GOOD NEWS Blue Jays is in the spotlight as pitchers and catchers prepare to report for spring training.

Last season, the 2022 AL Cy Young Award finalist was twice sent to the minor levels.

Along with the team’s catchers, starter Alek Manoah will be among the Blue Jays pitchers reporting to spring training on Thursday in Dunedin, Florida. Since being sent to the minor levels for the second time last summer, he has maintained a quiet profile. (File/Getty Images/Mark Blinch)

This week marks the start of Toronto Blue Jays spring training, as they look forward to the season and attempt to forget about their most recent postseason loss.

The team will hold its first formal exercise at the Player Development Complex in Dunedin, Florida on Thursday in order to get ready for the Grapefruit League opener on February 24 against the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Blue Jays, who have lost to Tampa Bay in three of the last four wild-card rounds, will play their first regular-season game on March 28. Five narratives are shown here as they arrive at camp:

Manoah reappears
Since being sent down to the minor levels for the second time last summer, starting pitcher Alek Manoah has maintained a quiet profile.

He was a nominee for the American League Cy Young Award in 2022, but he had a very difficult year. He’ll have an opportunity to publicly discuss what happened when he was sent to Triple-A Buffalo in August very shortly.

Manoah eventually made the decision to come to Buffalo, but he reportedly refused to report to the Bisons and didn’t pitch. The Blue Jays announced in the middle of September that he will not be playing this season due to several injections in his pitching arm.

Is he prepared to pitch now? How does he get along with the team? Does he think he can become the all-star he once was?

Soon, the large right-hander himself will tell us.

Record of arbitration
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., the first baseman, was given the $19.9 million US by a three-person panel last week, and the Blue Jays lost their arbitration case against him.

In MLB salary arbitration, the team’s offer of $18.05 million would have set a record as well.

Given that Guerrero is a franchise cornerstone and will be a free agent following the 2025 season, the team’s choice seemed puzzling. Arbitration can cause friction at times since a team must argue why it believes a player isn’t worth the desired salary.

With star shortstop Bo Bichette signing a three-year deal that covered his remaining arbitration seasons, the Blue Jays were able to sidestep the process last year. Bichette is also expected to become a free agency following the 2025 season, barring a contract extension.

calm off-season
The Toronto front office’s lackluster off-season finally began to take shape during the past several weeks with the one-year contract extension for veteran slugger Justin Turner and the five-year pact for reliever Yariel Rodriguez.

Despite being 39 years old, Turner had a successful season with the Boston Red Sox. With 23 home runs and 96 runs batted in, he had a.276 average last year.

The two-time all-star shared the 2017 National League Championship Series MVP award and won a World Series with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2020.

In the previous year’s World Baseball Classic, Rodriguez, 26, pitched for Cuba. He pitched in Cuban and Japanese leagues in the past.

The Blue Jays re-signed center-fielder Kevin Kiermaier to a one-year contract earlier in the off-season and added infielder Isiah Kiner-Falefa to a two-year deal.

Don Mattingly, the Blue Jays’ bench coach, will have more responsibilities this season as a result of the team adding the newly established function of offensive coordinator to his title.

Guillermo Martinez, the hitting coach who is back, will work with him to try to strengthen an offense that battled in the playoffs and was erratic last season.

During his 14-year playing career with the New York Yankees, Mattingly was a six-time all-star. Later on, he was the Miami Marlins’ and Dodgers’ manager.

With Luis Rivera’s retirement, Carlos Febles will be the third base coach this season. For six seasons, Febles played the same position for the Boston Red Sox.

radio waves
The Blue Jays will have a new radio voice in 2024.

Ben Wagner is replaced in the role by Ben Shulman, who called 31 games in the previous campaign.

Wagner was fired by Sportsnet in November of last year. As the team’s play-by-play commentator for six seasons, he was not extended by the network.

Dan Shulman, the play-by-play man for the Blue Jays on television, is the father of Shulman.

 

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