2018 Toronto Blue Jays Opening Lines
A Troubling 2017
No one expected the Toronto Blue Jays to be as terrible as they were last season.
We correctly predicted they would underperform, but they even managed to surprise us. During the offseason, the Canadian team was the fourth favored team to win the World Series.
If anyone recalls, they had a record worst start to the season, and they never secured enough offense to be able to be a consistent winning team. The Blue Jays ended up fourth in the AL East, with a single game lead over the Orioles, finishing the season 76-86. May was their only winning month. Their subpar season caused them to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2014.
Will 2018 Be Better?
The big, but the unsurprising news is that Jose Bautista is entering free agency after his $17 million mutual option was declined. This will give the Jays a better chance to move forward, and perhaps pick up some free agents who are better at providing the offense this team sorely needs. Bautista was only averaging .203 in 587 ABs. Josh Donaldson missed part of the season but should improve their offense next year if he plays sans injury.
Bautista will most likely be replaced by an experienced outfielder, like Lorenzo Cain or Jay Bruce. Both offer their respective strengths on offense as well. Christian Yelich would be a good fit, but might not be worth what the Jays are willing to give up. Teoscar Hernandez would be another choice as right fielder, and currently seems like the popular option.
Blue Jays Lines To Win Their Division
There aren't betting lines out yet for this, but it's not looking good. Coming in fourth place in 2017, the Blue Jays will need significant improvement if they want to secure a division win and leapfrog the Rays, Red Sox, and Yankees. It would be quite a feat, but not probable.
Blue Jays Lines To Win the World Series
Currently, the Jays are +2800 to win the World Series, basically tied for the 10th favored team to win in 2018. This is a far cry from their fourth favored spot in 2017. Looking at it another way, that's a lot of extra value you can get in just a year, especially since the Blue Birds are only going to improve this season.
Blue Jays Early Prediction for 2018
With Bautista gone, Toronto will have a chance to replace his position with a more consistent player. But even with their current players, they should be an improvement.
They've gotten rid of the weak links in their bullpen, and their starting pitching with Stroman, Estrada, and Liriano, is still top notch. Barring any injuries to key players, they should be able to secure around 80 wins this season. It's a slight bit better then 2017, but without a big move, this team will be stuck in 3rd or 4th in the division. Maybe even last if the Orioles get better.
If a major offseason move takes place though, look for the Blue Birds to hit the 90 win range, which is ripe for getting in the postseason, most likely through the Wild Card. Offense from an Ozuna or Stanton can spark this team and turn them around, giving them a chance against powerhouse teams like the Red Sox and Yankees, turning them into 50-50 matchups.
At +2800, there's definitely value, as they'll surely perform much better than in 2017 when they were at +1100. Their starting pitching and bullpen can take them far, but they'll have to work on filling in the offensive gaps. Hopefully, they'll have a solution before March.
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