After a rather disappointing end to a successful 2023 season, the Toronto Blue Jays will be looking to regroup this coming offseason in preparation to compete once again for 2024. To do so, there will undoubtedly be some necessary changes that need to be made in order for the team and the organization to be successful as a whole for both the short and long term. Here, we take a look at four important areas that need to be fixed to help right the ship for the Jays.
Finding the perfect balance between offense and defense
Prior to the 2023 season, the Jays primarily used their potent offense to power their way to victory as a recipe for success. Very often though, they would encounter some lapses on defense that gave away runs to the opposition, leading to some heartbreaking losses. With the realization that defense is ultimately what wins championships, the Jays changed the makeup of their roster this season to focus more on defense rather than offense. As a result, defensive stalwarts such as Daulton Varsho and Kevin Kiermaier were added to the ballclub at the expensive of offensive threats Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Gabriel Moreno, and Teoscar Hernández.
The defense certainly made a huge difference for the Jays in 2023, with just Varsho and Kiermaier alone combining to provide the team with a whopping 47 DRS over the course of the season. However, when it came down to crunch time in the Jays’ most important games of the season, it was the offense that ended up failing them the most. In particular, they were only able to muster one run in the AL Wild Card series against the Minnesota Twins, which led to their early exit from the postseason.
So what the Jays need to do for 2024 is to insert back some consistent power and thump back into their lineup to provide the right balance with their already-improved defense and pitching. In doing so, it would make the team much more well-rounded and less likely to have just one aspect of their game severely affecting their overall effectiveness. With both defensive standouts Kiermaier and Matt Chapman heading towards free agency and Brandon Belt pondering retirement, the ideal run-producing power bat or bats the Jays could pursue should replace one or more of those vacated positions for 2024. At the same time, Varsho will be able to continue to provide elite defense in the outfield, and the much-improved Bo Bichette and Gold Glover Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will keep the infield defense at a respectable level.