Toronto Blue Jays

Heyman: Blue Jays keeping eye on outfield market

August 23, 2016: Toronto Blue Jays Left field Michael Saunders (21) [7093] watches his home run ball during the game between the Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Angels at Rogers Centre in Toronto, ON. (Photo Gerry Angus/Icon Sportswire)
(Photo Gerry Angus/Icon Sportswire)

The Toronto Blue Jays are exploring their options on the outfield market. Their top choice remains center fielder Dexter Fowler, but the two sides are still a decent ways apart on any kind of agreement. Toronto made an offer to Fowler, believed to be in the four-year, $60 million range, but Fowler’s camp is said to be looking for a deal closer to $18 million annually.

The St. Louis Cardinals, among others, remain a possibility for Fowler. Toronto certainly is not out, but with such a gap between the two, will also devote its attention elsewhere.

Toronto prefers a left-handed-hitting outfielder this winter. With that in mind, some options on the market could include Colby Rasmus, switch-hitting Angel Pagan, and their own free agent, Michael Saunders. Saunders was previously not given a qualifying offer by Toronto, but a reunion at a lower average annual value could potentially be in play.

Fowler, of course, would still be the cream of that crop. The soon-to-be-31-year-old is coming off a career year for the World Series champion Cubs, hitting .276/.393/.447, good for an .840 OPS, the second-best mark of his career and far-and-away his best in a season away from Colorado’s Coors Field. Fowler hit 13 home runs (plus one to lead off Game 7 of the World Series) while driving in 48 runs and scoring another 84 atop the Cubs lineup.

With Chicago still employing a glut of outfielders, including newly-acquired Jon Jay, a reunion between the two sides remains unlikely.

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