Report: Blue Jays updates on Brandon Moss, Pedro Alvarez

BY Fansided and Keegan Matheson/FanSided via Jays Journal • December 28, 2016

The Toronto Blue Jays have shown some interest in free agent Brandon Moss, according to a report from Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

Moss, a corner-outfielder and first-baseman, hit 28 home runs with 67 RBI for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2016. The 33-year-old comes with a Cleveland link, too, as they acquired him in the 2014-’15 off-season from Oakland before flipping him to St. Louis at the 2015 trade deadline.

Predictable power is Moss’ greatest attribute, averaging nearly 25 home runs per season over the past five years. More specific to the Blue Jays, he also offers a left-handed bat that their lineup is currently short on.

Those power numbers are often offset, however by a low batting average (.225 and .226 in the past two seasons) and high strikeout totals. Moss has averaged ~145 strikeouts per season over the past four, and while the Blue Jays could surely afford to add more power, empty at-bats won’t help the team’s overall offensive profile.

Defensively, Moss saw 40 starts at first in 2016 with 61 starts in the corner outfields. His defensive value at first is fine, and with DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) values of +3, -2, and +3 over the past three seasons in the outfield, he’s kept his head above water at the very least.

Moss has a very similar average and on-base percentage against both lefties and righties, but his power really shines against right-handed pitching. If that can play up in some variety of near-full time role with a slight platoon hint, there’s ample value in his bat. Then again, if the Blue Jays already plan on doing the same with Steve Pearce, Melvin Upton Jr., and/or Justin Smoak, that’s far too many moving parts for one lineup to handle.

Heyman also lists the Blue Jays as “possibly” being a fit for Pedro Alvarez, but there seems to be much less of a fit in that situation.

Alvarez came up with Pittsburgh as a third-baseman, transitioned primarily to first in 2015, then was used mostly as a designated hitter last season by the Orioles. Still just 29, Alvarez does have the potential to flirt with 30 home runs, but he’s also developed a tendency to rack up strikeouts at a troubling rate.

With just 1.3 WAR combined over the last three seasons and little positional fit, the former No. 2 overall pick — and Boras client — is likelier a simpler fit on another roster.

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