The Toronto Blue Jays quietly made a nice move on Tuesday, re-signing veteran outfielder Kevin Kiermaier to a one-year, $10.5 million pact, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today. This move could impact the SF Giants' pursuit of both Cody Bellinger and Matt Chapman.
How the Blue Jays' latest signing impacts the SF Giants offseason
Yes, the Giants have a lot of outfielders and probably should trade from that surplus. Even after signing Jung Hoo Lee to a six-year, $113 million contract, it was reported that the Giants along with the Blue Jays were believed to be in the mix for Bellinger.
This felt like an oblong fit for a lot of reasons, including the total glut of outfielders on the Giants' 40-man roster. That said, Bellinger would offer way more upside than just about any incumbent outfielder.
There has not been much connecting the Giants to the 2019 MVP lately, so it is possible and likely that they are focused elsewhere. Even if they re-enter that market, the Blue Jays are no longer a logical landing spot at this point. They have three everyday outfielders on the roster in Kiermaier, George Springer, and Daulton Varsho.
The Blue Jays could make it work by rotating Bellinger through the outfield, first base, and DH. That said, it feels more like a want than a need at this point. The Kiermaier move probably eliminates one suitor for Bellinger in a market that is oddly small. A return to the Chicago Cubs feels like a good bet at this point.
The other implication of the Kiermaier signing is that now Toronto will turn their attention to the infield. Two of the key contributors from the 2023 team in Matt Chapman and Whit Merrifield became free agents at the end of the season.
The Giants have been connected to Chapman a lot. There are several reasons, including geography, familiarity with the organization, and the team's need for high-impact talent. Perhaps, Chapman is not the type of star talent some fans want, but he would immediately become the Giants' best position player.
There is not necessarily a need for the Giants to add Chapman, but he would be an upgrade over incumbent third baseman J.D. Davis. If they are still in the market for Chapman, they are going to be competing with a Blue Jays team that reached the postseason after winning 89 games in a tough AL East division.
The Blue Jays have most of their roster returning with third base being the biggest void. The remaining position-player crop is thin outside of Chapman and Bellinger. There are not a lot of obvious alternatives, so the Blue Jays might feel motivated to retain Chapman sooner rather than later given that third base is their biggest void. One way or the other, the Kiermaier signing quietly has an impact on the rest of the Giants' offseason plans.