Blue Jays: Longtime arch nemesis says Jays are team to beat in the AL East
As if the Toronto Blue Jays needed any additional people in their corner for the 2023 season, a former Yankees ace says that the Jays are the team to beat in the AL East.
CC Sabathia, one of the best left-handed pitchers of his generation, hopped on The Adam Jones Podcast recently and said, "on paper, Toronto is the team to beat this year."
For those who want to follow along, this segment begins around the 10 minute and 30 second mark in the video below.
Sabathia continues to say that it can be hard on young players when expectations are sky-high heading into a season. He points out that in 2020, there were little to no expectations for the club and they ultimately made it to the playoffs. Then, heading into 2021, there were a ton of expectations and the club "fell flat on its face", finishing fourth in the East (despite winning 91 games).
"This is their year. The window is open and this is their year", he finishes.
The 19-year MLB veteran knows a thing or two about winning clubs, making the postseason 10 times in 19 years and winning the 2009 ALCS MVP and later the 2009 World Series.
While the Rays are a talented team and the Orioles are on the come-up, the AL East feels like a two-horse race this season between the Yankees and the Blue Jays.
Comparing the offseason's between the two clubs, it's easy to see why people are saying the Blue Jays are the most improved club in the division this offseason.
*H/T to Melodic-Bug-9022 on Reddit for the below breakdown.
Players out: Aroldis Chapman, Miguel Castro, Matt Carpenter, Jameson Taillon, Chad Green, Zack Britton, Marwin Gonzalez, Andrew Benintendi, Lucas Luetge
Players in: Tommy Kahnle, Carlos Rodón
Significant injuries: Frankie Montas (likely out for season, Scott Effross (out for season), Luis Gil (possilbe June return).
Players out: Teoscar Hernández, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Gabriel Moreno, Jackie Bradley Jr., Bradley Zimmer, Raimel Tampia, Ross Stripling, David Phelps, Tayler Saucedo
Players in: Erik Swanson, Daulton Varsho, Kevin Kiermaier, Chris Bassitt, Brandon Belt, Chad Green
Significant injuries: Hyun Jin Ryu (July return), Chad Green (July return)