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Expectations for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2024

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Photo credit:Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports
Nick Prasad
1 month ago
The year 2023 has concluded and we’re into 2024. As we prepare for a new start in various aspects, we reflect on the long, winding baseball season that unfolded for the Toronto Blue Jays. The team entered the year with high expectations, amplified by various off-season moves and media attention, and wound up finishing with largely the same result as they did in 2022.
The Blue Jays finished the season with an 89-73 record, third in the notorious American League East. That’s three wins short of what they accomplished in 2022, very similar in nature. The Blue Jays looked to step up from a devastating exit in the American League Wild Card series. Instead, fate repeated itself, as Toronto got swept aside by the Minnesota Twins in a series that resulted in management taking heat for some questionable strategy decisions.
Looking at it from a positive perspective, the Blue Jays made the playoffs for the third time in four seasons, so they were again in the mix of competitive teams. That being said, an early exit from the first round to a mediocre opponent is beneath expectations for the club. To be stung twice in the same position two years in a row in a failure, especially after additions were made to the club for betterment.
The team’s pitching was where it was estimated to be, but the offence was horribly inconsistent and almost non-existent for long stretches. Offensive let-downs began with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the heart of the order, Matt Chapman disappeared after a nuclear April, and the bat of Daulton Varsho ever arrived from Arizona.
With such an impactful clump of cons, the Jays turned to the start of the off-season to attempt to move back in the right direction. As if the postseason elimination was not enough, the painkillers wore off in time for a huge disappointment in the Shohei Ohtani fiesta. The media-promised gift from the baseball gods to Toronto chose Hollywood, forcing the Blue Jays front office to steer toward a detour route.
The holiday season placed Kevin Kiermaier and Isiah Kiner-Falefa in our stockings as a first step to re-juicing the talent levels, but there’s still a long way to go for the Blue Jays to generate the amount of excitement this year that they have in previous years. What will 2024 look like? What needs to happen this year?

Sep 26, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays manager John Schneider (14) watches the play from the dugout against the New York Yankees during the seventh inning at Rogers Centre.

1. The Blue Jays need to finish the off-season strong

The Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees have made the off-season market scarce by scooping up a handful of the limited game-changing options. Juan Soto was moved to the Bronx, while Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Tyler Glasnow hopped on the Ohtani train to Hollywood. Also recently going to the Dodgers was former Blue Jay Teoscar Hernandez.
The Blue Jays need reinforcements in the lineup badly. Kiermaier and IKF maintain the team’s strong defence, but neither should be leaned on as a key piece offensively. The big names left out there are a pair of good-not-great players in Matt Chapman and Cody Bellinger, so the Blue Jays might look for value in the bargain bin instead.

2. The Blue Jays need to replenish their farm system

Part of why it’s so important for the Blue Jays to make some improvements this winter is that it won’t be easy to do so via trade during the season. The organization is in the bottom half to bottom third in all major scouting rankings when it comes to its farm system, with Ricky Tiedemann as the one name with All-Star upside.
The International Signing Period, which opens on January 15, will offer the Blue Jays an opportunity to add some talent to the system. The team is expected to sign highly-touted shortstop Kennew Blanco, though many names will be added in the coming weeks. After that, the Blue Jays will turn their attention to the 2024 MLB Draft to backfill some areas of need, such as power hitters and starting pitchers.

3. The Blue Jays need to take a step in the playoffs

The American League East will be re-awarded in 2024 yet again, as the New York Yankees will regain the throne from the Baltimore Orioles. The Blue Jays have the longest drought among the five AL East teams when it comes to winning the division but it doesn’t appear that’ll end soon. That said, the Blue Jays have the foundation of a playoff team, and rebound years from the likes of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Alek Manoah could see their record take a jump.
Ultimately, the Blue Jays need to actually win a playoff round this year. A failure to do so could, and probably should, result in some changes, both to the front office and to the core of the team.

ARTICLE PRESENTED BY BETANO

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