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A mid-January projection of the Jays’ opening day roster

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It’s been more than three months since Ross Atkins sat at a Rogers Centre podium and explained the 95-loss season his ball club had just completed.

Impact was needed, the Toronto Blue Jays GM said, a much different line of thinking than the quest for depth that had marked the 2017 and 2018 off-seasons.

Fast forward about 14 weeks and the Blue Jays have spent $40-plus million on the 2020 roster, with top-of-the-rotation lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu’s $20-million salary accounting for almost half of that investment as part of an eye-opening four-year, $80-million pact.

There’s no arguing the fact that this rebuild is starting to turn a corner, and the Atkins and Mark Shapiro-led front office has moved on to the next step in an effort to inch back towards postseason contention.

How much their young team can improve on the 67 wins from a year ago remains to be seen, but there’s no doubt this roster is much better today than it was the day Atkins laid out his off-season plan back in October.

A month away from Blue Jays pitchers and catchers taking to the field in Dunedin, Fla. on Feb. 13, here’s an in-depth look at how the opening day roster and lineup configurations could shake out.


Danny Jansen

Reese McGuire

Outside looking in: No one yet

Both earn high marks for their work behind the plate, including regularly stealing strikes with their pitch framing, leaving the pitching staff in good hands on a daily basis.

Blue Jays catcher Danny Jansen joins Bryan Hayes, Jeff O’Neill and Jonas Siegel to discuss the Jays’ off-season acquisitions, his thoughts on sign stealing and his role as one of the club’s young core.

Offensively, they complement each other well, with Jansen hitting from the right side and McGuire from the left.

It may be more of a 60/40 situation in Jansen’s favour rather than a strict platoon heading into the spring, but McGuire’s offensive upside may be understated and either could emerge as the season progresses.

There’s a reason rival clubs were asking about one or the other in trade talks this winter – it’s a good situation behind the plate for manager Charlie Montoyo, especially if Jansen rebounds a little bit with the bat after posting just a 68 wRC in his first full season.

A veteran depth option will be added before mid-February, but that player will be stashed at Triple-A as injury insurance.


1B Travis Shaw

2B Cavan Biggio

3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

SS Bo Bichette

Backups: 1B Rowdy Tellez, INF Brandon Drury

Outside looking in: 2B/SS Santiago Espinal, 2B/3B Breyvic Valera

Two things stand out when you take a look at this infield group: 1) All four starters are sons of former big-league all-stars, with Shaw and his dad, former closer Jeff Shaw, joining the kids. 2) It’s a much more versatile right side of the infield from the days when Devon Travis and Justin Smoak were around, as Biggio and Shaw can both capably play at least three positions.

That versatility is what........