3 former Blue Jays we’ll be glad are gone in 2024 and 2 we’ll wish stayed

Which former Jays players will we missed the most, and which we shouldn’t worry too much having left the team for 2024?

Matt Chapman and Brandon Belt
Matt Chapman and Brandon Belt / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
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Brandon Belt

Former designated hitter Brandon Belt had a rough start in his tenure with the Jays when he struck out almost 50% of the time during the first few weeks in April last year. But being the savvy veteran that he was, he somehow managed to turn his season around quickly and ended up being one of the more consistent hitters in the lineup the rest of the way for the club. In total, he batted .254 with a strong .858 OPS, 2.0 WAR, along with 53 runs scored, 19 home runs and 43 RBI in 103 games played.

So then why would the Jays be glad that he is no longer with the team if he could provide such valuable production? For one thing, if we dig deeper into his performance stats in the clutch, Belt failed in most part to answer the bell. In 77 at-bats, he hit only .208 with a .705 OPS and only 4 home runs and 25 RBI in such situations. So he wasn’t able to come up with the big hit at the biggest moments for most of the time. More significantly, one thing is for sure, if the Jays still had Belt, Justin Turner most likely wouldn’t be a part of the team right now.

Turner has been regarded as the prime replacement for Belt at the designated hitter position for the upcoming season, as his increase in defensive deficiencies in the past few years make him a less playable option in the field. With Turner, he provides much greater plate discipline and quality at-bats than Belt, as his career batting average is 27 points higher than Belt, along with a career strikeout rate of 15.3%, which is almost 10% lower than Belt’s. More importantly, despite both players reaching up there in age, Turner has in general remained more healthy than Belt, averaging close to 142 games played per year in the past three seasons, compared to Belt who has only managed to average 93 games of action each year over the same time frame. On top of that, Turner batted .338 with a .943 OPS, 9 home runs and 77 RBI with RISP in 2023 for good measure. With all those factors taken into consideration, the departure of Belt could actually end up helping the Jays for the 2024 season.