimmo holds the keys to the Blue Jays offseason plans. By trading away Teoscar Hernandez the Blue Jays front office created a gaping hole in the Jays outfield. Whether you think that is Hernandez’s old right field position or feel George Springer is already penciled into that spot, thus opening up center field, there is no denying that the Jays only have two everyday outfielders right now in Springer and the torturously inconsistent Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

No one seriously believes Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins when he says the team still has five outfielders that they like. If this team opens the 2023 baseball season with Springer, Gurriel Jr., Whit Merrifield, Cavan Biggio and Nathan Lukes as the outfielders something has gone seriously wrong.

That is where Brandon Nimmo comes in. I will not go into detail on how his ability to play center field, bat left handed and get on base at an amazing rate is a perfect fit for this Blue Jays team because Jays From the Couch founder and senior editor Shaun Doyle already did a wonderful job on that in his recent article found here.

Rather I want to talk about how the Jays pursuit of Nimmo and his eventual decision controls the rest of the Blue Jays offseason. The Jays cannot make further significant moves until they know if he will take unfathomable amounts of American currency to patrol center field at Rogers Center for a couple of years, before he follows in Springer’s footsteps and moves to an outfield corner, and eventually designated hitter before the end of his contract.

There have been various media reports that the Jays are in serious pursuit of Nimmo and are being aggressive in their courtship. One report, if it can be believed, even stated that Nimmo’s free agency is now down to the Blue Jays and Mets (just like Springer two years ago and Gausman last year).

Until Nimmo makes his decision the Jays will be in a holding pattern in all their other potential upgrades. That is because the Blue Jays have two remaining needs, and two remaining resources. The first need is a center fielder, and the second need is a starting pitcher. The two resources they have are money and a surplus of starting catchers.

Regarding money, they likely have about $30,000,000 to spend this offseason if they want to stay under the luxury tax. Nimmo should cost somewhere in the $22,000,000 – $25,000,000 / year range over about 5 years. Their second resource is a surplus of starting catchers, with Danny Jansen, Alejandro Kirk and Gabriel Moreno for two roster spots. Due to his combination of affordability, team control and solid hitting, I am assuming that Kirk will be the catcher that is most likely to be traded.

The issue for the Blue Jays is that the only viable everyday center fielder for a playoff caliber team available in free agency is Nimmo. There is no one else even close. So the Jays must sign him so that they can use their other resource, their surplus of starting caliber catchers, to trade for a young, controllable starting pitcher.

If the Jays cannot land Nimmo in free agency, they will likely have to pivot and trade Alejandro Kirk (or top prospect Gabriel Moreno) for a center fielder. The Jays can then pursue any one of a number of ‘mid-level’ starting pitchers in free agency. Starters like Ross Stripling, Noah Syndergaard, Jameson Taillon and Taijuan Walker are just a few names that are available and could pitch in the 4-5 spots in the Jays rotation. They all are somewhere in the $12,000,000 -$20,000,000 / year range over various number of years.

If Nimmo brings his skills elsewhere, the potential non-exhaustive list of center fielders to trade for would consist of the Diamondbacks Daulton Varshawthe Pirates Bryan Reynolds or one of two Cardinals – Dylan Carlson or Lars Nootbar. In regards to value, Alejandro Kirk would be an ideal centerpiece in a trade for any of the above, however only St. Louis is known to be looking for a catcher among that group. If the Blue Jays are able to sign Nimmo then they use Kirk as a centerpiece in a trade for a controllable starting pitcher, a few possibilities are the Marlin’s Pablo Lopezthe Guardian’s Cal Quantrill or the Brewer’s Brandon Woodruff as recently written about here.

So to summarize, Blue Jays offseason Plan A seems to be to sign former Met center fielder Brandon Nimmo and use their catching surplus (likely Alejandro Kirk) to trade for a starting pitcher. Plan B would be to trade Kirk for a center fielder, and sign a mid-rotation starting pitcher. Once Nimmo signs with the Jays or elsewhere, we are sure to see the Jays make a corresponding move right away. Thankfully, the Jays seem to have the resources needed to address their most pressing needs without going over the luxury tax threshold or seriously depleting their minor league system.


Featured Images Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase

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