Grading the Blue Jays’ last offseason through the first half of the 2023 season

How has the offseason moves by Jays' GM Ross Atkins paid off for the Blue Jays as they hit the midway point of the 2023 season?
Ross Atkins
Ross Atkins / Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports
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Pitching trio: Ross Stripling, Julian Merryweather, Anthony Kay

For former Jay Ross Stripling, it has been a nightmarish season so far for him in 2023. After signing a two-year contract with the San Francisco Giants, Stripling has gone on to produce one of his worst seasons so far in his career, pitching to a 6.37 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, giving up 29 earned runs including 11 home runs, 11 walks and 34 strikeouts in just 41 innings of work. In comparison, Bassitt has been the ideal replacement for Stripling, and has been producing numbers similar to what Stripling gave the Jays last year.

In the case for Julian Merryweather, apparently a change in scenery has done some wonders for him. Despite being a little shaky with his control at times leading to a higher than normal walk rate, Merryweather has put up a solid season with the Chicago Cubs, going 2-0 with a career best 3.35 ERA, with 51 strikeouts in just 37.2 innings pitched. For Anthony Kay, who was also picked up by the Cubs in the offseason off waivers from the Jays, he began the season in the minor leagues, but was recently selected to the MLB roster in June. In his brief eight-game stint so far, he has a tidy 1.59 ERA, but has seen limited action, pitching only 5.2 innings in total. So from the small sample size, his performance is still up for debate if he can keep it up for the rest of the season.

Grade: A- - Bassitt has been reliable and dependable in the Jays’ starting rotation, allowing the ballclub to forget about Stripling, who is having a forgettable year so far. Some of Merryweather’s strikeout ability would have came in handy for their bullpen lacking strong flamethrowers, but at least the Jays’ bullpen have been more or less steady in recent weeks.

Overall notable players non-tendered grade: A – The Jays have not lost a beat in their production and performance after the departure of all of these players and in fact, those that have replaced them have done even better, making these moves among the best of Atkins’ work this past offseason.