Following a prominent year bound for success, the Blue Jays open up a new script for the 2022 season. While Toronto capped a 91-71 season, that success was met with conflict from divisional opposition which put a lock on their postseason hopes.
Although fixed in a loaded AL East, many expected the Blue Jays at the top. However, with the 100-win Tampa Bay Rays claiming the division title followed by the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, Toronto was overwhelmed. Landing fourth in the AL East, the Blue Jays now seek to retaliate. Manager Charlie Montoyo is calling the shots for a team that has all the pieces for a World Series contention. With recent additions like Matt Chapman and Kevin Gausman, the Blue Jays have molded a championship-caliber squad.
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Matt Chapman, 3B, Acquired from Oakland Athletics
While struggling to maintain a healthy batting average, Chapman displays a superb glove. Chapman does provide a ton of power, evidenced by a commanding stroke at the dish. The veteran third baseman was dealt to the Blue Jays in a trade-off with the A’s in exchange for four prospects. Kevin Smith, Gunnar Hoglund, Zach Logue, and Kirby Snead are making their way to Oakland.
Kevin Gausman, RHP, Five Years/$110 Million
Following a 2021 parade that led to an All-Star nod, Gausman earned a major contract in free agency. Conserving a 2.81 earned run average along with 227 strikeouts, he has improved his proficiency year by year. The addition of Gausman has enhanced the Toronto rotation to another level. With the 31-year-old as the ace, accompanied by Hyun Jin Ryu and Jose Berrios, the Blue Jays have fulfilled their mission for an authentic and efficient rotation.
Yusei Kikuchi, LHP, Three Years/$36 Million
With just three years in the majors accounted for, Kikuchi has matured his game year by year. Sustaining a 4.41 ERA in 2021, he hopes to replicate that premiere. Kikuchi and Alek Manoah, will occupy the four and five slots of the blossoming rotation. While Kikuchi neglects to check all of the boxes as an ace, he conveys a resilient and profound approach to the game.
Robbie Ray, LHP, Seattle Mariners
After an historic season which primed a AL Cy Young run, Ray has signed a five year deal with the Mariners, earning a whopping $115 million. Ray was masterful in 2021; he grasped a 2.84 ERA paired with 248 strikeouts. Edging Yankees ace Gerrit Cole in the AL Cy Young race, Ray seeks to replicate his marvelous season. The Blue Jays neglected to reinstate the 30-year-old and he is now in Seattle.
Marcus Semien, 2B, Texas Rangers
After appearing in his first All-Star game, Semien has agreed with the Rangers on a mammoth seven-year $175 million dollar contract. Stocking a .265 average with 45 home runs, Semien has spun into a power source. Although he was searching for a multi-year deal, the Blue Jays should have done everything in their ability to re-establish the veteran second baseman in Toronto.
Steven Matz, LHP, St Louis Cardinals
Concluding a 14-7 record with the Blue Jays, Matz has agreed on a four-year $44 million deal. In 2021, Matz maintained a 3.82 ERA with the support of 144 strikeouts. The 30-year-old carries a four-pitch arsenal, consisting of a swift sinker followed by a changeup, curveball, and slider. Aside The Blue Jays missed out on a dependable arm for their refined rotation who now makes his return to the National League.
Toronto’s current lineup is loaded with power and depth. Crowned by Vladimir Guerrero and Bo Bichette, the Blue Jays have a bright future ahead of them. All the more so, the Blue Jays exhibit a upper-class middle of the lineup embodied by George Springer, Cavan Biggio, Teoscar Hernandez and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. With the addition of Chapman, the Blue Jays are equipped for success.
The Blue Jays’ farm system has an elite array of prospects. MLB’s seventh-ranked prospect, catcher Gabriel Moreno, is forecasted to make his debut in 2022. Just behind him are Orelvis Martinez, Jordan Groshans, and Otto Lopez. Several of these prospects aspire to fulfill their dreams of making the big leagues sooner than later.
Undoubtedly, Toronto is on track for a World Series contention over the course of the next few years on the strength of a loaded roster full of young and ambitious athletes. From the well-rounded lineup to the jam-packed rotation, the Blue Jays enter the upcoming season with a ton of swagger. However, the competitive AL East teams are all thirsty, and Toronto must bring their A game in order to compete.
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