Blue Jays: Biggest additions, subtractions and breakout candidates for AL East rivals

Masataka Yoshida Boston Red Sox Press Conference
Masataka Yoshida Boston Red Sox Press Conference / Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages
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Boston Red Sox

Biggest addition: OF Masataka Yoshida

Masataka Yoshida is the most recent NPB star to come over to MLB, having signed a five-year deal with the Red Sox this offseason. While he's currently the 87th-ranked prospect by Baseball America, he'll be playing in the bigs this season, and he's expected to be much better than that ranking would suggest. The 29-year-old left-handed hitting outfielder was a stud in Japan, posting a .960 OPS in over 700 NPB games, and projection models have him finding similar success with the Sox. STEAMER projections have him a 140 wRC+ with 50 XBHs, and while this might seem like lofty expectations for someone who's never seen major league action, but he'll get a taste of it when he represents Japan in the World Baseball Classic this March. The Red Sox are entering a new era, and they're hoping that Yoshida will play a major role in that.

Biggest loss: SS Xander Bogaerts

Both the Blue Jays and Red Sox lost their longest-tenured player this offseason, but in the case of Toronto and Teoscar Hernández, they at least got something in return. For the Red Sox, they weren't able to come to an agreement with four-time All-Star shortstop Xander Bogaerts, leading to him signing a lucrative 11-year deal with the San Diego Padres. Bogaerts has been a staple of the post-Ortiz Red Sox, and losing him is a massive blow to a team that's coming off their worst year under Alex Cora, and his departure signals might signal some serious change in one of baseball's most successful franchises of the 21st century.

On Toronto's side of things, the absence of Bogaerts in the division will be a welcome one, although his .805 OPS against the Blue Jays was below average for his standards. The Red Sox's top prospect Marcelo Mayer is the heir-apparent to the shortstop position in Boston, but he still seems to be a year away, so for 2023 at least, expect to see some inconsistency at the position.

Breakout candidate: 1B Triston Casas

The Red Sox have struggled to find a consistent answer at first base these past few seasons, but they're hoping they found one in Triston Casas. MLB Pipeline's No. 23 prospect appeared in 27 games last season and put up a 120 wRC+, despite batting below the Mendoza line. The 23-year-old left-handed hitter had a 20% walk rate in that time, which is 12% above league average, and while that's obviously bound for regression, it's a rare skill to have in such a young player. He's got great power and could be a bit of a problem for the Rogers Centre's new right-field wall, but he's also shown the ability to take the ball to the opposite field, which will come in handy at Fenway. Most projection models have him putting up a wRC+ in the 115-20 range, with a home run total in the mid to high teens, and if he could combine that serviceable defense, he could be the Sox answer at first.