“Blue Jays Pursuing New Targets in MLB Rumors, Yet Key Areas of Need Remain Unaddressed”

The Toronto Blue Jays have had an incredibly disappointing offseason following another early postseasonexit. It looked like Shohei Ohtani was on a plane to Toronto preparing to sign with the BlueJays before spurning them for the Dodgers. They were in on Juan Soto too but had to watch him lawith theirdivision rivals, the Yankees.

The Jays did re-sign Kevin Kiermaier who had an excellent season for them and also brought in Isiah Kiner-Falefa for some more infield depth, but after losing Jordan Hicks to the Giants and with key contributors like Brandon Belt and Whit Merrifield sitting in free agency, it can be argued that on paper, they look worse than the team that was swept in the Wild Card Round this past season.

The biggest need for Toronto this offseason was bolstering their offense. The Jays, a team usually among the league leaders in runs scored, were tied for 14th in runs scored and 16th in home runs. Decent, but not where they want to be.

Improving the DH spot has always made the most sense, especially after bringing Kiermaier back. While the latest rumors do link them to a pair of DH targets, they’re not the best options for Toronto.

The Blue Jays have sincere interest in free agents J.D. Martinez and Justin Turner, whom Bo Bichette mentioned in a recent @FAN590 interview.

Martinez (.880 OPS) and Turner (.766) both produced against RHP last year, which overrides the Jays’ slight preference to add LHH.

— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) January 29, 2024

Jon Morosi of MLB Network links the Jays to J.D. Martinez and Justin Turner, two of the better bats available. While both of these hitters would be strong upgrades to pursue, they’re both right-handed.

The Blue Jays have had issues for years being far-too right-handed. Players like Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and George Springer are all right-handed, while their best left-handed hitter is either Daulton Varsho or Kevin Kiermaier. While those two players are incredible in the field, they hit towards the bottom of the order for a reason.

Brandon Belt fit so seamlessly for the Jays this past season because he added more variety in the order by being a left-handed bat. He had an .890 OPS against right-handed pitching, a mark higher than both Martinez and Turner. The Blue Jays can and should consider bringing him back. Joc Pederson would’ve made a lot of sense for Toronto before signing with the Diamondbacks as a big left-handed power hitter. Finding a big left-handed bat in a trade shouldn’t be dismissed either.

This isn’t to say Martinez or Turner would be bad additions. They’d undoubtedly make the Blue Jays a better and more formidable team. However, they’re far from the perfect addition. Adding another left-handed bat to split the righties up should be among Ross Atkins’ top priorities to wrap up the offseason.

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