- Opening Day for the 2023 MLB season is March 30.
- The Blue Jays play their season opener against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.
It’s a new year, and the newly upgraded Rogers Centre is ready to make waves.
The upgrades have raised the outfield walls (all previously 10 feet, now ranging from 8 feet to 14 feet, 4 inches) and brought them in rather significantly. The outfield wall in left center has been moved in seven feet (375 to 368), and more significantly, the outfield wall in right center has been moved in 16 feet (375 to 359). With these new hitter-friendly dimensions, I expect we’ll see a lot more home runs at the already home-run-heavy Rogers Centre in 2023.
There have also been some moves in Toronto’s front office. Having been appointed the Blue Jays’ interim manager on July 13, 2022, John Schneider has now officially taken on the position permanently. The team performed well under his leadership last season, though their exit from the playoffs ended earlier than expected with their elimination in the Wild Card series.
So, are the Blue Jays ready to go all the way in 2023, or will it be yet another year of far-too-high expectations?
Toronto Blue Jays Offseason Transactions
The Blue Jays didn’t have much to fix this offseason, with a large portion of their young roster still under club control.
Starter Ross Stripling left Toronto, which could strain a pitching rotation already lacking depth. Jackie Bradley Jr. and David Phelps also declared free agency, and Bradley Zimmer and Raimel Tapia became free agents after being designated for assignment.
— Brennan Delaney (@Brennan_L_D) March 5, 2023
On Dec. 16, 2022, the Blue Jays signed Chris Bassitt to a three-year, $63 million contract, and he will presumably slot into the rotation as Stripling’s replacement. In 2022 with the New York Mets, Bassitt went 15-9 with an ERA of 3.42 and 167 strikeouts, so he should be an asset to Toronto this season.
A team already known for its right-handed power at the plate, the Blue Jays signed two left-handed batters in outfielder Kevin Kiermaier (one-year, $9 million) and Brandon Belt (one-year, $9.3 million). They secured a third lefty by acquiring Daulton Varsho in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Adding some left-handed power to the lineup could be a real difference-maker for the Blue Jays, especially with the right outfield changes at the Rogers Centre.
Toronto Blue Jays Odds
- Odds to Win AL East: +200
- Odds to Win American League: +650
- Odds to Win World Series: +1400
All odds are as of March 15.
Toronto Blue Jays Win Total
The Blue Jays’ win total for the 2023 season is 91.5.
Prior to last season’s record of 92-70, the Blue Jays hadn’t recorded over 91.5 wins since 2015 (93-69). Before that, it was 1993, when they took home the World Series title for the second consecutive year. I don’t think 91.5 wins is out of the question for the Blue Jays in 2023, but they’ll have to be on their game from Opening Day.
Toronto Blue Jays Predictions
Prediction: The Toronto Blue Jays will not win the AL East.
I expect the Blue Jays to have another strong season this year, but I don’t think they’ll be able to edge the New York Yankees out of first place to win the AL East.
The Blue Jays have two of the best starters in the league — Alek Manoah and Kevin Gausman. Bassitt had a great 2022 season with the Mets. Jose Berrios and Yusei Kikuchi can both be unreliable, but when they’re good, they’re very good. As I said above, the biggest issue for Toronto’s pitching is the lack of depth. I can see the team trying to pick up at least one strong arm before the trade deadline.
However, anything the Blue Jays lack in pitching depth, they make up for on offense. George Springer, Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Alejandro Kirk, Matt Chapman, Whit Merrifield, and now with new additions Varsho, Belt, and Kiermaier? It’s all hits and no skips in Toronto.
The Yankees will likely always be a problem in the AL East, but that doesn’t mean the Blue Jays aren’t fierce. I still think Toronto will be a team to watch in 2023, and I’ll be surprised if they don’t get a playoff berth via a Wild Card spot.
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