Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays: Looking back on an eventful hot stove season

Graeme Wallace
TORONTO, ON - MAY 1: Kevin Gausman #34 of the Toronto Blue Jays delivers a pitch during a MLB game against the Houston Astros at Rogers Centre on May 1, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - MAY 1: Kevin Gausman #34 of the Toronto Blue Jays delivers a pitch during a MLB game against the Houston Astros at Rogers Centre on May 1, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /
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The Toronto Blue Jays are coming off an eventful and, most would consider, a successful offseason following a near-miss, 91-win campaign in 2021.

The team would have big decisions to make on their Cy Young award-winning pitcher and their Gold Glove second baseman. Additionally, the team would need to decide on what to do with Steven Matz, coming off a resurgent season, how to address a crowded outfield and upgrade the bullpen further.

This seems like a good time to look back on these moves, see what has worked, what hasn’t, and where the jury is still out.

Robbie Ray played on a one-year, $8 million contract last season and it turned out to be one of the best-value deals the Jays have ever made. After the truncated 2020 season that saw Ray struggle with walks and inconsistency, the team made a leap of faith and it paid off big time.

Similarly, the Blue Jays signed Marcus Semien to a one-year, “prove-it” deal. Although Semien came at a higher price ($18M), it was unlikely the organization could have envisioned the way it turned out. Semien not only established a career-high in home runs (45), but he hit more than any player ever had from the second base position.

The Jays would attempt to re-sign both players but would need to have resources and a backup plan if other suitors claimed them.

Jose Berrios was acquired at last year’s trade deadline. Two of the team’s top prospects were moved in order to trade for him, so re-signing Berrios would be an offseason priority. After Matz was brought in and enjoyed his best season in years, a decision would need to be made to retain or replace him.

Adam Cimber and Trevor Richards were effective mid-season pick-ups but the bullpen still required some fine-tuning. Finally, there was Randal Grichuk and his sizeable contract for an assumed fourth outfielder.

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