Batting fourth, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 1B
There is oh so much riding on Guerrero's performance in the upcoming season. He is a phenomenal, superstar-type player but hasn't quite been able to replicate his MVP-like output from 2021.
Realistically, the 24-year-old has been excellent in both years since that 2021 campaign, but the bar was raised so damn high that year that now it just feels like he's underperforming. Sure, he can be strikeout-prone, and it can be impossibly difficult to watch him pop out in clutch situations, but his 117 OPS+ in 2023 is nothing to scoff at.
Putting Vladdy behind Bichette and Ohtani would give the Blue Jays one of the most fearsome 2-3-4 hitters in recent memory. Really, it feels borderline unfair.
Batting fifth, Teoscar Hernández, LF
As great as it would be to bring Ohtani aboard to DH and Cody Bellinger to play left (or center) field, we promised we'd try and stay as realistic as possible. A Blue Jays-Cardinals trade involving one of Dylan Carlson or Tyler O'Neill was also under consideration for this spot, as was the free agent signing of Jung-Hoo Lee, but let's go the reunion with an old power-hitting friend route instead.
In Hernández, the Blue Jays would be bringing (back) 30-home run potential to their lineup at a time where they could really use it. The 30-year-old spent last year on the Mariners and hit 26 home runs with 93 RBI in 160 games. Strikeouts are always going to be an issue for him (31 SO% last year) but the hope is that he makes up for the punchouts with around 30 home runs.
For what it's worth, Hernández hopped on the Blair & Barker podcast around this year's trade deadline and told the guys that he'd be open to a return to Toronto down the line. Sign us up.