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Uninspiring start

DAN CEARNS The Standard

We’re well into the Major League Baseball offseason, and there’s one word which can be used to describe how it’s going for the Toronto Blue Jays: underwhelming.

While the team struck out on their pursuit of superstar Shohei Ohtani, there doesn’t seem to have been a real quality backup plan, for the team, from this management group.

Since Ohtani signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Jays have brought back Kevin Kiermaier, from last season’s team, and signed Isiah Kiner-Falefa, formerly of the New York Yankees. Yes, Kiner-Falefa can play multiple positions, but his career high for home runs is eight and he has never played a full season, for either the Yankees or the Texas Rangers. At best, I’d describe it as a depth signing.

While the offseason is not over yet, and teams still have a chance to make signings and trades, from what General Manager Ross Atkins said in his press conference, the Jays may only sign one more player before the start of the season.

This comment is kind of deflating, given the team has been swept in three straight first round playoff series and have not had playoff success since 2016. With a roster containing Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr., in their prime, this team needs to go for it and keep the competitive window open.

The Jays are also in a competitive sports market in Toronto, given the constant popularity of the Leafs, Raptors and Toronto FC. If the team stays stagnant too long, they could risk further attendance issues.

While it’s disappointing, I think the Jays can get a pass on missing out on Ohtani. They were in a competitive field and finished a promising second place to the Dodgers. While they lost out, at least they gave it their all. I think where the criticism should lie is, they, so far, have not seemed to identify a possible free agent or trade candidate of star quality or greater, to look to acquire in place. It was always a risk, Ohtani was going to go elsewhere, and so far, the team has not seemed to pivot in response.

I hope the Jays find a way to make a real difference to their roster because on paper, at least, this team looks weaker than it was last season.

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