MLB insider says Blue Jays haven't improved from last year, but there's still hope

Oct 3, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (27)
Oct 3, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (27) / Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

This MLB offseason has served up a roller coaster of emotions for Toronto Blue Jays fans. From being oh-so close to signing the most coveted free agent in baseball history to having the teams star player head to arbitration, this offseason has been anything but ideal for Blue Jays fans and the front office alike.

ESPN's Buster Olney, speaking on TSN1050, said, "I don't think there's anyway to look at their offseason as anything other than a disappointment. Taking a run on Ohtani, looking at other options in the free agent market, (they landed on) basically the same group of guys."

The Blue Jays 2023 season ended in disappointing and familiar fashion -- via a sweep in the Wild Card round. Thus far, in the Bo and Vlad era, this ballclub is 0-6 in the postseason with three separate Wild Card sweeps, and Bichette and Guerrero are a combined 9-for-44 with only a pair of RBI to show.

It was well documented last season that the offence struggled mightily for this team and the pitching was elite. If the Blue Jays have any chance of success this season, the pitching staff needs to come close to replicating last year and the offence needs to take a giant step further, although Olney isn't too confident in the latter, saying, "I think there's a reasonable expectation (to see improvement from multiple players), but do I think they're going to have a marked improvement over the offence last year? I don't."

Another big topic of conversation surrounding this team during spring training thus far is the shape of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Vladdy has been posting pictures and clips of his workouts throughout the offseason, and he arrived to spring training looking like he's in fantastic shape.

Guerrero has a ton to prove this season -- likely more than anyone else on the team. After finishing second in AL MVP voting in 2021, his game has taken quite the step back over the past few seasons, and many fans have been left wondering if he is still the player that looked like he was going to be one of the very best in the game one day.

FanGraphs currently gives the Blue Jays a 47.3% chance to make the playoffs, a 2.6% chance to win the World Series, and has them projected to finish fourth in the AL East. If Guerrero and someone like, say, Alek Manoah are able to rebound the way we think they could, there's a high probability that this club outperforms expectations.