The Toronto Blue Jays finished the season 4th in the A.L. East with a 91-71 record, and yes, that sounds insane, but that information is true. This season, the East was such a powerhouse housing the Rays, Yankees, and Red Sox, who were all playoff squads—leaving the Blue Jays in the dust at one game behind.
The craziest thing about this Blue Jays team is just how special it was. This season they had the Hank Aaron award winner Vladimir Guerrero Jr. On top of that, they had three silver sluggers in Marcus Semien, Teoscar Hernandez and Guerrero Jr.
And potentially the A.L. CY Young in Robbie Ray. Unfortunately, duplicating last season seems like mission impossible at this point.
Bring Back Players
The Blue Jays have a lot of needs this off-season but none bigger than getting Ray and Semien back on this roster, and if not both, at the least one. Semien had a 7.3 WAR this season and, on top of that, put up some of the best power numbers a second baseman has ever put up.
As for the CY-Young award nominee, Robbie Ray had the best season of his career, posting a 6.7 WAR and a 2.84 ERA. And it goes without saying these are two guys the Blue Jays would obviously like to retain and should be a top priority.
Now around the Diamond, some positions could use an upgrade. Third Base has been a weak spot for this team ever since management decided Guerrero Jr was better suited to play first. Role player Santiago Espinal heavily carried last season’s third bag, and although he had a good season, a daily option with a bit more experience would really benefit this team.
With or Without Ray
When looking at the rotation, it is a need but not the biggest on the team. Last season’s emergence of Alek Manoah really changed the trajectory of this starting staff. Even without Ray coming back, the top of the Jays rotation would still look solid with Hyun-jin-Ryu, Alek Manoah and Jose Berrios.
With Ray potentially gone, along with Matz, that leaves two spots open in the rotation. Highly touted prospect Nate Pearson should be ready to take that next step in his career and slot in as the number four arm. And for the Fifth, there are plenty of options on the F.A. market, including arms like Jon Gray, Chris Archer and Noah Syndergaard.
There are plenty of options out there to add depth to this rotation, along with a solid arm. Even trading for a guy on another team can become a viable option, especially with trade pieces like Alejandro Kirk and Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
As for the outfield, it seems pretty sound and is one area the Jays will not have to add to in the off-season. They could use some depth at the position but bringing back a guy like Jarrod Dyson would be a very good pickup, providing speed off the bench.
Randal Grichuk is another expendable piece, although his value is probably at an all-time low considering he could only put together a .241 average and 22 home runs this season.
The Blue Jay’s front office should prioritize signing back Ray and Semien. If they can retain both contracts, just depth pieces are all that’s needed after that. And maybe some trade deadline pieces down the road.
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