Jays get Eckstein for $4.5 million
Ken Rosenthal
FOXSports.com, Updated 1 hour ago

The Blue Jays have been mostly quiet this off-season, waiting for the right player to become available at a reasonable price.

That player finally has emerged free-agent shortstop David Eckstein.

The Jays have reached a preliminary agreement with Eckstein on a 1-year, $4.5 million contract, according to a major-league source.

Eckstein, a two-time World Series champion, likely will become the team's everyday shortstop, returning John McDonald to a backup role.

The Jays signed McDonald to a two-year, $3.8 million contract in September, but considered his deal affordable even if they used him as a reserve.

Eckstein, who turns 32 on Jan. 20, struggled to find the right fit in free agency, and the squeeze became tighter after the Cardinals declined to offer him arbitration.

The White Sox and Tigers acquired shortstops through trades early in the off-season. The Mets signed Luis Castillo to play second base after a brief flirtation with Eckstein. The Rockies, too, considered Eckstein at second, but the Jays offered a better opportunity.

Eckstein, a seven-year veteran, batted a career-high .309 for the Cardinals last season with three homers, 31 RBIs and 10 stolen bases.

His career on-base percentage is .351.

The Blue Jays have been looking for a shortstop all off-season, and they finally got one in Eckstein. I was hoping the Reds could trade Gonzalez in an attempt to land Burnett, but that option is now off the table.