The most pressing leverage point right now for the Toronto Blue Jays is, of course, the upcoming trade deadline and that’s rightly where the club’s focus currently lies. Still, it’s never too early to start thinking about the ideas for the off-season, and one avenue worth examination is what the Minnesota Twins cleverly did to bolster their lineup last winter.
In signing Nelson Cruz to a $14.3-million, one-year contract with a $12 million club option for 2020, they inserted a reliable, professional and productive bat into the three-hole, providing a stabilizing force for a core of young hitters. It’s not solely because of him that Max Kepler, Jorge Polanco, Eddie Rosario and Byron Buxton have taken steps forward, but his presence has certainly been a factor, an experienced resource delivering on and off the field.
One school of thought around the Blue Jays is that Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Danny Jansen and the soon-to-arrive Bo Bichette could similarly benefit from the addition of someone like Cruz.
At this point, the AL Central leaders appear sure to exercise the 39-year-old’s option, so he’s probably off the table. But an intriguing potential fit is old friend Edwin Encarnacion, who is currently tied for second in the American League with 25 homers and may end up a free agent as it’s no certainty that the New York Yankees pick up his $20-million option.
Imagine, a reunion between Encarnacion and the Blue Jays?