MLB Free Agents 2013: Alternate Options to Josh Hamilton in LF for the Blue Jays
About a week and a half ago, I wrote a piece detailing why current Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton must be the Toronto Blue Jays' top priority in this year's free-agent class.
With more cash on hand, and a need for a left-handed power bat, Hamilton would fit perfectly in the lineup between Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion.
That, of course, was just a suggestion.
That deal is far from a guarantee, and the Jays still need a left fielder for 2013.
So if the Hamilton signing falls through, who else is available for the Jays to sign this offseason?
Let's begin with a name that is sure to spark some debate.
Melky Cabrera may not be the most popular free agent this offseason, after he was suspended for 50 games this season for violating the league's drug policy.
Questions are sure to arise as to whether Melky's last two seasons of hitting over .300 were because of his ability, or because of performance-enhancing drugs.
No matter the answer, Cabrera is worth the risk.
Even if his batting average were to take a hit of 50 points from this year, he'd still be hitting almost .300.
His speed can also create problems on the basepaths, which is always an advantage.
Which of these three players would you like to see the Jays sign if they can't sign Josh Hamilton?
And though he doesn't possess all that much power, he is a left-handed hitter, which would be a good fit for the Blue Jays.
Another option could be the Dodgers' Shane Victorino.
While Victorino starts mainly in center field, he can also play in left.
Victorino would also be a great option for the Blue Jays at the top of their order, because he can hit, run and draw walks (over 50 walks in each of his last four seasons).
He will also hit the occasional home run, providing the Jays with a viable replacement for Kelly Johnson.
Many people may be thinking that the Dodgers are intent on re-signing him, but after their blockbuster deal with the Boston Red Sox this season, the team may not have enough money to sign a guy like Victorino.
This is the perfect opportunity for the Jays to pounce and sign a well-rounded, experienced player to fill a void in left field.
Yes, that's right, Juan Pierre.
Signing a guy like Pierre may not be the most popular move among Jays fans, but it would be an effective one.
Look at his career numbers.
Pierre has never had a batting average below .275.
Despite his age, he's stolen at least 30 bases in every full season, except for one.
He also walks at a decent clip, making him a great option for the top of the Jays order.
And he bats from the left side of the plate.
Sure, Pierre may be 35 in 2013, but there is no reason to believe he doesn't have at least two productive years left in him.
He's shown no signs of slowing down up to this point, and he should not be overlooked by the Jays this winter.
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