Brandon Belt, Toronto Blue Jays
Again, will Brandon Belt lead the Jays to AL East supremacy? We're still waiting for that movie. We've seen the trailer. Kinda looks like "The Fabelmans". Vlad Jr. just loves cinema.
If he doesn't push the Jays over the top, though, he'll at least slug, assuming he's fully healthy, and imbue that locker room with a veteran presence it hasn't had in recent seasons. They're also moving the fences in in Toronto. Never forget that. They cried about the short porch so much they got one of their own.
Belt has long been a plus in the intangibles department, but it doesn't take too much mental gymnastics to envision him repeating his 2021 season, where he hit 29 bombs with a .975 OPS in 97 games.
Of course, 24 of those would come against the Yankees.
Rafael Montero, Houston Astros
Some would call the Astros crazy for extending flame-throwing reliever Rafael Montero for three years. In fact, most would call them crazy for doing it without a GM in place and letting owner Jim Crane freelance his way through the early offseason.
Lord knows, if the Astros had let him go, they would've found some way to replace him and injected another 100 MPH-throwing cyborg into the seventh-inning mix. That said, we'd rather take our chances. Houston should ditch as many known quantities, like Justin Verlander, as possible. Eventually, they'll find a "replacement" who doesn't fit. That's the Yankees' only hope of closing the gap. Maintaining the status quo with Montero will certainly wind up working out -- for at least a season.