The Toronto Blue Jays season came to an abrupt end this past weekend when they were swept by the Seattle Mariners during the AL Wild Card. After Luis Castillo stymied the Jays’ bats on Friday, the bullpen struggled to keep the Mariners’ bats silent after Kevin Gausman left the game and they overcame an 8-1 deficit to win and advance to the ALDS.
This is obviously a tough pill to swallow for the Jays and their fans, especially since expectations were sky-high coming into the 2022 season. The season’s expectations were only enhanced by the campaign Alek Manoah, Bo Bichette, and Vladimir Gurerrero Jr. put forward last year, as well as the return of a healthy George Springer and the Gausman, Matt Chapman, Yusei Kikuchi, and Yimi Garcia additions earlier this year.
Overall, finishing the year with a 92-70 record is not a small feat and should provide the stepping stones and fire for the team to put forward a strong 2023 campaign that hopefully provides some better postseason results.
That being said, let’s take a quick trip down memory lane and look at some memorable moments from this past offseason and regular season and see how different moments shaped the Jays’ year that was.
Blue Jays Extend José Berríos to a Long-Term Contract
With the offseason in full swing, the Blue Jays were knee-deep in free agency with a looming Collective Bargaining Agreement set to expire, meaning they had to act quick if they wanted to bring back the likes of Robbie Ray, Marcus Semien, and/or Steven Matz before a potentially lengthy hold on transactions.
The Jays made some bigger news before signing any free agents, extending starter José Berríos to a seven-year deal worth $131 million midway through the month of November. The deal includes a player opt-out clause following the fifth season and carries an average salary hit per season of approximately $18.7 million.
Acquired at the 2021 trade deadline in exchange for top prospects Austin Martin and Simeon Woods-Richardson, the risk was high that Berríos would walk following the 2022 campaign as he was eligible for free agency for the first time in his career. The Jays were able to convince him to forego free agency and stay with the club long-term, joining Hyun Jin Ryu and Alek Manoah as rotation options for the 2022 campaign.