MLB Offseason Preview: Toronto Blue Jaysby John Lepore November 29, 2021 0 comments
The Toronto Blue Jays made it to the ALCS in 2015 and 2016. They went through a short rebuild over the next three years and made it back to the postseason in 2020. Last year they missed out on the playoffs by one game. The Blue Jays made an important move signing trade-deadline acquisition Jose Berrios to a seven-year, $131 million deal. The 27-year-old now is set in a rotation that includes Hyun Jin Ryu and young phenom Alek Manoah.
Make sure to check out all of our other MLB Offseason Previews.
The top of the rotation may be set for another couple of years, but the need for another starter is there. Ross Stripling made 19 starts last year but is better as a swingman. Steven Matz signed with the St. Louis Cardinals and Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray just inked a five-year, $115 million deal with the Seattle Mariners. As far as the offense goes, there is a hole left by Marcus Semien and his 45 home runs and .873 OPS as he is off to the Texas Rangers for seven years and $175 million.
Keys to the Offseason
Get Another Reliable Starter
The signing of Berrios was a good one as the right-hander has been able to take the ball every fifth day throughout his career. Ryu made 31 starts last season albeit an average one overall. However, he will be 35 years old by opening day and has had a history of nagging injuries.
The Blue Jays are losing 61 starts from Ray and Matz alone and Manoah, who pitched well, has to prove he can handle a full workload at the major league level. Toronto is in a position to win not only now but over the next few years, which can be a strong selling point for the Blue Jays. Even with the signing of Kevin Gausman, Toronto should still seek an innings-eater who can slot in as the fourth or fifth starter.
Bring in a Swiss Army Knife
With the departure of Semien, Cavan Biggio will need to step up. After a promising start to his career, Biggio battled injuries and inconsistency last season. Can he rebound in 2022? Santiago Espinal played very well in his time at third base, but is he the answer? The Jays need to get someone who can jump in at second, third, or even the outfield if needed so the team doesn’t miss a beat.
Chris Taylor, 31, Utility
Taylor is obviously looking for a long-term deal after turning down the qualifying offer from the Los Angeles Dodgers. He hit 20 home runs and had a career-high 73 RBIs while playing six different positions. Since 2017, Taylor has a .344 wOBA and 116 wRC+ while putting up 3.5 fWAR/150. While defensively his best positions have been second base and left field over his career, he is at least adequate anywhere he plays on the diamond.
Yusei Kikuchi, 30, Starting Pitcher
The Seattle Mariners declined their club option on the left-hander so Kikuchi hits free agency. He has improved considerably since coming over from Japan in 2019. This season he had career-bests in ERA (4.41) and strikeouts (163). While he isn’t the ace that Ray is, he is a cheaper option and could be a bargain if he keeps improving.
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