The Toronto Blue Jays are getting busy this offseason as they've already landed star center fielder George Springer and lefty slugger Michael Brantley. These two additions are monstrous alongside their young core of Vladdy Jr., Bichette, and Biggio, but will it be enough to take over the AL East?
If the young bucks in Toronto turn out, then they have a chance. Until we see more out of that group, it's likely we see a wildcard series north of the border. Also, we don't know what the Yankees' roster will look like in a month, so let's at least try to tame our excitement.
So far, Toronto did everything you can do in a "pandemic" off-season. Revenues for all teams are down across the board, yet the Blue Jays decided this was the perfect time to strike.
And they're right.
What better time is there to land two middle-of-the-order bats than an off-season where owners are taking turns making excuses for why they can't spend? Reality is that Jays' ownership desperately wants to win, while the Yankees' front office takes interest in additions that excite their fanbase. That excitement and hope is "revenue" without having to take any risk. The perfect business model and they don't even have to try to win to accomplish their goal.
Meanwhile, Toronto is taking all the risk in the world to kick the door open for the American League East. It's glorious.
How do they stack up with New York?
Well, they have the lineup to score runs with any team in baseball. George Springer, Bo Bichete, Michael Brantley, Vladdy Jr., Cavan Biggio Jr.? Who else has a lineup 1-5 that can potentially bat .300 as a unit? Nobody has that potential, but more important to understand that they aren't slapping singles, either. Outside of Biggio, that's four bats at the top of the order that can put the ball in the seats with ease.
Now of course the Yankees possess similar offensive fire power, but where they separate themselves is on the mound. New York comes into 2021 with ace Gerrit Cole and former Cy Young winner Corey Kluber in that pitching staff. Nothing to else behind those two, really, so you'd think the Jays might have a chance to run them down.
Unfortunately for our friends up north, the Bombers have a lights-out bullpen that serves as a bail-out for that starting rotation. According to FanGraphs, last year's Yankees had the second-best bullpen in the bigs.
A deep and well-rounded bullpen is wildly underrated when racing for a divisional title, because over the course of a 162-game season--bats slump...pitchers rarely do.
Also, the Yankees aren't done building
Yankees' GM Brian Cashman is expected to make a splash or two in that rotation, so that doesn't help Toronto's chances. Can the Jays get off to a blazing start and outrun the Yankees if their injury history repeats itself?
Absolutely. Regardless of outcome, Jays fans should be celebrating as there's a new movement in the game of baseball: Competing > profits.