Blue Jays Agree to Terms with Kevin Kiermaier

Blue Jays Agree to Terms with Kevin Kiermaier
(Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)

The Toronto Blue Jays have agreed to a deal with center fielder Kevin Kiermaier. The news of this signing was first reported by MLB.com‘s Mark Feinsand and Juan Toribio on Saturday afternoon. The club has not confirmed the deal. Kiermaier became a free agent for the first time in his career this offseason. The Tampa Bay Rays declined his $13 million club option for 2023, paying him a $2.5 million buyout instead. This particular moved marked the end of Kevin Kiermaier’s stint with the Rays, where he had been a mainstay for the last ten years.

Kevin Kiermaier’s 2022 Season

The 32-year old outfielder appeared in only 63 games for the Rays in 2022. He was eventually sidelined in July after undergoing left hip labrum surgery. In those 63 games, Kiermaier batted .228 (47-for-206) with seven home runs and 22 RBI. He also stole six bases and had an .OBP of .281 to go along with .OPS of .650. The Rays selected him in the 31st round of the 2010 Draft out of Parkland (Illinois) College and brought him to the major leagues at the end of the 2013 season.

Over ten seasons with Tampa Bay, Kiermaier won three Gold Glove Awards and a Platinum Glove Award for his great defense in the outfield, also participating in four playoff runs. He batted .368 with two home runs in the Rays’ 2020 World Series loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Kiermaier ranks fifth in Rays history in games (914) and runs scored (410), sixth in hits (756) and doubles (140), third in stolen bases (112), and second in triples (51).

Recent Decline

As cliche as it may sound, a change of scenery will probably be good for Kevin Kiermaier. Rays fans saw somewhat of a decline from Kiermaier over the last five years. Since the 2018 season, he owns an overall line of .232/.296/.382 (88 OPS+) with 35 home runs. After signing with the Blue Jays, Kiermaier will join an outfield that includes George Springer, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Otto Lopez, Nathan Lukes, and Whit Merrifield.

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Players Mentioned:

Kevin Kiermaier, George Springer, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Otto Lopez, Nathan Lukes, Whit Merrifield

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