Baseball |  Has the Blue Jays done enough to prepare for the season?

Baseball | Has the Blue Jays done enough to prepare for the season?

In the eyes of many experts, the Toronto Blue Jays have “won the winter” in the American League of Baseball. But will this “victory” be transposed where it counts, between April and October?

Frédéric Daigle
The Canadian Press

It’s hard not to agree with the analyzes that were done at the Blue Jays winter. In addition to having acquired the excellent outfielder George Springer for several seasons, the Toronto squad has added player Marcus Semien for one year, in addition to the reliefs Kirby Yates, Tyler Chatwood and David Phelps.

All these beautiful people are added to the young core consisting of Vladimir Guerrero’s son, Cavan Biggio and Bo Bichette, as well as Rowdy Tellez and other Teoscar Hernández. Here, at first glance, an offensive adaptation that makes you dream.

Do not forget, however, that the Blue Jays play in the East American, one of the most competitive divisions in MLB. Will these changes be enough to stand up to the mighty New York Yankees, the surprising Tampa Bay Rays and the Boston Red Sox, who rarely spend two seasons in a row on the side of mediocrity?

Because the Blue Jays, despite all these changes, have not improved the starting rotation. After Hyun-jin Ryu, who starts the season this Thursday in the Bronx, there are several question marks: Nate Pearson may be the second starter, and Robbie Ray will miss his first start with elbow injuries. Ross Stripling, Steven Matz and Tanner Roark, who have seen mixed results in recent years, must provide good work ethic.

A chip also fell on the Blue Jays at training camp: Yates had to undergo elbow restructuring and will not turn up for the season. The manager, Charlie Montoyo, must therefore contact a fire committee at the end of the match. The Canadian Jordan Romano and Rafael Dolis could be involved.

We are lucky to have enough boys who can do this job. So we are going to use a committee, as we did last year.

Charlie Montoyo, manager of the Toronto Blue Jays

They will also have to do without Springer’s services for a while at the beginning of the season: the star player got a grade 2 oblique stretch, and his name will be added to the injury list.

This Blue Jays list maintained the Americans’ best record in training camp, with 16 wins, 9 losses and 2 draws. However, she must do better than offer the 10e league performance if it hopes to reach the playoffs, as MLB has returned to its regular format for the three division champions from each league and the next two highest-ranked records, which meet in one game to become fourth.

And the Rays and Yankees, who both finished ahead of the Blue Jays in 2020, have no plans to slow down. Especially in the Bronx, where the pressure for a World Series title – the Yankees signed their last conquest in 2009 – is growing.

Their CEO Brian Cashman has also had an active winter. In addition to bringing back player DJ LeMahieu – the best Yankee of the last two seasons – Cashman added two starting pitches to Corey Kluber, winner of two Cy-Young trophies, and Jameson Taillon. Masahiro Tanaka, after seven seasons in America, has instead chosen to return to play at home in Japan.

Baseball | Has the Blue Jays done enough to prepare for the season?


Jameson Taillon of the New York Yankees

Led by Gerrit Cole, the Yankees’ rotation should give opposing hitters a headache. But will the big New York hitters keep up?

Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge have suffered many injuries in recent campaigns. The two colossi took yoga last winter to give themselves more flexibility.

Behind the plate, the Yankees hope to find Gary Sánchez who made everyone’s eyes widen when he arrived in the major leagues. “The Kraken” scared no one with its starving .147 offensive average last year. Manager Aaron Boone even preferred Kyle Higashioka to him in the playoffs.

Luke Voit, leading circuit leader in 2020 with 22, will miss the start of the season with a partial meniscus writing. He is expected to return to the match in May.

On the Rays side, their starting triumvirate has been dismantled: Blake Snell was switched to the San Diego Padres, and Charlie Morton used his autonomy to join the Atlanta Braves. However, The Rays brought back Chris Archer and added Michael Wacha.

The Rays won their division title last year and reached the World Series by maximizing their attacking potential and curbing opposing attacks. To achieve this, they especially used maximum weapons on the mound, a strategy that should not change this season. Will that be sufficient?

As for the Red Sox, they had a difficult season last year. But the Boston team will find two high-quality starters in 2021. Eduardo Rodríguez, who missed last season due to COVID-19 and coronavirus-associated myocardium, is back. The formidable Chris Sale is recovering from his left elbow ligament reconstruction. These two shooters will probably follow Nathan Eovaldi in the rotation.

The Red Sox are never far from the lead, but the opportunity to surpass those three teams is possibly too much to ask for them this season. Maybe they manage to squeeze in during the fourth ace? Otherwise, you can expect some big names to act as negotiators on the deadline.

Other matches

There will obviously be other interesting matches in MLB, starting in the East of the National.

Montrealer Alex Anthopoulos’ Atlanta Braves won the division championship, ahead of the surprising Miami Marlins. With the addition of Morton, the rotation does not seem to have a weakness. Morton is expected to move into fourth or fifth place, behind Max Fried, Ian Anderson, Drew Smyly and Mike Soroka.

On the attack, the team is still dependent on Freddie Freeman, National MVP last year, Marcell Ozuna, Ronald Acuña Jr., Ozzie Albies and Travis d’Arnaud, the winner of Silver Baton as the recipient for the year.

But the team everyone can not wait to see in this division is the New York Mets.

The Mets have struck a big blow – the biggest? – the winter by acquiring card stop Francisco Lindor and starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco from the Cleveland Indians against any player who would have an effect this year.

Baseball | Has the Blue Jays done enough to prepare for the season?


Francisco Lindor, New York Mets

The Mets will also bet on double Cy-Young Trophy winner Jacob deGrom on Mound as well as the return of Marcus Stroman, who skipped the 2020 season due to the pandemic.

Add to that the fact that Noah Syndergaard, who has not thrown since September 2019 after undergoing reconstruction of his right elbow in March 2020, will return to the rotation in June, and you have an exciting squad.

And for those who like to be up late, our suggestion from last year is still relevant: do not miss the San Diego Padres meetings.

If the Blue Jays won the winter in the US, the Padres are the big winners in the National, despite the arrival of Trevor Bauer to their eternal rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Padres added Snell, Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove to the pile, which would help them make up for the loss of Mike Clevinger for the season (another ligament reconstruction) and Dinelson Lamet for some time.

Darvish has just finished second in the Cy-Young Trophy race (behind Bauer), after leading National with eight victories. Snell, winner of the same trophy in the American in 2018, will give the Padres several good rounds.

On bats, the lineup is threatening from start to finish with, in order or out of action: Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado, Will Myers, Jake Cronenworth and the return to Jurickson Profar. The team also trusts newcomer Ha-seung Kim. The Korean signed a four-year pact of $ 28 million last winter.

Is that enough to warm up the Dodgers? World Series champions added Bauer, in addition to bringing back Justin Turner. However, they lost Joc Pederson, Enrique Hernández and Pedro Báez. Do they really want to suffer from the training they have?

With Gregory Strong, Toronto office

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