Can they shoot for a .500 record?
Before the structure of a normal season got thrown out the window, I felt like the Blue Jays should be shooting to meet or beat a .500 record this season. That’s an ambitious goal after winning just 67 games last year and would require a 14-win improvement, but I felt like the potential was there. The rotation was improved with the additions of Hyun-Jin Ryu, Tanner Roark, Chase Anderson, Matt Shoemaker, and Shun Yamaguchi, and the talented young core had a chance to make a big difference on offence as well.
Should that goal change at all? I don’t think so, although I’ll say that with a caveat that the Blue Jays should go easy on themselves if they’re unable to reach that type of mark. A shorter schedule of just 60 games does not allow for as much of a “correction” over time as a 162 game campaign would. For example, after 60 games last season the Washington Nationals were 27-33. They changed the course of their season in a hurry though, going 66-36 the rest of the way and finishing at 93-69.
The Blue Jays will also have a pretty tough schedule ahead of them, they’ll be part of the new Super-East division that includes their regular AL East opponents, and joined by the NL East squads of the Braves, Nationals, Phillies, Mets, and Marlins. Outside of the Marlins and the Orioles you could make an argument that the other seven clubs are post-season contenders, which won’t make things easy.
Still, I think the Blue Jays have the potential to be a sleeper this year, especially with so many wild cards at play. With a shortened season and a lot of talent on the roster, I hope to see them shoot for a .500 record, and hopefully even better.