The Blue Jays had far too quiet of an offseason and they're paying for it early on

Missing out on big free agents have proved costly for the Jays early in April
MLB: Spring Training - Philadelphia Phillies at Toronto Blue Jays
MLB: Spring Training - Philadelphia Phillies at Toronto Blue Jays / VIEW press/GettyImages

The Blue Jays entered the 2023 season as one of the strongest offensive squads in the American League. With big names such as Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and George Springer, the Jays were poised to do big things and build on the progress of their 2022 season. This came for not, however, as the Jays saw regressions in all offensive categories, especially home runs. Expected to reconvene in the offseason, the Blue Jays stayed relatively quiet and opted for depth rather than impact. Now that the season has finally started, this may be proving more costly than expected.

The 2022 Blue Jays were one of the most offensively versatile teams in the league. They led the American League (and were second in the majors) with a team wRC+ of 118 and hammered a monstrous 200 home runs. The following year's squad certainly regressed, but was nothing too egregious, dropping to 7th in team wRC+ with 107. But despite the team's strong core, more key offensive players were slated to depart in the off-season, primarily Matt Chapman and Brandon Belt. Having already lost Teoscar Hernandez and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to trades the previous year, the Blue Jays needed a significant offensive splash if they wanted to stay in the running.

Big names were floated around such as Japanese sensation Shohei Ohtani and the youngster Juan Soto, but both ultimately fell through. Ohtani was seemingly destined to be a Dodger and the Yankees simply had a better offer for Soto than the Jays. Fine. It was tough to see them dawn different uniforms, but there were still other options.

One of these names: Jorge Soler. Coming off an impressive 2023 season complete with 36 home runs and an All-Star nod, he seemed like a perfect, reasonably-priced option to complete the outfield. With Kevin Kiermaier hitting free agency, Soler would have been a perfect fit in a DH/LF role, assuming Daulton Varsho takes on a full-time CF role. He would provide the Jays with the home run power they once had abundant, all while costing no more than $60-70 million to acquire. But once again, Ross Atkins opted to bring back Kiermaier and pass on Soler in hopes of another impressive season.

Kiermaier was certainly a valuable player for the Blue Jays in 2023, but considering the team's offensive woes, it was puzzling to see Atkins pass on Soler and resign an older, injury-prone Kiermaier. This move hasn't proved well for the Jays as Kiermaier has started the season as one of the worst hitters in the league, only mustering up two singles in 21 at-bats. Soler on the other hand? He's been absolutely rolling, already mashing a pair of home runs complete with a 130 OPS+.

This kind of production, while premature, would've been exactly what the Jays needed to start the season. As it stands, the Blue Jays rank 25th in the league in wRC+ (76) with a slash line of .179/.279/.307. Justin Turner has been off to a hot start, but as it stands, things aren't looking pretty. After only eight games, the Blue Jays have already been no-hit AND one-hit in consecutive games. Friday's 3-0 win against the Yankees was nice, but offered very little promise. The Jays showed very little improvement, with the three runs coming from only one home run and two passed balls. If the Jays suffer from more offensive woes this season, fans can only hope Ross Atkins will step it up next year and learn from the mistakes of last offseason.