The Toronto Blue Jays will enter 2018 without one of the greatest players in their team’s history, José Bautista. Bautista manned right field for the past several years, and provided a steady bat with tremendous power. The last few seasons have been down for Bautista, as his age began to catch up to him. The Jays will enter this offseason tasked with finding his replacement, and there are a few players who are seemingly available that could fit the billing.
Andrew McCutchen was once the star of the MLB, but he had seen his production dwindle in 2016. He seemed to turn it around in 2017, however, when he hit .279 and 28 home runs. The five-time All-Star recently had his team-option for the 2018 season picked up by the Pittsburgh Pirates, but this does not mean he will necessarily stay in Pittsburgh. The Jays could probably avoid trading one of their top prospects for his services, and instead send a bundle of a few middle-tier prospects.
Jay Bruce is now a free agent after spending the 2017 season with the New York Mets and Cleveland Indians. Bruce also had a down 2016 when he joined the Mets, but was phenomenal in 2017. Bruce hit .254 with 36 home runs last year, and is poised to sign a long-term deal this offseason. Bruce could easily replace the lost production of José Bautista in the lineup, and will continue to thrive in the American League, where he can DH every once in awhile to get some rest. The Jays will have to show the money if they want Bruce, but he provides a long-term fit in right field without giving up prospects.
Ryan Braun is another potential fit for the Blue Jays, as he could be a potent bat in the lineup that would cost little prospect-wise. Obviously Braun has a mega-contract, and it does not expire until 2021, when the Blue Jays could opt out of a mutual option prior to the season. The Milwaukee Brewers would probably not command much of a return in terms of prospects, so this could be a potential fit. The Jays will have to flash their wallets a little in this trade, however.
Overall these three players could easily fix the hole in right field. They are all proven veterans with great bats. They all provide power and decent enough gloves where they are not hurting the team on defense too badly. Hopefully the Jays can scoop one of these players up.