4 Blue Jays who could be the difference between success and failure in 2024

The talent is there for the Blue Jays to improve on a disappointing 2023, but which players are key to the team shifting from a peripheral to genuine contender?
Chicago Cubs v Toronto Blue Jays
Chicago Cubs v Toronto Blue Jays / Mark Blinch/GettyImages
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The general consensus is that the Blue Jays underperformed last year, resulting in a disappointing and limp effort during the Wild Card Series in Minnesota. And yet it speaks volumes about the talent and potential on the team, that they still managed to reach 89 regular season wins which, by the way, was just one less than the World Series champion Rangers.

For many, this offseason has already been declared a failure as a result of missing out on Shohei Ohtani. If there was ever an ultimate example of second-best being totally and utterly irrelevant, this is definitely in the running.

Certainly the Blue Jays haven't helped their cause with the players they have signed so far. For the record, this is in no way a dig at Kevin Kiermaier; it's more about just adding Isiah Kiner-Falefa as the only new signing to date.

General manager Ross Atkins is of the opinion the roster the Blue Jays have right now, is more than capable of competing for the World Series. Along these lines, here is a look at four players who could make all the difference when it comes to being genuine contenders:

Cavan Biggio

Cavan Biggio is an interesting candidate to have on here, or maybe more to the point a polarizing one. In one respect he does have the potential to be an integral part of the roster, but this is compromised by being far too inconsistent and unpredictable.

Consider that during his first season in the Majors, Biggio showed that he belonged as he went on the play 100 games. With 14 homers, 48 RBI and 71 walks at the plate, combined with reliable play at second base, he finished fifth in AL Rookie of the Year voting.

The following season, the 28-year-old continued to blossom despite the complications caused by COVID-19, as he produced a .250/.375/.432 slash line, .807 OPS and 122 OPS+. The stage seemed set for him to enjoy a long and successful career in Toronto.

Unfortunately for everyone concerned Biggio failed to build on his early momentum, as he struggled during the following two seasons, highlighted by an inept 2022 when he had career lows pretty much across the board. And then we come to last year, which might have best encapsulated all that is good and bad about his time in the Majors to date.

At one point the Houton, Texas native seemed to be doing his best to play himself off the roster. As we came towards the end of May, he had a truly awful .127/.191/.238 slash line and .429 OPS.

Then something just changed, as if Biggio was able to flip a switch, and he finally began to show the promise he'd displayed during his first two seasons with the Blue Jays. A hot bat at the back end of May and during June saw him hit at a .274 rate in 24 games, providing plenty on encoragement for all concerned.

However, it was then a case of the 2013 29th round draft pick reverting back to his frustrating 'best' in July and most of August, to again have critics questioning his long-term future in Toronto. Then came September/October and, in the words of Jays Journal's Eric Treuden, he went on an absolute tear.

Biggio batted .277 and produced a .781 OPS, as he recorded 14 RBI and 18 walks. As a result he finished the season with a .235 batting average, nine home runs and 40 RBI, which were all notable for being the second-best of his five years in the Majors.

Of course the end of season statistics on their own may not seem that impressive -- and they're not -- but the way Biggio's stat line jumped up from early on in the season, is what has people sitting up and taking notice. If he can discover that consistency which has alluded him for the majority of his career thus far, he can go a long way towards boosting the Blue Jays' lineup and making it more potent.