By Ross Sutton
The Toronto Blue Jays disappointed in 2017, finishing fourth in the AL east with a 76-86 record. So far this offseason, the Blue Jays have acquired Aldemys Diaz, Yangervis Solarte, Curtis Granderson, Randal Grichuk and Seung Hwan Oh (pending physical). It seems that the only key contributor from years past that the Blue Jays will lose is Jose Bautista, but he only hit .203 with 23 home runs in 2017, so maybe Granderson and Grichuk will be better options in right field anyway.
The Blue Jays seem to be a better team than last year, and considering they have made deep postseason runs in recent years, I think they have a good chance to finish at .500 or better this upcoming season. For the rest of the AL east, the Yankees and Red Sox have both gotten better this offseason, but the Orioles and Rays both project to be worse teams compared to previous seasons and the Blue Jays should be able to take advantage of that throughout the season. The Blue Jays were riddled with injuries last year as the 2016 American League ERA leader Aaron Sanchez was out basically the entire year and superstar third baseman Josh Donaldson also missed significant time. It wasn’t all bad for the Blue Jays last year though, as first baseman Justin Smoak had a breakout year for the club, with 38 home runs, 90 RBIs, a .270 batting average and a .355 on base percentage. As long as their key contributors can stay relatively healthy, the Blue Jays should be contenders for the second wild card spot in the American League. That being said, I predict that the Blue Jays will finish the 2018 season with a 85-77 record, finish third in the AL east, but will ultimately fall just short of grabbing the second wild card spot.
All stats courtesy of baseball-reference.com
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