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The Toronto Blue Jays won at least 89 games for the third straight season in 2023, and they made the playoffs for the third time in four years. 


There's always that "but," right? Yeah, the Blue Jays still haven't won a playoff game since 2016 and it could be argued that it's been an underachievement to not win more than 92 games in a season in this window of contention with the talent they've assembled. 

Last offseason, the Blue Jays shifted gears with their approach. The team that led the AL in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage while finishing second in the league in runs decided to do a quick makeover with the roster and focus more on run prevention. The pitching and defense were certainly better, but the Jays dropped to fifth in the AL in average, eighth in slugging and eighth in runs scored. 

Now with third baseman Matt Chapman, center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, utility man Whit Merrifield and designated hitter/first baseman Brandon Belt hitting free agency, the Blue Jays have the opportunity to re-focus on building an imposing offense. It's just a matter of how they want to go about filling those holes. It's possible someone like Davis Schneider has won a full-time job, but expect the Blue Jays to add two or three impact bats to the fray this coming offseason, whether via free agency or trade. 

Here's what they should do. 

1. Sign Shohei Ohtani

Easy enough, right? 

Hey, someone is going to sign Ohtani and it's been reported that the Blue Jays are seen as a "sleeper" in the sweepstakes. 

Ohtani would immediately fill the opening left at DH by left-handed swinger Belt and would be a lot better and more imposing. Speaking of imposing, how does this sound for a top four in the lineup: 

1. George Springer
2. Bo Bichette
3. Shohei Ohtani
4. Vladimir Guerrero, Jr.

That's fun, huh? 

Not that we need to add a pitching element here with Ohtani, given that he's good enough to warrant room being made for him in 2025 when he's ready to return to the mound from Tommy John surgery, but they'll have a need. 

Kevin Gausman, Chris Bassitt and José Berríos will still be around for 2025, but Yusei Kikuchi will hit free agency after 2024 and there's no telling what is going to come of Alek Manoah here in the next year. 

Look, Ohtani can fit with any of the 30 teams because he's the best baseball player in the world, but he's actually a perfect fit on these Blue Jays. No shuffling at all is required. Just drop him in. 

2. Let Chapman walk, sign Turner

Matt Chapman is a free agent, as mentioned. It might be tempting to bring him back with his power upside and excellent glove at third base. I just think they could better dedicate their resources elsewhere since they need offense so badly. Chapman hit just .240/.330/.424 last season and that line is misleading in light of his scorching hot start to the season. After May 9, Chapman hit .203/.294/.366 with just 12 homers in 105 games along with 128 strikeouts. He was actually a detriment with the bat. 

Justin Turner is 39 years old and that's a concern, obviously, but I still believe in him as a strong offensive option in free agency. He hit .276/.345/.455 (114 OPS+) with 31 doubles, 23 homers and 96 RBI last season. He'd look great as an RBI man behind that top four listed in the Ohtani section above. 

The good news about Turner's age is the Jays could get him on a short-term commitment while Chapman might get a five-year (or more) deal. 

3. Reunite with an outfielder

Former Blue Jays outfielders Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Teoscar Hernández are both free agents and they are great fits here. With Kiermaier hitting free agency, the Blue Jays could elect to bring him back or they could shuffle their outfield defense to bring back either Hernández or Gurriel. 

Both Hernández and Gurriel would make upgrades over Kiermaier offensively -- with Hernández's upside being higher -- and the Jays will have to decide if the downgrade on defense is worth the trade off. If not, bringing back Kiermaier would make sense. 

Let's just say for the sake of argument that the Jays sign Ohtani, Turner and Hernández. Here's how things would look, topically, with the roster: 


  1. George Springer, RF
  2. Bo Bichette, SS
  3. Shohei Ohtani, DH
  4. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 1B
  5. Justin Turner, 3B
  6. Teoscar Hernández, LF
  7. David Schneider, 2B
  8. Alejandro Kirk, C
  9. Daulton Varsho, CF


  • RHP Kevin Gausman
  • RHP José Berríos
  • RHP Chris Bassitt
  • LHP Yusei Kikuchi
  • RHP Alek Manoah


Closer: RHP Jordan Romano
Setup: RHP Erik Swanson, LHP Génesis Cabrera. LHP Tim Mayza, RHP Yimi García

That's enough talent to win the World Series right there. It would take a major cash outlay, notably the Ohtani move, but the windfall a World Series title would bring back is worth it. Plus, Toronto is a huge market. The Jays can absolutely afford to run a large payroll. 

If they do miss out on Ohtani, I think sticking with this roadmap and signing at least two from the Hernández-Gurriel-Kiermaier group works well -- just not quite as well as grabbing the best player in the game.