The Blue Jays have some level of interest in Rhys Hoskins and Justin Turner as they evaluate their options at designated hitter, reports Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet. That’s part of a wide net being cast by the front office, as Nicholson-Smith reiterates previously reported ties to J.D. Martinez, Joc Pederson and Joey Votto as well.
Toronto has a vacancy at DH with Brandon Belt returning to the open market. Bringing in a left-handed bat to complement a lineup led by Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., George Springer and Danny Jansen would be ideal, but the interest in Martinez suggests they’re not limiting themselves solely to lefty hitters. GM Ross Atkins has alluded to the potential for multiple lineup additions, after all. The Jays could add a right-handed DH while bringing in a lefty bat in the outfield.
Hoskins lost the 2023 season after tearing the ACL in his left knee during Spring Training. He’d likely have made it back as a DH or pinch-hitting option had the Phillies made the World Series. While that didn’t happen, the 30-year-old (31 in March) projects as one of the better offensive players on the market. Hoskins has been a consistent middle-of-the-order presence throughout his career, compiling a .242/.353/.492 line. He has hit between 27 and 34 home runs in each of the four full seasons he’s played while running better than average walk rates on an annual basis.
Turner has been a consistently strong lineup presence as well. He hasn’t had a below-average offensive season since his 2014 breakout with the Dodgers. At age 39, he’s no longer suited for 140+ starts at third base. Yet Turner could serve as a primary DH while rotating in at the hot corner, where the Jays have a question with Matt Chapman still in free agency. Turner is still more than capable of handling a primary DH role. He’s coming off an impressive .276/.345/.455, 23-homer showing for the Red Sox.
It doesn’t seem either player is a priority target for the Toronto front office. Nicholson-Smith suggests the Jays could wait out the market for another few weeks to determine whether anyone in a broad group of hitters of interest presents strong value later in the offseason.
Hoskins has also drawn reported interest from the Cubs, Mariners and Nationals. Turner has been on the radar of the incumbent Red Sox, Mets and Diamondbacks. MLBTR predicted Hoskins to land a two-year, $36MM guarantee that allows him to opt out after next season, although a…