The Toronto Blue Jays have been in on everybody but have gotten nobody. And even the moves they're beginning to make at the fringes this offseason have New York Yankees fans sitting back and smirking.
As of right now, the Jays have had Matt Chapman, Whit Merrifield, Jordan Hicks, Brandon Belt, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Adam Cimber hit free agency. Their lone move since the 2023 season concluded was re-signing Kevin Kiermaier to a one-year contract.
And here comes their second! According to Robert Murray of FanSided, the Jays are signing former Yankee Isiah Kiner-Falefa to a two-year contract worth $15 million. He'll presumably replace Merrifield, the team's super utility option for the last two seasons.
It's an obvious downgrade based on the two players' body of work, and it appears they slightly overpaid too. Per Spotrac, IKF's market value was $6,489,623.
In IKF's defense, his tenure in New York was solely a result of unnecessary elevated expectations. He was acquired in the Josh Donaldson trade with the Minnesota Twins under the preposterous assumption he'd be able to take over full-time shortstop duties for the Yankees.
When that proved to be a failure, he was moved into a super utility role and began playing the outfield (where he's had no professional experience).
Blue Jays sign former Yankees utility man Isiah Kiner-Falefa
So the Blue Jays were supposed to get Shohei Ohtani. At one point, they were the favorites to land Juan Soto in a trade. They were in on Yoshinobu Yamamoto. They were inquiring about Jonathan India via trade. They've been eyeing JD Martinez, Justin Turner and Rhys Hoskins. They're now believed to be one of two teams that possess any interest in Cody Bellinger, whose contract demands will not budge.
Now, all they have to show for it is Kiermaier and IKF (while reportedly considering Amed Rosario in free agency and Jake Cronenworth on the trade market). With how thin both markets have been, one can already call this a disastrous offseason for the Blue Jays, who badly needed to make an impact move to help their fortunes in a crowded AL East.
While IKF is a nice bench piece and Kiermaier is a very good defensive center fielder, that's not going to tip the scales in the most competitive division in baseball. The Blue Jays have been among the preseason World Series favorites for a few years now, only to disappoint for three straight seasons.
You smell that? It's desperation. Here comes a $200 million offer for Bellinger to make it seem like Toronto saved its 2024 campaign.