Two of the Blue Jays’ key offseason signings – center fielder George Springer and left-hander Robbie Ray – will miss the start of the season, manager Charlie Montoyo announced to Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet and other reporters (Twitter links). Springer has been dealing with a Grade 2 oblique strain since last week, while Ray has a bruised elbow.
Indications before Wednesday were that Springer wouldn’t be ready for the season opener, but this is nonetheless a disappointing way for the former Astro’s Toronto tenure to begin. The three-time All-Star signed the richest free-agent guarantee in the sport this past offseason – a six-year, $150MM contract – but will miss at least the first six games of 2021 for the Blue Jays. However, the playoff hopefuls still have a capable outfield trio with Randal Grichuk set to fill in for Springer alongside Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Teoscar Hernandez in the corners.
Ray wasn’t nearly as expensive as Springer in free agency, but it did cost the Jays $8MM on a one-year pact to re-sign him. Ray has typically been a capable mid-rotation starter, though he slumped to a 6.62 ERA/5.49 SIERA with a similarly woeful 17.9 percent walk rate in 51 2/3 innings between Arizona and Toronto last season. The Jays are betting on a rebound, but that will have to wait for now, leaving Ross Stripling, Tanner Roark, Steven Matz, T.J. Zeuch and Anthony Kay as options behind ace Hyun Jin Ryu heading into the season.