TORONTO – The Toronto Blue Jays parted ways with infielder Ryan Goins and replaced him with Aledmys Diaz, an all-star shortstop in 2016 acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals for outfield prospect J.B. Woodman.
Along with Goins, the club also sent right-hander Tom Koehler to the open market. Both players weren’t extended 2018 offers by the Blue Jays ahead of Friday’s 8 p.m. ET deadline for tendering contracts to arbitration-eligible players.
Josh Donaldson, Marcus Stroman, Roberto Osuna, Aaron Sanchez, Kevin Pillar, Aaron Loup, Devon Travis, Ezequiel Carrera and Dominic Leone were all tendered contracts and will either have to agree to terms or settle matters in a hearing room.
Parting ways with Koehler, projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn $6 million in arbitration, was no surprise. The split with Goins was somewhat eyebrow-raising, given that the Blue Jays have so much uncertainty up the middle with Troy Tulowitzki and Travis recovering from injuries.
The decision was explained soon after when the acquisition of Diaz was completed. The 27-year-old from Santa Clara, Cuba, posted an OPS of .879 in 460 plate appearances as a rookie in 2016. He was limited to 79 games last year by a thumb injury and his OPS dropped to .682, but he logged action at shortstop, third base (23 innings), left field (nine innings) and second base (four innings), where he is said to have looked very good.
During the GM meetings last month, Ross Atkins described adding a middle infielder capable of contributing offensively as the Blue Jays’ top priority this winter.