What is the Blue Jays’ Window For Contention? Optimist, Pessimist, Realist

Dec 4, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Toronto Blue Jays new general manager Ross Atkins (right) answers questions along with club president Mark Shapiro during an introductory media conference at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 4, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Toronto Blue Jays new general manager Ross Atkins (right) answers questions along with club president Mark Shapiro during an introductory media conference at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /
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Dec 4, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Toronto Blue Jays new general manager Ross Atkins (right) answers questions along with club president Mark Shapiro during an introductory media conference at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 4, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Toronto Blue Jays new general manager Ross Atkins (right) answers questions along with club president Mark Shapiro during an introductory media conference at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /

Realist – Jason Lee

The path that the Blue Jays organization will take will be decided in July, based on the Blue Jays’ position in the playoff race. If the Blue Jays are within 5 games of a playoff spot in July, the likely course of action would be a similar method to 2016, where the management looks to acquire 2nd-tier options in hopes of improving the team, but keep the strength of the farm system.

However, if the Blue Jays are more than 5 games out of a playoff spot, the front office will, and should, look to take on a full-scale rebuild of the team. Everyone in baseball knows that the Blue Jays are a flawed, old team. They have their strengths that carried the team to playoff success in 2015 and 2016, but in truth, the Blue Jays lack the speed, athleticism, and youth that wins teams the World Series in the current era.

That being said, the Blue Jays are not far off from becoming a young, athletic, and fun powerhouse team in the MLB. At the Major League level, the Blue Jays have a wealth of young pieces to build around such as Sanchez and Stroman in the rotation, Osuna and Biagini in the bullpen, and Travis and Pillar in the field. In the minor leagues, more talent awaits as Guerrero Jr., Alford, Tellez, and Reid-Foley all look like potential above-average major league players.

While trading away players like Estrada, Bautista, and Donaldson may be a tough pill to swallow for Jays fans, it will only boost the farm system and set up years of success in the very near future. However, the Blue Jays would be wise to keep some of the team leaders that could help the young players transition into the big leagues, such as Tulowitzki for the infield and Martin for the young pitchers.

Either way, the Blue Jays are a team in transition. They are good enough to compete in the present, but are old enough to envision the new future core. 2017 will be a monumental year for the Blue Jays organization. If the Jays somehow manage to stay in the playoff picture come July, then expect the front office to continue the retooling efforts as they try and juggle the present needs with the future hopes.

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However, if the Blue Jays continue to struggle through April and May and are realistically out of the playoffs by the Trade Deadline, Jays fans should be ready to welcome a new era of baseball in Toronto; one without the likes of Bautista and Donaldson.

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