For the first time in a long time, the Blue Jays are relevant in the offseason. Sure, last year they were headliners by trading Roy Halladay, but this time they are actually active in pursuing players, not dropping them.
The Blue Jays have been mentioned in the same breath as many of baseball’s top players, including Dan Uggla, Justin Upton, Zack Greinke, Manny Ramirez, and Adrian Beltre. They have already added a prolific stolen base threat (to the dismay of many on Twitter). And it is only November!
But with all the talk about superstars and big names, I thought I’d take a look at some lesser name free agents to see if any of them would fit nicely in Toronto.
After a brief run through the list, one name stood out: Randy Choate.
I know he is a ‘Type B’ free agent, something that likely goes against AA’s strategy of accumulating draft picks.
I know he is 35 years old, something that likely goes against AA’s strategy of going young.
But just hear me out for a second. Look at the benefits of adding him:
1. Randy Choate is a lefty. After losing Brian Tallet, and likely losing Scott Downs, the Jays only have one left handed reliever who pitched 30 innings last year – David Purcey. Jessie Carlson and Rommie Lewis are also options, but neither impressed.
2. Randy Choate desttroys left handed hitters. In 2010 he held lefties to a .202 average and .529 OPS. In his career, he has held them to a .217 average and .598 OPS. For reference, Rommie Lewis (.233 avg, .903 OPS vs. lefties) was much worse. Jesse Carlson had better numbers, but only faced left handed hitters 21 times.
3. Randy Choate owned the Blue Jays. Toronto hit .192 against him. I think Adam Lind (0-for-8, 1 BB, 7 K, .111 OPS) still has nightmares about him. If he didn’t come in to face Toronto lefties, that would be a huge bonus (at least mentally).
I know you can point to other stats that show he wouldn’t be a good signing. He was massacred by the Yankees and Red Sox last year, and the Jays play the Yankees and Red Sox 38 times. New York hit .750 with a 1.840 OPS against him.
But Choate allowed only six extra base hits to lefties in 2010 (5 2B, 1 HR) in 138 batters, and struck out 36.
If utilized correctly – as a LOOGY (Lefty One Out Guy) – he could be an asset to the pen.
At least in my mind he can be. And in this space, that’s all that counts.