TORONTO RE-SIGNS KIERMAIER TO ONE-YEAR, $10.5 MILLION DEAL

2023-12-27 · 2 min read · MLB/Baseball
Kevin Kiermaier

Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images | TSN

It took a while, but the Toronto Blue Jays have finally made their first (Major League) move of the offseason.
On Boxing Day, as we were out shopping, Ross Atkins & co. had announced that they too were in the purchasing mood - Kevin Kiermaier returns to Toronto on another one-year deal, this time worth $10.5 million.
The 33-year-old signed with Toronto before last season, after ten straight years of patrolling the field for the division-rival Tampa Bay Rays. Kiermaier had a resurgence of sorts, slashing .265/.322/.419 over 129 games while playing Gold Glove defence. It was his most productive season since 2019, and now he receives a pay raise from his first season with the squad.
Alongside Daulton Varsho and George Springer, Kevin Kiermaier quickly became one of the three prominent starting Outfielders for the Blue Jays as Utilitymen Whit Merrifield and Cavan Biggio rotated throughout the OF on various occasions as well. Nathan Lukes, Jordan Luplow, Cam Eden, and Davis Schneider also saw action in the Outfield.
For a while, it appeared that Kiermaier’s time in Toronto was done. Rumours had circulated about the speedy Outfielder potentially joining the New York Yankees as a left-handed bat, though after the acquisitions of Juan Soto, Trent Grisham, and Alex Verdugo that became much less likely. While Toronto remained interested in Kiermaier, there was no elongated push - at least in the media - regarding his new deal prior to news breaking on Tuesday.
Cody Bellinger, who the Blue Jays have been linked to repeatedly this offseason, apparently remains a possibility - though unlikely. With Springer, Varsho, and now Kiermaier all returning, Bellinger would have to slide into a near-everyday DH role with the club, an idea that’s not overly realistic given the management style of sporadic rest for veterans. Concerns also exist with the inconsistency of someone like Bellinger, who - per reports - is looking for a $200+ million contract. Barring a trade of one of Daulton Varsho or George Springer, it will be surprising if Toronto maintains their interest in Bellinger.
In other Toronto news, the organization is seemingly still in contact with Free Agent 3B Matt Chapman, though the San Francisco Giants have recently been noted as a potential landing spot for the four-time Gold Glover. Though one of the best 3B in the sport, Chapman had a down year offensively with much of his hitting coming in the first half of the year. From July 1st onward, Chapman hit just .209 with 18 RBI across 60 games. This in comparison to his April to June numbers, in which he hit .262.
After missing out on Soto and Ohtani, the Blue Jays are certainly behind the eight ball with regards to improving their team - look for January to be a busier month for Ross Atkins.
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By: Gus Cousins

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