The Toronto Blue Jays and New York Mets have checked in on free agent outfielder Lorenzo Cain, according to a report from ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. The Royals are monitoring the market for their long-time center fielder as well, though they’re preparing to move on to other alternatives.
“We’ll see where the market is and where it goes,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore said Tuesday. “It’s just hard to predict. It really is.”
The Royals extended a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer to Cain earlier this month. He is expected to turn down the offer before this week’s deadline and seek a multiyear deal. He will likely draw interest from a handful of clubs looking for an outfield upgrade.
Cain is coming off a season in which he batted .300 with a .363 on-base percentage and 86 runs scored, cementing his status as perhaps the top free agent outfielder on the market. He led all eligible free agents in wins above replacement across the last two seasons, according to both the FanGraphs and Baseball Reference versions of the stat.
In September, Cain indicated a willingness and desire to return to Kansas City, telling The Star: “I would love to come back here.”
He also recognized the realities of the free-agent market.
“Everyone has to do what’s best for themselves,” he said. “No one knows what’s going to happen.”