It is time for the Toronto Blue Jays to open the season with an exciting young roster that got a boost with its biggest addition in franchise history.
Unfortunately for fans, it will likely be a while until the team makes their way north of the border because of the COVID pandemic keeping the team in the U.S. for the time being. What hasn’t changed is the expectation for this team to continue to take positive steps forward after a strong 2020 season.
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It won’t be an easy start to the season as they begin their season against the powerhouse New York Yankees. To make matters worse, they will be without their star free-agent acquisition George Springer.
The 31-year-old was placed on the 10-day injured reserve which means he will miss the opening stretch of the season. He isn’t the only player the team will be without in the first part of the season as Robbie Ray’s elbow injury will also keep him sidelined.
This isn’t an ideal way to start the season but this is something every MLB team needs to be prepared for. In the Blue Jays’ case, they believe their positional depth can help them overcome the loss of Springer, at least on a temporary basis.
Where the team’s injuries are a concern for Toronto is the impact it will have on the starting rotation that was already a major question mark this season. Losing Ray means that Ross Stripling will follow Hyun-Jin Ryu in the rotation and Charlie Montoyo announced that T.J. Zeuch will also face the Yankees.
A major talking point this offseason was the fact that the Blue Jays didn’t make it a point to bring in dependable arms in free agency. Now they have to hope that their internal options can pick up the slack.
This likely means the Blue Jays will be taking some of what they did last season where they had multiple pitchers to get through a game if they don’t have a starter ready. At some point, the team might have to trade for a starter but it seems like they will wait to make that decision depending on the position the team is in.
There are certainly more wild cards the team is hoping can be dependable contributors like Steven Matz, Tanner Roark, Zeuch, Trent Thornton, and maybe even Julian Merryweather. A couple of pitchers who could be in line for big opportunities include Anthony Kay and Thomas Hatch who will likely bounce around from Buffalo and the main roster.
Nate Pearson continues to work his way back from a groin injury and that’s a bit concerning considering injuries took away his 2020 season. That was supposed to be the season where he made his claim as an everyday major league pitcher.
What will help this pitching staff is that the Blue Jays lineup has the depth and the potential to be productive. While some are pointing to 2015 and 2016 as the benchmark for this team in terms of offensive potential, it’s important to remember that they are also younger and less experienced.
Regardless, there is a lot of reasons to be excited for the Blue Jays this season but while every team has its flaws, the way they overcome them will ultimately determine how the season goes.
What are your thoughts on the upcoming Blue Jays season? Do you think they can take the next step as a contender? Let us know in the comments below.