Now that most of the big fish in MLB free agency have found homes, and the number of days until pitchers and catchers report has reached less than three weeks, the time has come for baseball teams to fill in their rosters with fringe players.
The Toronto Blue Jays are fresh off signing a handful of minor league spring training invitees, including veteran infielders Joe Panik, Rubén Tejada, and catcher Caleb Joseph. The team is now reportedly eyeing another hitter with versatile defensive potential who is a familiar name around the American League East.
Hearing Blue Jays have shown interest in Brock Holt, who is still a free agent. @nightengalejr said Reds were involved as well.— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) January 22, 2020
Unlikely there's still a spot in Boston for Holt with Peraza in the fold.
According to Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com, the Blue Jays have shown interest in former Boston Red Sox utility player Brock Holt.
The 31-year-old spent eight seasons with the Red Sox, compiling a .271/.340/.374 line over 639 games. He’s never shown much power — his career-high in home runs is seven — nor has he ever truly been an everyday player, but he has proven time and time again that he can fill in basically anywhere around the diamond. He can also contribute enough at the plate thanks to an above-average walk rate which keeps his head above water and causes managers to continue pencilling his name onto lineup cards.
Holt played seven different positions for the Red Sox (everything except pitcher and catcher), spending the majority of his appearances at second base, third base, and left field. Last season, statcast rated him as four outs above average at second and his .297/.369/.402 line was good for a barely above league average 101 OPS+ and 1.0 WAR per Baseball Reference. He made the All-Star Game in 2015, which doesn’t mean a lot, but could probably win you a trivia contest one day if you remember it.
The Blue Jays infield picture may be a little crowded, with returning young players Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and Cavan Biggio all assuming the lion’s share of the playing time and newcomer Travis Shaw expected to handle the majority of the first base duties. Beyond that, there is space for a bench player, especially one with as much defensive flexibility as Holt. Brandon Drury, Santiago Espinal, and Breyvic Valera, as well as the aforementioned Panik and Tejada, could all be in the battle for the position. But Holt would conceivably assume the inside track thanks to his most recent success at the plate and suitability to potentially play a long list of positions.
A pessimistic view would see that the addition of Holt would do very little to sway the range of outcomes for the Blue Jays’ 2020 season in either direction. Optimistically, his defensive versatility and offensive profile call to mind the very similar situation that saw the Blue Jays add Eric Sogard last offseason, where the opportunity the team presented allowed them to flip him at the trade deadline for another small helping of prospects.
Currently a free agent, Holt made $3.5 million with the Red Sox in 2019.
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