The Toronto Blue Jays were already one of the premier teams in baseball heading into this season. Their busy offseason only enhances the hype around them.
Although the Blue Jays lost stars Robbie Ray and Marcus Semien, they replaced them with other high-level players. Toronto bolstered tits already strong pitching depth with Kevin Gausman and Yusei Kikuchi and traded for star third baseman Matt Chapman. Gausman and Kikuchi join a rotation with Jose Berrios, Hyun Jin Ryu and Alek Manoah.
For Opening Day, the Blue Jays are rolling with a more familiar face on the mound. Manager Charlie Montoyo said that he is going with Berrios on the mound because he is a great teammate and pitcher. Gausman will be second in the rotation.
Montoyo on why they named Berríos: "Great makeup. Great teammate. And of course, he's a good pitcher. Every time he takes the mound, we got a chance to win. That's all you can ask about a pitcher." https://t.co/PoMIlLSNlP
— Kaitlyn McGrath (@kaitlyncmcgrath) March 31, 2022
The Blue Jays acquired Berrios in a midseason trade from the Minnesota Twins last season. The two-time All-Star posted an ERA of 3.58 and 10.0 strikeouts per nine innings in 70.1 innings with Toronto last season. He walked just 1.7 batters per nine innings as a Jay. Berrios compared his excitement to start on Opening Day with the first day of school.
“I’m so happy. I’m so glad I have the chance to pitch that first day,” Berríos said. “It’s like when you were young, and that first day you go to school. It’s the same feelings, same emotions. I’m so excited for that day now. I know when I tell my family, they’re going to enjoy and celebrate.”
Toronto has very big expectations for this season. Competing for the American League East title is the bare minimum following their breakout 2021 campaign. The Blue Jays will host the Texas Rangers, who had a busy offseason themselves with the additions of Semien, Corey Seager, Jon Gray and Mitch Garver, to start their season.