The Toronto Blue Jays enter 2016 as legitimate World Series contenders, but they’ll need to avoid these three traps along the way
Until then, here is part one of your 2016 Toronto Blue Jays season preview.
The Blue Jays jolted a nation awake in 2015 with a playoff run that ended just short of the World Series stage. Fans will have some new names and faces to familiarize themselves with this season, but in comparison to recent winters, the Blue Jays’ core remains relatively intact.
For all the optimism surrounding this team, we unfortunately cannot ignore the challenges that await the Blue Jays over these next six months. (Tomorrow we’ll look at five reasons the 2016 season could all go right for the Blue Jays. It’s a greater number than these three reasons for worry, as sensationalizing these for the sake of even numbers benefits neither your or I).
In season’s past, the Blue Jays have fallen victim to the most common stumbling block in baseball: depth. While the Bostons and New Yorks of the world were able to trot out MLB-calibre players from their bench and triple-A squads, the Blue Jays often could not keep pace. Instead, fans were greeted with a steady stream of names that sent them a-Googling.
Now, Toronto enters a season with last year’s opening day starter stashed away at triple-A. Not without reason, of course, but the new regime of Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins have consciously addressed the Blue Jays depth over the past several months.
In doing this, the Blue Jays have obviously missed out on the sexy names.
No David Price. No repeat of last offseason’s Josh Donaldson trade. Come June and July, however, when the Jays can roll out MLB-level talent with their eighth starter and fifth or sixth outfielder, the strategy will look a little clearer.
So let’s dive in. We’re still a little early in the season to be cynical, so instead of calling these the three reasons it could all go wrong in 2016, let’s call them “three factors to keep an awfully close eye on.”
First up, a focused look at two positions the Blue Jays need to remain healthy at…
Next: No. 3: One arm and one bat that need to stay off the D.L.