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Blue Jays’ free-agent moves build on 2020 trade deadline, assure AL East respectability

The Blue Jays’ quiet-but-efficient 2020 commerce deadline helped them end the 12 months above .500 and in a playoff spot.

None of their strikes had been splashy — essentially the most profitable had been offers for Robbie Ray and Taijuan Walker — however they demonstrated the entrance workplace’s view that inactivity was unacceptable for a roster blessed with an array of budding stars. Earlier than the marketing campaign, the membership had signed Cy Younger runner-up Hyun Jin Ryu to a four-year contract.

Toronto’s reported additions of outfielder George Springer, beginning pitcher Tyler Chatwood and nearer Kirby Yates this week are extensions of the crew’s aggressive mindset. There are rumblings of curiosity in right-handers Trevor Bauer and Jake Odorizzi.

As has been the case for the Blue Jays so typically of their historical past, the energy of the AL East threatens to dip them right into a irritating cycle of mediocrity. These transactions maintain the postseason in play whatever the heights reached by division rivals. In addition they ease stress on Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Cavan Biggio to hold them in 2021 with profession years.

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Springer, introduced in for a reported six years and $150 million, ought to present a major increase to an already harmful lineup. Toronto’s order now options eight hitters who final 12 months posted an OPS+ above 100, the benchmark for being league common on the plate. Springer would be the solely a type of gamers older than 30.

Participant 2020 OPS+
Teoscar Hernandez 146
George Springer 140
Rowdy Tellez 139
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. 138
Bo Bichette 127
Cavan Biggio 122
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 115
Randal Grichuk 114

The Blue Jays’ ninth-best hitter by 2020 OPS+ is Danny Jansen, a 25-year-old catcher with sufficient energy and self-discipline to get pleasure from a get away 12 months together with his bat. He hit simply .183 however walked at an elite charge and would have simply launched double-digit house runs for the second 12 months in a row if the season hadn’t been shortened.

Yates may convey the strikeout stuff Toronto’s bullpen has largely lacked, although he should show his horror present final season (12.46 ERA following a 1.19 ERA in 2019) was an aberration. His one-year, $5.5 million contract is a minimal burden contemplating his upside.

Toronto’s beginning rotation could possibly be its undoing, however re-signing Ray and Ross Stripling, and including Chatwood on a reported $3 million deal, are cheap steps towards cobbling collectively one thing respectable behind Ryu. Ray rediscovered his middle-of-the-rotation arsenal after the Blue Jays traded for him on the deadline, posting a 4.79 ERA in 20 2/3 innings. At 29, he nonetheless has the potential to enhance upon these numbers and inch nearer to his sub-4.00 ERA from 2017 and 2018. Whereas Stripling fell off in 2020, his profession 3.77 ERA provides comparable promise of a rebound. Chatwood, in the meantime, lacks any semblance of command however has from time to time been efficient in his unstable nine-year MLB employment.

Tanner Roark was signed alongside Ryu earlier than the 2020 marketing campaign to be a reliable rotation complement. He was as an alternative a catastrophe (6.80 ERA). Possibly he’ll be a nice shock in his stroll 12 months.

After the reported Springer signing, the Blue Jays do not want 5 Roy Halladays of their rotation to trigger issues within the AL playoff image. They merely require baseline competence and a continued organizational dedication to being consumers when alternatives come up.

Extra probabilities to enhance sit in entrance of them. Having assured a enjoyable 2021 with their flurry of exercise this week, they’ll now take expectations to a different degree earlier than spring coaching.

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