With Opening Day now just a day away, it’s time to get crazy. There are certain expectations of the Blue Jays and their players this season, but we here at Jays Balk are going to go above and beyond, predicting some thing that *might* happen in 2016.
1. Roberto Osuna won’t finish the season as the closer
Okay, I know we’re coming right out of the gate with a Debbie Downer, and I hope I’m wrong. But whether it’s due to injury or inconsistency, I believe we’ll see Drew Storen in 9th before the year is done. In fact, I think it could be before we hit the dog days of summer.
There is nothing statistically to indicate Osuna won’t be able to handle the job again. Let’s just call this one a gut feeling.
2. Troy Tulowitzki will hit 35 home runs, drive in 110
We never really saw the real Tulo last year, and it’s widely believed 2015 was simply a down season for him. Add in the culture shock of coming to Toronto mid-season, and it was the perfect disaster. Tulo is healthy this year, without having to rehab any major injuries in the off-season, and is more acclimatized to his surroundings. Much like Josh Donaldson last year, I think he’ll emerge as more of a focal point in this offence, with a full year in hitter-friendly parks in the American League East, while topping the 30/105 numbers he posted in his career-best 2011 campaign.
3. J.A. Happ will lose 13 games
This one might be a bit of a stretch, since the offence will likely save him enough to avoid 13 tallies in the L column. Maybe it should read, “Happ will pitch poorly enough to earn 13 losses”. I could see an ERA bordering 5.00, and a high home run total. Count me unsold that he figured out how to pitch in two months in Pittsburgh. Even if he did, I’m skeptical those results follow him back north to this menacing division.
4. Jose Bautista will re-sign with the Blue Jays
As the kids say, big if true.
I’d give Jose 4 years and $30 million per, no problem. Will he take that? Nobody knows of course, but if Bautista is willing to negotiate, I think the brass finds a way to keep him around and let him retire as a Blue Jay.
5. Blue Jays will win 100 games
A full season of this offence? Yeah. This doesn’t seem like much of a stretch at all. Health will be an important factor throughout the line-up, but I think the rotation, especially with Aaron Sanchez being added to Marcus Stroman, R.A. Dickey and Marco Estrada, will be more than adequate enough to propel the team to its first century mark season in franchise history.
(Bonus: the Jays will also win the World Series. And I wrote this before Jayson Stark did.)