What do the new pieces have to offer?
The Blue Jays went out and got a variety of new players this offseason, as we talked about above. They didn’t bring in a premium free agent anywhere, but they addressed a lot of needs, which was probably the smarter play for Atkins and Shapiro after a disastrous 2017 season.
They brought in Yangervis Solarte and Aledmys Diaz to shore up and improve their middle infield depth, Grichuk and Granderson to improve the outfield picture, Jaime Garcia to round out the rotation, and a number of relievers, arguably the most significant being Seung-hwan Oh.
The biggest question is, will they offer an improvement over last season? We won’t know for sure until the new campaign is behind us, but here’s what baseballreference.com has projected for the five I’ve listed above.
Solarte- .264/.323/.436, 17 HR, 65 RBI, 454 at bats
Diaz- .274/.332/.450, 13 HR, 45 RBI, 358 at bats
Grichuk- .250/.303/,491, 23 HR, 64 RBI, 432 at bats
Granderson- .230/.330/.437, 23 HR, 56 RBI, 452 at bats
Garcia- 8-10, 4.35 ERA, 1.361 WHIP, 155 innings pitched
Oh- 3-4, 3.71 ERA, 1.270 WHIP, 63 IP, 11 saves,
As I said above, none of them represent All-Star production by their projections, but each brings value with them to the Blue Jays, especially when you add it all up. Remember, Solarte and Diaz aren’t supposed to be tasked with replacing Troy Tulowitzki and Devon Travis, rather they’ve been brought in to provide depth. If they provide the type of numbers above it’ll be a result of the starters missing time to injury, but it’ll also be a big upgrade at two key positions, any way you look at it.
Grichuk and Granderson both provide defensive upgrades from what the Jays employed last year, and bring other skills like speed, and clubhouse presence. There are also plenty of people around baseball who believe Grichuk could blossom into a lot more given a regular lineup spot, and the Jays are ready to give him just that. Garcia and Oh round out a pitching staff that has a lot of talent, but needed the depth they provide to push them into another tier.
There may not be an MVP or Cy Young contender in the group, but the depth is what the Blue Jays needed most, and their front office went out and got it.