The offseason has begun for the Blue Jays, and Ross Atkins and company will likely have a busy winter. What are the holes that need to be addressed? That’s a pretty complicated question to answer at this stage.
We know that at least three pending free agents will be missed if they don’t return, and despite the fact that the 2021 Jays were as exciting as we’ve seen them in years, it was an imperfect roster. That fact will only be compounded if they can’t retain some of the players about to hit the open market.
Even if they can though, the Blue Jays still have to face the reality of the competition in the vaunted AL East. The 2021 campaign was a prime example, as the Jays had 91 wins and still finished in fourth place, and nine games behind the 100-win Tampa Bay Rays, and just one behind the Red Sox and Yankees who occupied the Wild Card spots with 92 wins.
Fortunately the Blue Jays have shown in recent years that payroll restrictions aren’t nearly the issue that they’ve been in the past, and they’ve proven that with big-money contracts for Hyun Jin Ryu (4 years, 80 million) in 2020, and George Springer (6 years, 150 million) last offseason. It remains to be seen if Ross Atkins and company plan to make that level of splash again in free agency, or if they may look to swing another big trade like the one they pulled off in July to acquire Jose Berrios.
There are a lot of questions that need to be answered over the winter, and it probably starts with identifying the holes that need to be filled.