Jay Bird Watching Podcast Recap: How Do The Blue Jays Stack Up and How To Keep The Band Together?
This is a recap of the Jay Bird Watching podcast featuring hosts Craig Borden, Jason Lyons, and Ken Alfred. This week on the show, Jays Journal’s own David Salituro.
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Is Schneider the Jays’ Ignitor?
After some lamenting about the stormy weather, the crew welcomed David in and discussed John Schneider’s recent heroics, saving a patron at a restaurant, and his reportedly fiery season-opening speech.
The impact of having the newly-minted skipper in the fold from the get-go this season, as well as the urgency to perform this season, was bantered before the gang batted around the importance of learning first aid.
How do the Blue Jays stack up?
The topic of whether the Jays can improve on last season’s 92-win output was tossed around and David pointed to the additions of Chris Bassitt and Daulton Varsho and an expected uptick in production from Vladimir Guerrero Jr. as major reasons why the win total can be surpassed.
The aspects of the balanced schedule, new home ballpark dimensions, and some new rules were brought up as potential advantages by Craig.
Fear the Empire?
The New York Yankees weren’t as active in free agency as they have been in previous years. Still, they retained Aaron Judge and signed one of the most desirable pitchers on the market, Carlos Rodón.
The gang dish on the arch rivals and if they’re still the team to beat in the division.
Can we finally out-rays the Rays?
Fellow division foe Tampa Bay Rays have prided themselves on being an athletic team and the question of if Toronto has built a better, similar team.
The crew is mostly down on the chances of the thorny Rays this year, but Craig is wise to remind us of the franchise's penchant for somehow seemingly always being able to compete even when it looks like they may be on the decline.
Tampa’s lousy attendance, and mediocre stadium lead the guys to wonder about the relocation of the Rays to another city, possibly Las Vegas.
Can the O’s youth kick in?
The Baltimore Orioles came out of nowhere to improve by 29 wins last year and look like a team on the rise.
David mentions Adley Rutschman, coming off of an incredible rookie season, and Jason brings up some emerging prospects, including Grayson Rodriguez, as reasons why the O’s could be a real threat.
Ken weighs in that the Orioles could be the “new Rays”, and could be the new up-and-coming team in the league. The underrated addition of Kyle Gibson, ascending talent Gunnar Henderson and the speedy Cedric Mullins make Craig think of an Alex Anthopoulos-type of a team.
Do the Red Sox hit their stride?
The Boston Red Sox, expected to finish last in the division, went around the horn. The veteran but injury-prone starting rotation as well as some free agent defections make Boston a team that pundits don’t love.
The quartet doesn’t disagree and feels it could be a long year in Beantown.
The PECOTA win projections, which have the Yankees winning the AL East, went around the “table.” Ken believes the algorithm is selling the Jays short, while Jason thinks there could be a bug in the machine, and that the Yanks are overrated.
The question as to if Aaron Boone is the right person to lead the men in pinstripes, one asked by many supporters of the team, was wondered aloud by Craig while David agrees that 90 wins are too low a forecast for the Blue Jays.
Craig wraps up the show by throwing out the intriguing question of if Matt Chapman should be extended and what that deal could look like. Something to track as the season approaches.