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Toronto Blue Jays

Heyman | Blue Jays could emerge as dark horse for JD Martinez

Jon Heyman

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Jul 27, 2017; St. Louis, MO, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder J.D. Martinez (28) looks on from the on deck circle during the eighth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Blue Jays could emerge as a dark horse candidate for star free agent outfielder J.D. Martinez.

To this point, Martinez has been mostly connected to the Red Sox, the incumbent Diamondbacks, and at least a couple teams that are looking at superstar trade option Giancarlo Stanton first — the Giants and Cardinals.

And the Blue Jays have been linked to free agent outfielder Jay Bruce, a player they like and nearly traded for before.

But while the Blue Jays may not consider themselves a favorite for Martinez, he fits their need for a corner outfielder and they have at least considered him. They may be a bit leery of where the price might go after his monster season — his .690 slugging percentage would have been the highest since Barry Bonds with a few more plate appearances to qualify — and they’ve lost out to some big free agents in recent years (Dexter Fowler is an example), but he is at least on their radar.

Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins declined comment.

Bruce would be a good fit for them, as well, but he won’t come cheap, either. A report by Jerry Crasnick of ESPN suggested his asking price was $80 million or more, still quite a bit less than the $200 million suggested in the report for Martinez.

The Blue jays have an obvious need in the outfield, and are not expected to bring back long-time star Jose Bautista, who struggled last year (they weren’t expected to bring him back last year, either). They also haven’t really replaced the offense lost when Edwin Encarnacion departed for the Indians, who paid him $60 million over three years after Toronto had made an offer for one more year at the same annual salary.

Martinez also may not mind Toronto as a destination. He played most of his career in Detroit before his trade to Arizona, where he thrived even more.

The Diamondbacks have been painted as a long shot in the derby, but they love him after a brilliant second half in which he posted an otherworldly .741 slugging percentage. Overall, he hit 45 home runs (in only 119 games) with 104 RBI.

Jon Heyman is an MLB Insider for FanRag Sports, featuring breaking news, information and his Inside Baseball column, which appears on FanRagSports.com every Thursday. Heyman also has been an insider at MLB Network since the channel launched in 2009 and is a regular contributor to WFAN in New York, where he appears weekly on the Joe and Evan Show and previously appeared on the Mike and the Mad Dog Show. He also appears on WSCR in Chicago, WBZ-FM in Boston and the Petros and Money Show on Fox in Los Angeles. Heyman comes to FanRag Sports from CBSSports.com, where he worked for five years and wrote the popular Inside Baseball notes column. Before going to CBS, Heyman worked for five years at Sports Illustrated and SI.com, where he was a senior writer and started an Inside Baseball Column. Heyman worked for 16 years at Newsday in New York, where he was the Yankees beat writer, a baseball columnist and finally a general sports columnist. Heyman started his career at the Moline (Ill.) Daily Dispatch, then moved to the Los Angeles Copley Newspapers (Torrance Daily Breeze and Santa Monica Outlook) before going to Newsday. Heyman at one time also served as a national baseball writer for The Sporting News. Heyman is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. The Santa Fe, N.M. native grew up in Cedarhurst, N.Y., on Long Island.

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