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What Should the Blue Jays Look For in Spring Training?

With what felt like an extra long offseason, baseball is back. Spring Training is upon us, and this is where teams will really find out what they’ve got. The Blue Jays ended their season with a heartbreaking loss last season in the American League Wild Card game against the Minnesota Twins. Then, it was the “Offseason of Ohtani”. The Blue Jays were deep in talks with Shohei Ohtani, and they were a finalist in the bidding for the two-way star. Ultimately, the Dodgers landed the free agent and that put the Blue Jays in a bit of a scrum to make up for lost free agents. They decided to sign former Yankee Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and former Red Sox Justin Turner. Along with some lesser known pitchers and a couple minor leaguers, that was the Blue Jays’ offseason.

The Blue Jays want to be better this season. They’ve matured, and they want to come back with a vengeance. Their vengeance will start in Spring Training, first taking a look at their whole roster and really seeing what they have as a team. What should they be looking for in this month-long run before the season starts?

The first factor they should be focusing on: top prospect lefty Ricky Tiedemann. Ricky shot up the minor leagues last year, finishing his season in Triple-A Buffalo. He has the stuff to be a real threat on the mound in the major leagues, but as a coaching staff the Jays need to be careful with how they go about using him in these games. With a somewhat concerning injury history, Tiedemann needs to be managed well throughout this stretch, and the Jays should use him sparingly. He is still young, so they could use him in the bullpen to ramp up his major league experiences. Once he is ready, that is when you start him on the mound and see how he can handle himself.

One aspect of the team that is up in the air would be the opening day roster, and how they plan to platoon some of the guys who do not have permanent spots in the lineup. Players like Cavan Biggio, Davis Schneider, IKF, and Santiago Espinal among others, do not have a permanent role with this team. Spring Training can give you a really good idea of how these men are feeling come opening day, and you are able to get a good grasp on their play and how they handle themselves out on the field. With open spots at second and third base, those 4 guys are fighting for 2 spots. The most logical option is to play the analytical game, and see which guys match up best against certain teams and certain pitchers. But again, these games will tell a lot on what the pecking order should be when it comes to these open positions. Biggio, who should lead the group, had a good year in 2023 when he was platooned, hitting .235/.340/.370 with 9 home runs. Those numbers might not be all that impressive, but he competed in the most games of his career, and was reliable in the bottom half of the order.

The final factor they should be looking at is the back end of the bullpen. You’ve got your guys you know are in there: Jordan Romano, Erik Swanson, Tim Mayza, Yimi Garcia, and Trevor Richards. Those 5 guys tend to be locks come opening day, but you have 3 other spots that are not confirmed. This time that the team has now is the best time to figure out who you want to go with to start the season. Names like Nate Pearson, Genesis Cabrera, and Hagen Danner are potential options to fill the final bullpen spots. Again, Ricky Tiedemann is a fine option if these next couple weeks go well, with a heavy lefty in the bullpen that gives the Jays some options down the stretch.

The 2024 MLB Season starts for the Blue Jays on March 28th, where they will open the season against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, Florida. With a little over a month to iron things out, the Blue Jays have some things to look over in order to field their best lineup come Opening Day.


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