The Blue Jays have made their first Major League signing of the 2022-2023 offseason, as Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi is reporting that Toronto is in agreement with Kevin Kiermaier with a pending physical. The contract details are not available at the time of this writing.
Kiermaier missed a large portion of last season after undergoing hip surgery, and he hit free agency after the Tampa Bay Rays did not pick up his $13 million club option. Limited to just 63 games in 2022, Kiermaier authored a .228/.281/.369 slash line with 15 extra-base hits and a .649 OPS to the tune of a 90 wRC+.
With a career .248 average after ten seasons with the Rays, Kiermaier is a defense-first outfielder, owning a 134 bDRS in center field with three Gold Glove Awards and a Platinum Glove Award back in 2015. Kiermaier also holds 71 Outs Above Average dating back to 2016 and sits above the 90th percentile in sprint speed (93rd) and arm strength (94th), with 52 outfield assists throughout his career.
With Ramiel Tapia, Bradley Zimmer, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Teoscar Hernández no longer on the roster, the Blue Jays lost most of their outfield depth from last season, with Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and George Springer the remaining outfield options. Cavan Biggio and Whit Merrifield can also take reps in the outfield but neither has as much experience compared to Kiermaier or other free-agent options available.
At the Rogers Centre, the Indiana product has amassed a .287/.343/.490 slash line with 20 extra-base hits and a .833 OPS through 157 at-bats.
Blue Jays are reportedly adding veteran outfielder Kevin Kiermaier
For Kiermaier, he will be looking for a bounce-back campaign after missing most of last year due to injury while the Jays add a left-handed bat to the roster, which will help provide balance to the already employed right-handed heavy lineup.
In adding Kiermaier, the Blue Jays are supplementing the departure of Tapia, Zimmer, and Bradley Jr. and will likely still be in the mix for remaining outfield options like Andrew Benintendi or Michael Conforto.