After successfully making the MLB playoffs in 2022 before bowing out to the Seattle Mariners in the AL Wild Card Series, the Toronto Blue Jays looked to alter and bolster their roster at the same time during the 2022-23 offseason to increase their chances at the postseason once again this year. In doing so, Jays’ GM Ross Atkins and the front office were actively busy throughout the winter, non-tendering several players, signing key free agents, along with pulling off a couple of surprising trades that elicited mixed reactions from the Jays’ faithful.
Here, we take a look at the outcomes of those offseason moves by Atkins, and how they have helped, or perhaps even hindered, the Jays’ performance so far this year at the midway mark of the season.
1. Key offseason free agent signings
Chris Bassitt has been rock solid for the Jays so far in 2023. Having helped stabilize the starting rotation after the departure of Ross Stripling, Bassitt has pitched to a respectable 8-5 record, with a 4.19 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 102 strikeouts over 109.2 innings. His numbers may be slightly higher than his usual career standards, but he has certainly kept the Jays in it for most of the games that he started, and has hung in there during the stretch in which the Jays utilized a four-man rotation.
When the Jays signed Kevin Kiermaier to a one-year deal to be their king patrol in the outfield this season, many were expecting just superb defence all around for the three-time Gold Glover. However, he has certainly gone above and beyond what was expected of him, adding some unexpected offensive punch to his strong season thus far in 2023 with his new team. He has hit .269 with a .749 OPS, 34 runs scored, 11 doubles, five triples, four home runs, 19 RBI and 10 stolen bases, to go along with three outfield assists and 13 defensive runs saved. Basically he has done it all, and if it wasn’t for his recent slower stretch, he would have received an even higher grade for sure.