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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Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

We appreciate that Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was one of the Blue Jays' better bats in 2023. In this respect, he led the team in home runs, RBI and OBP.

However, the reality is that Guerrero has regressed offensively since his MVP-quality campaign in 2021. As a result, there has been some concern that rather than that season representing the start of a truly special career, it is instead a one-off, never to be repeated year.

As much as this line of thinking is understandable, it's too soon to give up on the three-time All-Star. He's still the same player capable of living up to his potential as a generational superstar at the plate.

The Blue Jays underperformed offensively as a collective last season, with Guerrero in many ways being the poster boy for this underwhelming production. If he can get back somewhere close to his 2021 form, the lineup is going to be a lot more dangerous for opposing pitchers to contend with.

Of course, while it's clear how much the 24-year-old is capable of, the question remains as to if he will every live up to his true potential? The Blue Jays and their fans want to believe he will, especially when you consider how young he still is.

In this respect, Guerrero will surely be motivated to still prove people right (or wrong depending on their perspective). If nothing else, at least he has the added incentive of wanting to earn a big payday, with him currently set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2025 season.

The 2021 Silver Slugger has stated his preference is to remain in Toronto long-term. However, he also still has to prove to the organisation that he's deserving of a lucrative extension offer from the Blue Jays.

Perhaps providing further motivation for Guerrero, is that the Blue Jays had at one point been reportedly fielding calls for his services. As much as this doesn't necessarily mean Atkins and company want to move him, he's yet to prove himself as being indispensable.

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From his perspective, Guerrero seems to be taking things more seriously, with him hitting the gym since the 2023 season finished and looking fitter than ever. He is arguably the number one key to the Blue Jays being better this year, but it's a case of going out there and actually showing what he is truly capable of.