Toronto Blue Jays Mailbag: Opening Day edition

Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees
Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages

Opening Day Q&A with Toronto Blue Jays fans

Ah, yes, Opening Day of the 2023 MLB season is finally upon us! After an exciting offseason and a mostly successful Spring Training, the Toronto Blue Jays are primed to have a great season.

Expectations for the club are sky-high, and rightfully so. With the Yankees dealing with so many health question marks, the Jays will need to strike hard to begin the regular season and build up as big of a lead as possible in the AL East standings.

I asked readers to submit some questions for me to answer in a mailbag on Opening Day and got a ton of great questions. Without further ado, let's jump into it.

Every year there is one player who has a surprising season. Which Blue Jay will it be this season? - Charles A.

While we did not see this in Spring Training, I think the answer here has to be Daulton Varsho. He seems to be right on the cusp of greatness and many Blue Jays fans were upset at the price to acquire him. He stands out as a player who is going to do great things for the Jays.

Before the end of the season, do we see a contract extension for [Matt] Chapman? - Brian S.

As much as I love Chapman and what he brings to the table, my answer is no. Especially with how well Addison Barger has been developing, the answer right at this second is "no extension", but this could change as the season marches on. You'd have to think that Manny Machado's massive payday is what Chappy is going to be chasing after.

Out of all of our new players, who do you see being an All-Star? - Kimberley L.

Sticking with my Varsho love here.

How do you project Cavan Biggio's season will go? Super utility player? Does his bat come back? - Roy D.

I believe Biggio will be a serviceable player, but the chances of him emerging as some star-caliber player are very low. He can bounce around all over the diamond and has the capabilities to turn into an oft-used bench piece for the Jays. Can't see him being anything more for the club.

Can you predict the ERA of each Blue Jays starter? - @NoahYyz on Twitter

Oh boy, this should be good. This is what I'm going with.

Alek Manoah - 3.14

Kevin Gausman - 2.68

Chris Bassitt - 3.54

José Berríos - 4.00

Yusei Kikuchi - 3.72

Will Hyun Jin Ryu be back in the rotation this year at some point? - Lynn S.

I think that's the plan. He is recovering from Tommy John surgery and won't be back with the team until at least July. I'd say it depends on how the bottom half of the rotation is performing once he gets back. Could see him being the fifth starter if Kikuchi struggles, or perhaps the Jays just go with a six-man rotation.

Which Blue Jays prospect makes the biggest impact this year? - Aaron E.

Addison Barger on the position player side and Ricky Tiedemann on the pitching side. Both will see some time in the big leagues this year, it's just unclear how much time.

What ever happened to Joe Biagini? - Guyle C.

Haha, blast from the past right here. Biagini is currently a free agent after spending last year with the Buffalo Bisons in Triple-A.

How does management expect to get regular playing time for our three utility players [Merrifield, Espinal, Biggio]? - Scott H.

Who do you see as the go-to second baseman? - Jody B.

Pairing these together because the answer to both is that Whit Merrifield will be the starting second baseman. He will see some time in the outfield, but the presence of Nathan Lukes as a true fourth outfielder makes me think that Whit will focus on second base. Biggio can play the outfield corners as well, and I believe he'll get his fair share of at-bats at second and even some first base. Espinal can get decent playing time by bouncing around between second, third and short and should get into more games than Biggio does at this point.

In any of our starters go down with an injury and Mitch White still isn't back, who's next in line? - Chris B.

Great question. Even if White is healthy, there are some whispers that he's not even next in line for starts if one of the top five go down with an injury. Zach Thompson is first up to get some starts if an injury arises.

Do the Blue Jays have enough depth to make a significant move at the deadline? - Lesley B.

Yes, there is enough depth to make a big trade. Guys like Orelvis Martinez, Yosver Zulueta or Sem Robberse strike me as attractive trade chips that could be moved in the right deal.

Next. How realistic is a 100-win season for the 2023 Blue Jays?. dark