In the wild frenzy of free agent signings that preceded the current MLB lockout, the Toronto Blue Jays bolstered both ends of their pitching staff by signing Kevin Gausman for their rotation and Yimi Garcia to the bullpen. Less than 24 hours after the lockout began, it was reported that there would be more spending to come after the lockout. One week after that, another report revealed that the Blue Jays were “very much” in the Corey Seager sweepstakes, before the star shortstop signed with the Rangers for $325MM over 10 years.

The exact size and shape of the team’s offer to Seager isn’t known, but it stands to reason that it had an average annual value of at least $30MM, given that Seager eventually got himself an AAV of $32.5MM from the Rangers. If the Blue Jays were one of the last teams at the bargaining table, they must have at least been in that vicinity.

The possibility of the club having $30MM remaining in their pocketbook isn’t outlandish. Their opening day payroll for 2022 is currently just under $140MM, in the estimation of Jason Martinez of Roster Resource. Although that’s already higher than their $135MM opening day figure from this past season, they have been as high as $163MM in recent years. (Past figures from Cot’s Baseball Contracts.) Adding another $30MM to the ledger would get them around $170MM, which would be a franchise record, but just barely, a justifiable move for a team that’s squarely in a competitive window and wants to take another step forward to compete with the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays, after coming just a hair short of the postseason in 2021.

It’s possible that a signing of Seager would have been followed by the Jays subtracting payroll by sending another contract away in a trade, as there was a report of a deal that would have sent Randal Grichuk to the Brewers for Jackie Bradley Jr. But that trade likely would have been close to revenue-neutral, with Grichuk being owed $10.3MM in each of the next two seasons and Bradley getting $9.5MM in 2021 with a $12MM club option for 2023 that comes with an $8MM buyout. Regardless, any revenue-saving plans the Blue Jays had in mind to go along with a Seager deal could also be combined with whatever other moves they make instead.

With the club coming up just short on Seager, how else can they spend that money? Let’s examine some options, keeping in mind that their biggest needs are more pitching and an upgrade at either second or third base.

One Big Infield Splash

If the Jays were willing to consider a big investment on a player like Seager, it seems reasonable to assume that they would consider doing the same for other players with similar skills. On MLBTR’s list of Top 50 Free Agents, there were two players head-and-shoulders above the rest. One of them was Seager, the other was Carlos Correa. Both are 27-year-old star shortstops who were predicted to get contracts of ten years and over $300MM. Seager ended up beating his prediction slightly, with Correa remaining a free agent.