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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Blue Jays
Jul 7, 2021; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Rays right fielder Vidal Brujan (7) makes a leaping catch at the wall to end the game against the Cleveland Indians at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports /

Tampa Bay Rays

Biggest Loss: Collin McHugh

The Rays live and die by their bullpen, and Collin McHugh was their best reliever in 2021. In 64 innings last season, McHugh posted a 1.55 ERA, which priced him out of Tampa and led to him signing with the Braves. As big of a loss as this is for the Rays, they seem to be able to pull solid relievers out of thin air, so I doubt they’re too concerned at the moment. That being said, losing a player like McHugh always hurts, so this is still a blow to their bullpen.

Biggest Addition: Corey Kluber

This section is a bit tough for the Rays since most of their best players either come from their farm system or are smaller names they acquired via trade of free agency. With ace Tyler Glasnow out for the season though, they decided to go out and get an established arm in Corey Kluber. I already covered Kluber when looking at the Yankees biggest loss, but his role with the Rays isn’t very clear. Given their unorthodox style pitcher usage, it’s unclear whether he’ll be used as a full-time starter or if they plan on using him as a bulk reliever to help counteract his recent injury history. Either way, Kluber should provide some good innings for the Rays this season, if he can stay healthy.

Next. Expanded April rosters benefit the Blue Jays. dark

Breakout Candidate: Vidal Brujan

Second baseman/outfielder, Vidal Brujan, made a brief appearance in the majors last season but performed exceptionally bad. In 26 plate appearances, he somehow managed a -54 OPS+, so at this point, there’s really nowhere to go but up. Brujan is currently the Rays number four prospect, 77 overall, according to MLB Pipeline, and has a chance to take the role of the team’s main utility guy in 2022. He has positional versatility, something that the Rays love, and projects as someone who can be an above-average, every day bat. He’s also a major threat on the base paths, racking up 44 steals in 103 games with AAA Durham in 2021. Brujan provides value in so many aspects of the game that the Rays will have a hard time keeping him out of the lineup, and he could be a dark horse contender for American League Rookie of the Year.

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