Predicting What the Toronto Blue Jays' Lineup Will Look Like Next Year

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Predicting What the Toronto Blue Jays' Lineup Will Look Like Next Year
J. Meric/Getty Images

Although the Toronto Blue Jays have been extremely disappointing in 2013, it is very likely that the 2014 version of the franchise will look very similar to this year's team. In particular, many—if not all—of the team's primary position players could be back at their respective positions next season.

After an offseason of change, the Blue Jays will likely have a much quieter winter this time around. It's not that the front office should be complacent after falling well short of expectations in 2013, but rather the current state of the franchise leaves it with little wiggle room for next season.

Due to the contractual statuses of its starters and the paucity of quality prospects in the upper levels of the organization's farm system, the Blue Jays are simply best suited to maintain the status quo and hope to compete with the same core of hitters in 2014.

And why not?

If there is to be any kind of roster overhaul next year, it'll likely be in the rotation. The Blue Jays' big bats—Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion—have carried their weight, while the lineup's spark plug, Jose Reyes, has returned from injury with a vengeance.

As of right now, this lineup—when fully healthy—still looks as if it can be one of the best in baseball.

Nevertheless, change is inevitable. It's especially inevitable when you go from World Series aspirations to sitting in last place as September approaches. Although the team is somewhat hamstrung by its current payroll obligations and its flexibility is limited by the current state of the franchise, there will likely be some new faces in the lineup in 2014.

With a quarter of the season still left to play and an entire offseason of moves and developments, this is obviously a very speculative exercise. The team's performance over the remainder of the season, injuries and a myriad of other factors can still dramatically change this offseason's outlook.

It is never too early to start looking toward next season—especially when you're 15.5 games out of the division in late August—and trying to determine next year's starting lineup.

 

All statistics from Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

 

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