The Toronto Blue Jays made two of the most significant free agent signings this season, bringing in two quality offensive players who will help them contend with the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees in the AL East this season.
The club hopes to reach the playoffs this season, although there remains the question of whether the team will be allowed to play in the Rogers Centre this season.
The ongoing uncertainty over the Canadian border and the Ontario government’s restrictions on activities in the province has made things tough on the Jays.
This marks the second straight year that the Blue Jays made a significant move in the MLB free agency period. The team already brought in Hyun Jin Ryu last season, and now the team is hoping this year’s major acquisitions will make the club more appealing.
Holding it down, up the middle 💯 pic.twitter.com/4cX6ZuZt1I
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) February 13, 2021
There’s a chance the Jays could have done more, but uncertainty about where they will play might have made things tougher on them.
Two Major Moves
The Blue Jays acquired outfielder George Springer from the Houston Astros through a six-year contract. Springer was a critical part of the Astros’ rise to prominence the past few years. He had a .265 average with fourteen home runs last season.
He hopes to get at least thirty home runs this season, although whether he will benefit from the favorable conditions inside the Rogers Centre remains unclear.
The Blue Jays also signed second baseman Marcus Semien from the Oakland Athletics. He joins the team on a one-year deal a season after going .223 with seven home runs. He and Springer will compete with Teoscar Hernandez, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. for the team home run title.
Tyler White also joins the team this season after spending last season with the SK Wyverns of the KBO. White is a first baseman who spent some time with Houston and the Los Angeles Dodgers in the past. He will likely start the season with the AAA Buffalo Bisons.
Starting pitcher Robbie Ray resigned with the team with a one-year deal. Ray will be second on the rotation behind Ryu, although rising star Nate Pearson may challenge him for that spot. Ray had 68 strikeouts last season and hopes to get at least two hundred in 2021.
A few players left Toronto this offseason to other teams who have some certainty as to where they will play this season. Reliever Anthony Bass signed a two-year contract with the Miami Marlins, and starter Chase Anderson left for the Philadelphia Phillies.
He will be replaced in the rotation by Steven Matz, a pitcher the Jays acquired through a trade with the New York Mets. Infielders Joe Panik and Travis Shaw also did not have their contracts renewed by the Blue Jays.
Where Will They Play?
You can expect the Toronto Blue Jays to be strong contenders for the AL East title in 2021. The Jays have some great new pieces on offense, plus the team already has some of the most appealing young players in the league.
But everything could come down to whether the Ontario government will let them play in the Rogers Centre. The team could also consider playing at their spring training home of TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Florida. Whatever the case, the Blue Jays will be an interesting team to watch regardless of where they play this coming year.
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