JA Happ, Drew Storen, Jesse Chavez
David Price, Ben Revere
You can argue the loss of Price is a major one however, when he was needed the most for his team in the playoffs he came up his shortest. This was a team on pace to win the division before the acquisition, and while in no way is Chavez and Happ better, the depth added for a cheaper price than Price can at least be accounted for. Storen is another nice move and the Jays bullpen should be looked at as one that is settling into a strong pen.
Projected Playoff Lineup
- Kevin Pillar
- Josh Donaldson
- Jose Bautista
- Edwin Encarnacion
- Troy Tulowitzki
- Michael Saunders
- Russell Martin
- Nick Goings
The heart of the Blue Jays lineup should still be the best one in baseball. They have to know that this is the year to strike given the talk about Jose Bautista and his contract and they may see some shifting soon given that Bautista is 35, and Encarnacion is now 33. Either way, on offense in 2016 there is no touching the heart of this lineup. Michael Saunders and Kevin Pillar are two guys who can complete the lineup after taking steps last year. Saunders has dealt with injury, but Pillar at the top is a guy who can really ignite the lineup in place of Revere. Pillar only struck out 13% of the time in his rookie year. He has speed and potential to get on and force the big four on opposing pitchers. Devon Travis is a guy to watch with Nick Goings. Goings took over for Travis when Travis went down to injury, and Travis should be back this year early on. Travis hit .304 with eight home runs in 62 games last year, so it could be something to ignite the Jays.
Without Price their isn’t glitz and glamour anymore, but this rotation may be just as good. Marcus Stroman missed most of 2015, but has a great arsenal of pitches, and at 24 has a lot of upside to like for a big 2016 campaign. Dickey is 41, but he pitches to a style where velocity doesn’t matter, and he is mainly reliant on the defense behind him. Happ and Estrada are interesting because both of them are coming of their best years of their career, Estrada doing so in Toronto. With Estrada at 33, and Happ at 32 it is hard to say they can build on their big years, but if they bring the same to the table this is a deep and solidly talented rotation. Sanchez once had prospect pedigree, but had an average rookie year. He wasn’t missing a lot of bats but if he can progress, he is only 23 years old and as the guy rounding out your rotation there isn’t much to dislike.
As mentioned, the Blue Jays beefed up their bullpen through free agency and they also have improving relievers in the system. Chavez can serve as the sixth starter and long reliever, and the 7-8-9 of Brett Cecil, Robert Osuna, and Drew Storen can be shut down. With the offense being so dominant, it is good to see that they added a group of arms to insure the depth in the rotation is better than what it was last year.
The Blue Jays should have what it takes to repeat. The loss of Price can be a bit overlooked due to the little he gave them, and the additions of a full season of Stroman, Chavez, Storen and Happ can outweigh what they lost. The organization has to know this is a time to strike. They should be looked at as the division favorites, and it will be interesting to see if they buyers at the deadline, and if so what for.
1st in the AL East