So… The Jays or the Mariners?
The Blue Jays and Mariners are among the top up and coming teams in all of baseball. They do it in different ways, but it's clear we will see these two battle it out in many more playoff series. Considering all the talent, how do these two stack up heading into 2023?
Offense: The Blue Jays remain the leader in this category, but I believe the gap has shrunk. The addition of Teoscar Hernandez and his 127 OPS+ lengthens the lineup for Seattle that it doesn't feel so inferior to Toronto. While the duo of Guerrero and Bichette is better than any duo you'd like to add to Julio, the gap has closed
Pitching: The acquisitions of Chris Bassitt and Erik Swanson helped two of the weakest area for Toronto, but they continue to pale in comparison to what Seattle has. We saw the difference between Luis Castillo and Alek Manoah in October, and the quality of depth in the rotation and bullpen in Seattle just overwhelms anything Toronto can throw at it.
This is a close call, but with a strong farm system for each team, it's possible we see one or both of these teams make some big moves at the trade deadline. Both teams need to usurp their dominant rivals (Yankees and Astros), and will be highly active and motivated if they're in a buyers position come July.
Given the info that we have now, and what we saw last season in the Wild Card Series, I like the Mariners to go farther than Toronto in 2023. The Jays may end up with a better record in the regular season, but the pitching advantage Seattle has in a 3, 5, or 7 game series is too much for Toronto.