With the threat of a lockout looking more inevitable with each passing hour, the Toronto Blue Jays have had a busy week as they try to build up their team before the work stoppage.
Toronto bolstered its bullpen by signing Yimi Garcia over the weekend, then made a huge splash by landing Kevin Gausman on a five-year, $110 million deal.
With the pitching staff patched up — at least for now — the focus seems to have shifted to improving a lineup that watched infielder Marcus Semien head to Texas on a massive seven-year contract. It sounds like the Blue Jays are attempting to add some playoff pedigree to their roster, with the versatile Chris Taylor looking like their top priority, according to MLB Network's Jon Morosi.
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The 31-year-old is coming off an all-star season for the Los Angeles Dodgers in which he hit .254 with a .782 OPS. The Blue Jays love players who can play multiple positions, and Taylor is the epitome of the Swiss Army Knife. He has suited up at all three outfield positions over his career, and can also play at third, second or shortstop.
One possible wrinkle in a deal would be that Taylor declined a qualifying offer from the Dodgers earlier this offseason, meaning the Blue Jays would have to surrender draft-pick compensation in order to sign him. That might not be a major factor, however, as Toronto has gained two picks from Semien and Robbie Ray's departures.
Morosi also notes that another World Series champion is an option for Ross Atkins and Co. Former MVP Kris Bryant enjoyed a return to his all-star form in 2021 with the Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants, and is capable of slotting in all over the outfield, or at either infield corner. He slashed .265/.353/.481 with 25 homers last season.
Unlike with Taylor, Bryant does not have a qualifying offer attached to his free agency since he was traded midseason. The market figures to be competitive for the 29-year-old, with at least the Seattle Mariners and Philadelphia Phillies rumoured to be interested.
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