2017 American League East Preview: Can Red Sox Repeat?
#3 Toronto Blue Jays
Another bird that seems to be on a downward path than a soaring one, the Toronto Blue Jays will feel the loss of Michael Saunders and especially slugger Edwin Encarnacion. Yes, an addition of switch hitting designated hitter Kendrys Morales will soften the anguish a bit, but replacing any 40 HR/120 RBI player is virtually impossible to do.
The Blue Jays will still go strong at the middle of the order with Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson, and the aforementioned Morales. Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki still poses as a potential injury threat and his performance has been on the decline ever since arriving in Toronto in 2015. Surprisingly, the Blue Jays middle of the order might not be the strong suit of their 2017 season.
With the progression of young starters Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman, the Blue Jays appear to have two pitchers that will fortify the top of their rotation for years to come. Veterans Marco Estrada, J.A. Happ, and Francisco Liriano solidify a solid back end of the rotation. Newly extended manager John Gibbons can lead this team to a second wild-card spot, but don’t expect the Blue Jays to fly back to the top of the AL East anytime soon.