What can be expected from the offseason acquisitions?
The Blue Jays didn’t make any headline moves this offseason, but they added some players that could pay dividends on low risk deals. They added rotation depth in Matt Shoemaker, Clayton Richard and Clay Buchholz, as well as some bullpen help with the additions of Bud Norris, David Phelps and the Canadian veteran John Axford, names that could make the Jays’ bullpen quite a solid one. The notable position player addition was the one of veteran infielder Freddy Galvis, who will get the majority of playing time at shortstop.
Shoemaker and Buchholz will form the rotation along Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman, with either Richard or Ryan Borucki competing for the 5th spot in the rotation. If Borucki wins the job then Richard will head to the bullpen and be an option for the rotation if there are any injuries.
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Buchholz and Shoemaker are veterans with loads of experience who can pitch at a level of a No.3 starter and could turn into great trade chips for the Blue Jays at the trade deadline. If Buccholz pitches like he did last year for Arizona when he posted an excellent ERA of 2.01 in 16 starts, with Stroman and Sanchez pitching at their potential level, then the team could end up having at fantastic rotation with a lot of solid depth. Sean Reid-Foley, Sam Gaviglio and possibly Ryan Borucki, if he doesn’t begin the season as the 5th starter, would be waiting at Triple-A for an opportunity if there are any injuries, trades, or even a lack of performance in the big league rotation.
If David Phelps comes back in good shape after his Tommy John surgery and Bud Norris pitches like he has for the last two years the Jays could end up having an extremely solid bullpen with Ryan Tepera and Ken Giles in the back end of the group. Relievers are very valuable at the trade deadline, which means the Jays could have several trade chips in the bullpen and once again acquire some more prospects in the trade deadline for relievers who will be free agents at the end of the season anyway.
Freddy Galvis will likely get the majority of playing time at short but he will also likely get some innings at second base or even third base from time to time. With the signing of Galvis, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. will be more of a utility man who we might even see in the outfield at some point. Galvis has played every single game of the regular season for two years in a row, and although that feat will come to an end this season with the Blue Jays, the Jays have a player who is available everyday, can hit for some power and is a good fielder who will provide defensive stability in the infield.
While the Blue Jays aren’t expected to be in the playoff picture this year, that doesn’t mean their roster lacks intrigue, or that we won’t see improvement from a year ago. With a new skipper, a largely rehabbed roster, and more questions than answer, it should be an interesting season to follow.