Here we are at the dawn of the first game preseason for the Toronto Blue Jays, who will face the Braves Saturday in Florida. After losing one of its top players, will the Toronto team be able to make a run in the postseason for the third year in a row?
The Jays have lost a big chunk – one of the top 5 major league hitters since 2012 – in Edwin Encarnacion (Indians). Although this start is not a big surprise and the Jays quickly put Kendrys Morales (Royals) under contract to compensate for the departure of Encarnacion, the team will suffer of course.
While the Jays were associated with the names of Jay Bruce and Dexter Fowler during the off-season, Jose Bautista decided to offer a contract. The controversial star player had begun the season 2016 of a bizarre way, suggesting that since the owners of the Blue Jays were reaping a lot of profits, they had to offer him the contract he wanted.
A year ago, in February 2016, some media reported $ 125 million for five years. Today, Bautista is back with the Jays after signing a one-year deal worth 18 million. A difference.
Several veterans who seek to regain form have accepted minor league contracts associated with invitations to the club’s training camp with the Toronto team. This is the case of Mat Latos, Jake Elmore, Gregorio Petit and Jose Tabata, among others.
Perhaps the most exciting contract of the off-season was Lourdes Gurriel junior, a young Cuban deserter. The contract is $ 22 million. It is the brother of Yulieski Gurriel, who played with the Houston Astros since mid-season last year. The potential of the youngest Gurriel is unequivocal, but it is very difficult to judge the development ceiling of the player of 23 years since he has not played a single baseball game since 2015. We do not know great- Thing of this player, but the Jays have decided to install it at the short-stop for now. He will probably play in the AAA to start the season.
What to Expect in 2017
The Jays still count on one of the best league start-ups in the Major Leagues , despite the loss of veteran RA Dickey.
The heart of the team is also intact, but it is getting older.
Josh Donaldson (31) won the American title in 2015 and was awarded a silver stick in 2016, but recurring hip injuries are hurting her.
Fielder Jose Bautista (36) had a tough season in 2016. He missed a total of 46 games due to injuries, his defensive play was painstaking throughout the year, and his strike rate per appearance Has climbed to 19.9%, its highest percentage since the 2009 season. He finished 2016 with a batting average of, 234.
Last year, receiver Russell Martin (34) played more than a month of baseball on a single knee. He was operated in the inter-season. He will also miss the World Baseball Classic because of this injury.
Newcomer Kendrys Morales (33) had a tough start to the season with the Royals last year. Looking at his personal statistics, you quickly see that he is a very inconstant player. What version will we see in 2017 among the Jays?
At 25, Devon Travis is the youngest player everyday in attack, but he has never played a full season in the Major Leagues, he has never known how to avoid injuries.
The 2017 staff
Blue Jays of Toronto: 2nd in the Eastern US in 2016 (tied with the Baltimore Orioles)
Departures : 1B / FD Edwin Encarnacion (Indians), CG Michael Saunders (Phillies), RS Brett Cecil (Cardinals), RS Joaquin Benoit (Phillies), LP RA Dickey (Braves), 1B Chris Colabello (Indians)
Acquisitions : 1B / FD Kendrys Morales (Royals); Utility. Steve Pearce (Orioles), LR JP Howell (Dodgers), LR Joe Smith (Cubs), R Jarrod Saltalamacchia (Tigers)
Rotation (projected) : A. Sanchez; Mr. Estrada; J. Happ; Mr. Stroman; F. Liriano
Key Closers : 9th: R. Osuna; 8th: J. Grilli; 7th: J. Howell
Starting (projected) training : C: Russell Martin; 1B J. Smoak; 2B D. Travis; 3B: J. Donaldson; SS: T. Tulowitzki; CG: Mr. Upton; CC: K. Pillar; CD: Jose Bautista
Order of Batters (projected) :