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2023 MLB season preview: AL East

vladdy jr blue jays
Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (27) reacts to a called strike against the Tampa Bay Rays in the third inning at Tropicana Field. (Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports)

Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays finished behind the Yankees last season with 92 wins and will aim to build upon that success, with some of the best players in baseball like Vladimir Guerrero Jr., exciting shortstop Bo Bichette and four-time All-Star George Springer. 

Toronto also signed free agent addition Brandon Belt, who has a plethora of playoff experience, to a one-year deal and still has Whit Merrifield, who was acquired from Kansas City. The Jays also have third baseman Matt Chapman who hit 27 home runs last season and is in the final year of his two-year, $25 million contract. 

The Blue Jays’ pitching staff is led by Alek Manoah, who posted a 2.24 ERA and struck out 180 batters in 196⅔ innings of work. They also added Chris Bassitt, who signed a three-year, $63 million contract following a stint with the New York Mets, and Jose Berrios to a seven-year, $131 million deal. Also, look for Kevin Gausman to have another strong season after striking out 205 batters last year. In addition to the starting rotation, the bullpen will feature Anthony Bass, Chad Green and Nate Pearson, whom all can contribute when their number is called. 

With some of baseball’s best talent, it’s easy to see that Toronto is a favorite to win the AL East, but toward the end of the 2023 season, expect the Blue Jays to be fighting for a wild-card spot. 

Prediction: 89-73, third place 

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