More AL contenders
The defending World Series champions are the AL West winner once again, and they’ll face off against the Cleveland Indians in their ALDS series.
With a strong rotation and a lineup full of young, in-their-prime stars, the Astros could be serious contenders again this year, and they’ll have a couple old Blue Jays in tow. Jake Marisnick should make the roster as a valuable contributor on defence, and there’s a chance they bring Joe Smith along for the ride in the crowded bullpen picture.
The third and main name that Blue Jays fans will focus on will be Roberto Osuna, which is likely to cause plenty to turn on the Astros during this year’s postseason. It’s hard to stomach the idea of Osuna getting a ring in the same year the team felt like they had no choice but to trade him due to off-field/legal issues, so here’s hoping we don’t have to talk about that all winter long.
The surprising Oakland A’s might even be a better version of ‘Moneyball’ than the one that turned into movies and a borderline baseball revolution. They’ll get a chance to take down the mighty Yankees on Tuesday in the Wild Card game, and I’m sure plenty of Blue Jays fans will cheer for them for that reason alone.
Aside from that there are a few former Jays like Brett Anderson, who had a brief stint in Toronto last year, and Edwin Jackson, who was a Blue Jay just long enough to get traded to St. Louis way back in the Colby Rasmus deal. The third would be Franklin Barreto, who was just a young prospect while with the Blue Jays organization. He was arguably the highest ceiling piece that went back to Oakland in the Josh Donaldson trade, and is their best chance of making that transaction look a little less painful.
*Note- I missed Liam Hendricks as well, who returned later in the year and pitched well after being DFA’d earlier this summer. It even looks like he might get the ball in the AL Wild Card game as the “opener”.