After missing the playoffs for the 21st straight season last year, the Toronto Blue Jays spent much of the offseason retooling their roster in an attempt to reverse their fortunes during the upcoming season.

Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos began his overhaul by first electing to part ways with several notable players from last season, such as Adam Lind, Melky Cabrera and Brett Lawrie.

The GM then made several acquisitions, headlined by players such as Russell Martin, Josh Donaldson and Michael Saunders.

These new acquisitions should give Toronto’s lineup a very different look during the 2015 season. Both Martin and Donaldson should hit out of a top-five spot in the Blue Jays’ lineup. Saunders should provide a veteran presence in the bottom part of Toronto’s batting order.

Let’s take a closer look and predict how each of these top offseason acquisitions will perform in 2015.


Josh Donaldson, Third Baseman

Acquiring Josh Donaldson in a trade with the Oakland A’s was easily Toronto’s biggest move of the offseason.

An All-Star who finished eighth in MVP voting last season, Donaldson hit .255/.342/.456 with 29 home runs, eight stolen bases, 98 RBI and 93 runs scored in 158 games.

According to, the third baseman also put up a dWAR of 2.6. In terms of overall WAR, Donaldson was just behind American League MVP Mike Trout for the highest WAR among position players.

Keep in mind that Donaldson was playing all of his home games in the cavernous Coliseum last season. His home/road stats reflect that fact, as the right-handed hitter had an OPS of .874 on the road compared to a .718 OPS at home.

With Donaldson now playing his home games at the hitter-friendly Rogers Centre, his power numbers should see a spike. It also doesn’t hurt that he’ll likely be getting plenty of RBI opportunities while hitting behind high on-base percentage players like Jose Bautista.

2015 Prediction: .275/.358/.490 with 32 home runs, 10 stolen bases, 108 RBI and 94 runs scored.


Russell Martin, Catcher

The Blue Jays signed Russell Martin to a five-year, $82 million contract during the offseason. This was the largest contract in terms of money that the club has ever given out to a free agent.

Martin had a spectacular season with the bat last season, hitting .290/.402/.430 with 11 home runs, 67 RBI and 45 runs scored in 111 games.

The catcher was also defensively sound behind the plate, allowing just three passed balls and gunning down 39 percent of all base stealers against him.

Heading into the new season, the Blue Jays will likely slot Martin into the No. 2 spot in their lineup. This means that he should hit in front of the team’s power hitters. Provided that he lives up to his career .354 on-base percentage, Martin should be able to score plenty of runs.

Overall, though, it’s probably unlikely Martin repeats his offensive performance from last season again in 2015. According to, the 31-year-old’s batting average on balls in play was a career-high .336 in 2014. That will probably drop closer to his career BABIP of .289 in 2015. Playing at Rogers Centre could mean that Martin sees an uptick in his home runs total, though.

2015 Prediction: .265/.358/.401 with 17 home runs, 63 RBI and 65 runs scored.


Michael Saunders, Outfielder

The Blue Jays acquired Michael Saunders in an offseason trade with the Seattle Mariners, sending pitcher J.A. Happ the other way.

While Saunders began the 2014 campaign in a starting role, injuries limited him to just 78 games played during the season. The outfielder did put up solid offensive numbers when he played, though, hitting .273/.341/.450 with eight home runs, 34 RBI and 38 runs scored.

Considering that Saunders was able to play 139 and 132 games during the 2012 and 2013 seasons, respectively, there’s a strong possibility that his injury-prone 2014 season was simply an outlier.

As long as he stays healthy, Saunders will be the Blue Jays’ starting left fielder during the upcoming season. If he can repeat those 2014 offensive numbers over a span of more games, Saunders should be able to replace departed outfielder Melky Cabrera’s production quite nicely.

It’s worth noting that Toronto will likely place Saunders in the lower half of its batting order, so the left-handed hitter probably won’t get as many RBI opportunities compared to some of the other hitters on the team. Playing in Rogers Centre instead of the pitcher-friendly Safeco Field should be a positive factor, though.

2015 Prediction: .260/.330/.425 with 18 home runs, 14 stolen bases, 62 RBI and 66 runs scored.


*All stats are from and

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