The Toronto Blue Jays brain trust had a very impressive, calculated offseason improving the team in many facets of their game and for that, the Jays will undoubtedly be contenders in 2018 and beyond.
The armchair baseball quarterbacks are quick to chastise the Blue Jays front office for not making the sexy splash in free agency this offseason and self admittedly I would have supported a big move however when you sit back and analyze the offseason additions, this team is well positioned to contend in the AL East.
General Manager Ross Atkins achieved his goal of assembling a more versatile, younger athletic group without wagering the future. The additions of Aledmys Diaz, Yangervis Solarte, and Randal Grichuk were sneaky, under the radar, high upside improvements that provide manager John Gibbons with a ton more lineup versatility.
The additions of Jaime Garcia to solidify the rotation coupled with a plethora of new faces vying for a spot in the bullpen make for healthy competition this spring. The recent signing of reliever Seung-hwan Oh has the makings of a steal inking the former closer for a bargain at $2 million after the Texas Rangers walked away from their initial agreement with the 35-year old.
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Health will be the true testament to exactly how the season will unfold however if Aaron Sanchez and Devon Travis can find a way to remain on the field they both have the ability to be X-factors and propel this team to October baseball.
The rotation top to bottom is arguably one of the deepest in baseball and rivals that of the perennial postseason favourites.
The Jays will also have an extra motivated Josh Donaldson who could greatly benefit financially from another MVP caliber season as the third baseman nears free agency. A winning campaign may bode well for the chances of the Jays and Donaldson continuing their relationship beyond this season.
So although inter-division rivals added the likes of Giancarlo Stanton and J.D. Martinez, the Jays are still poised and well positioned to battle the big dogs and compete for a third postseason berth in four years. Buckle-up Jays fans, it’s going to be a fun ride.