An abundance of injuries left vacancies all over the Jays' outfield in 2017. Ezequiel Carrera was a main beneficiary, playing in a career-high 110 games. Although his .248 batting average dipped from previous years, the volume of playing time allowed the 29-year-old to post career highs in many categories. Carrera's 0.39 BB/K ratio was the best since his rookie season, and his .108 ISO power, although weak for an outfielder, was the second-highest mark of his six-year career. On the other hand, Carrera's lack of speed was a disappointment. Despite reaching base at a personal-best .323 clip, he managed just seven steals in 11 attempts. The team's outfield lacks depth, but Carrera didn't demonstrate or contribute enough to warrant a starting gig in 2017.
Carrera agreed to a one-year, $1,162,500 contract with the Blue Jays on Thursday, avoiding arbitration, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports. The 29-year-old outfielder is expected to fill a platoon role in 2017 with Melvin Upton Jr. also in the fold after being acquired for the playoff push in last year. Carrera slashed just .248/.323/.356 over a career-high 310 plate appearances last year, so with less regular at-bats in store in 2017, his value may be on the decline.
Carrera figures to be used as a platoon partner for Melvin Upton Jr. in 2017, Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com reports. The Jays need to add outfield depth before the offseason ends, which makes Carrera's roster spot far from guaranteed just yet. He's out of minor league options, which means the 29-year-old would be designated for assignment if he's not on the 25-man roster (or DL) for the duration of 2017. Carrera played in a career-high 110 games last season, but managed just a .248 batting average while posting a weak 22.6 percent strikeout rate.
Carrera went 2-for-5 and scored twice in Sunday's series-clinching victory over the Rangers. After seeing his playing time cut in the second half of 2016, Carrera is back in the thick of things during the most important time of the season. Through four playoff games, the 29-year-old is 6-for-16 (.444) with two walks, two RBI, four runs and a stolen base. He's started every game so far during the postseason, and has hit leadoff in the last two contests. Barring a setback, Carrera appears locked in as a starting outfielder the rest of the way.
Carrera went 1-for-4 with the game-tying RBI in Sunday's walk-off win over the Yankees. Carrera brought home the tying run in the ninth inning with a bunt up the first-base line, a safety squeeze that resulted in his only hit of the day. Over his past three starts, Carrera is 5-for-11 with a pair of RBI and runs. However, the 29-year-old is just 7-for-58 (.121) since returning from the DL on Aug. 16.
Carrera hit a pinch-hit solo homer in the eighth inning of Monday's game, leading the Jays to a 3-2 victory over the Rays. Carrera's second career pinch-hit home run couldn't have come at a better time for the Blue Jays. The backup outfielder has primarily been used as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement in the second half of the season, but his first home run since July 5 was the difference. According to Statcast, Carrera's career-high fifth home run of the season traveled 340 feet and left the bat at 97 mph. It was Toronto's first pinch-hit homer since Carrera had one in July of 2015 against the Mariners.