1) Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Last Year: .273/14/65
Let’s be real about Arencibia. The guy is a poor-to-average fielding catcher and is an average hitter. He had nearly 150 strikeouts this year and led the American League in errors by a catcher. Salty is a switch hitter with decent power from both sides of the plate. He had his best season in 2013 and is only 28 years old. His one weakness is picking off base runners and throwing on target, but it’s a positive over negative situation for a powerful switch hitter that knows the AL East.
2) Ubaldo Jimenez
Last Year: 13-9. 3.30 ERA
We all know the Jays need middle rotation help, especially considering that Josh Johnson has been let go. Jimenez had a good year in Cleveland, with his highest K/9 ratio of his career and was extremely solid down the stretch when the Indians made that brilliant run, as Jimenez won four of his six starts in September while the other two ended in well pitched no decisions.
3) Omar Infante
Position: Second Base
Last Year: .318/10/51
If middle rotation pitching is a concern, then so is second base. Ryan Goins was decent after the call up and Maicer Izturis can also play second if necessary, but the Jays lack an everyday man. Infante is proven and has been an integral part of so many of these great Tigers teams over the past few years. Only 32, he’s still fantastic defensively and has a decent bat to boot. The Tigers felt as though it was time to bring Hernan Perez through, leaving Infante out of work. He would sure up the infield defensively, and could be good near the top of the order, considering he only struck out 44 times last year.
4) Nate McLouth
Last Year: .258/12/36
With Rajai Davis on the move, McLouth is a somewhat replacement, except with a better bat, and less speed, albeit marginally. McLouth stole 30 bags last year, and was good at the top of the rotation. He can’t really hit lefties, which is a bit of a struggle, but he showed his capabilities last year and would be good cover in an injury prone outfield where the only real legitimate cover is Anthony Gose and Moises Sierra.
5) Masahiro Tanaka
Last Year: 24-0. 1.27 ERA
He went 24-0. And had a 1.27 ERA. And a WHIP under one.
But seriously. I’ve never seen this guy pitch with the exception of YouTube but the last few pitchers to come over from Japan (see Darvish and Ryu) have brought the goods. It will cost a lot just to negotiate and then probably even more to sign him, but he’s 25 years old and is said to be able to walk into any rotation and be a number two guy. The last time the Jays were in for one of these guys, it was Yu Darvish, who is now pretty much the most complete pitcher baseball has to offer. So I guess, why not?