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What early projections tell us about Blue Jays' off-season roadmap

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The next few weeks will seemingly be quiet for the Toronto Blue Jays. Their players have long since scattered in search of a little rest after after a 95-loss season. And while last October was defined by the club’s managerial search, fewer personnel changes are on the horizon this year.

Relatively speaking, then, this month should be calm, but the next few weeks are nonetheless critical for the Blue Jays front office. With the off-season approaching, this time represents a chance to get a head start on some upcoming decisions.

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So, once the off-season begins in earnest, what exactly will the Blue Jays do? Or – to approach it from another angle – how do the Blue Jays see themselves? If we can answer that second question, perhaps the front office’s plans will become a little easier to anticipate.

Let’s start with what we know. Last week at the team’s season-ending media availability, GM Ross Atkins said the Blue Jays are prepared to spend more this winter than they have during the preceding two off-seasons. That might mean $60-70 million in total spend, with much of that directed toward 2020. Pitching will be their priority.

That’s still pretty abstract, though. For a little more precision on where the Blue Jays stand, I turned to Dan Szymborski, the founder of the widely respected ZiPS projection systems that are a reference point for executives league-wide. While the official 2020 numbers aren’t out yet, Szymborski, now a FanGraphs senior writer, shared some preliminary projections with Sportsnet.

In some cases the Blue Jays’ internal forecasting would of course differ from these numbers, but this gets us far closer than back-of-the-envelope guesswork. Collectively, the projections have the potential to hint at the Blue Jays’ next steps.

Big picture, how do the Blue Jays look?

The projections are kind to Toronto’s position players, but does that pitching staff ever look vulnerable. Let’s start with the hitters.

The early ZiPS model........

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