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Free-agent center fielder Kevin Kiermaier is nearing an agreement that will see him return to the Toronto Blue Jays, according to Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet. The agreement is believed to be for one year and around $10.5 million. 

Kiermaier, 33, spent the first 11 years of his MLB career with the Rays before signing with the Blue Jays last winter. He hit .265/.322/.419 (104 OPS+) with 21 doubles, six triples, eight home runs, 36 RBI, 58 runs and 14 stolen bases in 129 games. Thanks in part to his excellent defense in center field, he posted a 3.9 WAR, the highest he's had since 2017. He also won his fourth Gold Glove, which was his first since 2019. In fact, while we're here, we should point out his batting average and OPS+ were the highest they've been since 2017. 

CBS Sports ranked him as the 11th-best free agent on the market, writing the following:

Kiermaier is a freaky-deaky athlete who plays center field with appreciable elan. The main drawbacks to his game have remained the same: he's certain to miss games (especially as he ages further into his mid-30s), and he's not certain to be an asset offensively. That said, Kiermaier did just put forth his best offensive effort in more than a handful of years. We'll note that the gains he made with both his strikeout and walk rates are not supported by underlying metrics, calling into question whether or not they'll prove sustainable heading forward. He should still do better for himself this winter than last.

Moving forward, Kiermaier is likely to continue to be a big plus on defense while also showing well on the bases. It's even possible he can sustain the gains he made on offense in 2023 to be a productive lower-order hitter. The big issue with Kiermaier's game is his injury history. He played in 151 games in 2015, but his next highest total in a season is 129 (2019 and last year). He had a hip surgery that cut 2022 short at 63 games and he played fewer than 100 games in 2017 and 2018. 

The Blue Jays were expected to add at least one left-handed batter this winter after missing out on their pursuit of Shohei Ohtani. Toronto still stands to lose third baseman Matt Chapman and DH Brandon Belt to free agency, suggesting they could remain in the market for another hitter before spring rolls around.

For now, Kiermaier will slot back into an outfield picture that also includes George Springer and Daulton Varsho.