Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays: Additions, losses, and breakout candidates for AL East rivals

Henry Wright
CLEARWATER, FLORIDA - MARCH 19: Vladimir Guerrero #27 of the Toronto Blue Jays watches the ball leave the ballpark after hitting a solo homerun in the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies in a Spring Training game at BayCare Ballpark on March 19, 2022 in Clearwater, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
CLEARWATER, FLORIDA - MARCH 19: Vladimir Guerrero #27 of the Toronto Blue Jays watches the ball leave the ballpark after hitting a solo homerun in the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies in a Spring Training game at BayCare Ballpark on March 19, 2022 in Clearwater, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /
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Mar 19, 2022; Sarasota, Florida, USA; New York Yankees infielder Josh Donaldson (28) during the third inning against the Baltimore Orioles during spring training at Ed Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 19, 2022; Sarasota, Florida, USA; New York Yankees infielder Josh Donaldson (28) during the third inning against the Baltimore Orioles during spring training at Ed Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

New York Yankees

Biggest Loss: Corey Kluber

The two-time Cy Young winner may be past his prime and may have only pitched 80 innings, but his departure to Tampa in free agency could be a big one. Aside from having one of the best pitchers in baseball in Gerrit Cole, the Yankees have some serious questions in the starting rotation. In his limited time in 2021, Corey Kluber posted a 3.83 ERA, which certainly isn’t earth-shattering, but at least you’re pretty sure he won’t be bad. Throw in the no-hitter he threw last season, and you’ve got yourself a pretty solid arm. When healthy, he provided some much-needed stability to a very unstable Yankees rotation, and losing that could prove costly in the long run.

Biggest Addition: Josh Donaldson

If you’re anything like me, the picture above may be very upsetting to see, but it’s something we’ll have to get used to. Josh Donaldson is a certified franchise legend for the Blue Jays, so seeing him in pinstripes just doesn’t feel right. That being said, the Yankees should be pretty happy they have him. He may not be the player he used to be, but make no mistake, the “Bringer of Rain” still mashes.

In his brief time with the Twins, JD posted a 128 OPS+ over 163 games, and has a truly breathtaking baseball savant page ranking near the top of the league in most offensive categories, including being in the 99th percentile for average exit velocity. Add to that being in the 63rd percentile for outs above average, and you’ve got a player who could make a huge impact in the Bronx. His power-hitting should pair well with the short-porches in Yankees Stadium, and despite his hefty contract, only having to give up Gio Urshela and Gary Sanchez for him and Isiah Kiner-Falefa feels like a steal. I know some people are saying that the Twins fleeced the Yankees since they were able to sign Carlos Correa, but the fact is that the Yankees added a very good bat to their roster.

Breakout Candidate: Luis Gil

This one might seem like a bit of a cop-out, since Luis Gil had a pretty solid MLB stint in 2021, but he only had six starts, and after he went scoreless in his first three, the rest were not very good. Gil only pitched 29.1 innings in 2021, posting a 3.07 ERA, but expect him to take a step forward in his official rookie season. The right-handed starter is mainly a 4-seam, slider pitcher, with an occasional changeup thrown in, and this is a pitch mix that we’ve seen work a lot in recent years (particularly with Robbie Ray in 2021). His 4-seamer can also reach triple-digits, so he’s got plenty of juice. In his first three starts where he allowed no runs in 15.2 innings, he showed signs of brilliance, and with a full offseason of work, expect big things from Gil in 2022.

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