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Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins on remaining off-season moves: ‘I don’t think we’ll add three players, likely closer to one’

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Photo credit:Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports
Thomas Hall
3 months ago
The Toronto Blue Jays’ 2023-24 off-season has felt a tad underwhelming for most thus far, with the organization having yet to address its run creation despite making a pair of run prevention-related acquisitions. But fans probably shouldn’t expect a flurry of moves to be made between now and the start of spring training.
While speaking to the media on Wednesday for the first time since last month’s Winter Meetings in Nashville, general manager Ross Atkins expressed excitement regarding the recent signings of centre fielder Kevin Kiermaier and super utility player Isiah Kiner-Falefa. He also said the club continues to explore additional offensive upgrades.
Where might those occur? As currently constructed, the Blue Jays GM is still looking to add another outfielder or an everyday DH to this roster before next season. But in all likelihood, it will probably end up being one or the other rather than both.
“I don’t think we’ll add three players. I think, most likely, that it’s closer to one,” Atkins said via Zoom.
Several key offensive contributions underperformed in 2023, including Vladimir Guerrero Jr., George Springer and Alejandro Kirk. But Atkins is confident all three, plus the rest of Toronto’s lineup, will return to form during the 2024 campaign and produce results closer to their career norms.
The Blue Jays staff has worked diligently over the winter with each player to correct last season’s woes, whether they were suffering from mechanical or approach-based issues, to ensure this offence doesn’t finish middle of the pack in the power department for a second straight season.
A future addition or two is likely in the cards, according to Atkins. But for the most part, the brunt of the club’s offensive improvement will probably need to occur internally, as the front office projects multiple players to enjoy bounce-back performances in 2024.
Providing their players with improved support channels is one solution Atkins feels will prove beneficial, which is why the Blue Jays have promoted Matt Hague to their big-league coaching staff as an assistant hitting coach. He spent last season at triple-A Buffalo as the Bisons’ hitting coach, with many raving about his blend of data analytics and baseball knowledge.
The 38-year-old coach comes with 10 seasons of minor-league experience and spent 43 games in the majors from 2012-15, 10 of which he logged with the Blue Jays in ’15. After playing his final season in 2018, he turned to coaching and joined Dunedin Blue Jays as a hitting coach for the 2020 campaign, only for it to be cancelled by the COVID-19 pandemic.
One season later, Hague was promoted to double-A New Hampshire to serve in a similar role.
As for the Blue Jays’ third-base job, Atkins said they’ll likely rotate multiple players through the hot corner but feels confident about the group he’s constructed, which includes Kiner-Falefa, Santiago Espinal and Cavan Biggio.
Kiner-Falefa won a Gold Glove at third base with the Texas Rangers in 2020, as he led the American League in DRS (+7) and OAA (+5) across 366.1 innings. So the Blue Jays’ defence shouldn’t take a drastic step back if free agent Matt Chapman – who won his fourth career GG last season – signs elsewhere.
With spring training less than two months away, the push is on for Atkins to add much-needed power reinforcements to this team while many intriguing bats remain available on the open market.

ARTICLE PRESENTED BY BETANO

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