Blue Jays: The presents are homemade for fans this year
While the offseason is far from over, it looks like the Blue Jays aren’t going to be shopping in the expensive aisle of free agency, or maybe much at all.
It was never expected that the Blue Jays would be active buyers in free agency this winter, but things have been even more quiet than I would have guessed they would be.
That trend could continue, at least until later in the offseason when some of the free agent bargains become available. Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro have more or less admitted as much, and have indicated on several occasions that they are focused on building with a longer term lens in mind rather than worry about their roster for 2019.
For Blue Jays fans who are looking for something to get excited about this offseason, you’re going to have to spend your time dreaming on the in-house assets that the franchise has collected, most of which are in the minor league system. Some of them arrived in 2018 like Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Danny Jansen, Ryan Borucki, and others, and there are more on the way in the very near future.
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Of course, that list is headlined by Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who is excepted to make his debut no later than sometime in mid to late April, and will take over full-time duties at third base when he arrives. When it comes to their other elite prospects like Bo Bichette, Nate Pearson, Eric Pardinho, Cavan Biggio, and more, chances are fans are going to have to wait and be satisfied with dreaming on their future potential when they can join those who have already arrived.
Depending on how many free agent signings or trades the Blue Jays pull the trigger on before Opening Day, it’s also possible we could watch other youngsters like Sean Reid-Foley, Thomas Pannone, Trent Thornton, or maybe even Rule 5 pick Elvis Luciano, who will have to break camp with the team if the Jays want to keep him.
It requires patience, and the understanding that the Blue Jays are highly unlikely to compete in 2019, but there is legitimate reason to be excited about the future, and even next season. It might sound like I’m feeding you a company line when I say that, but I can assure you that I do not work for Rogers, and I only half excuse the cheap approach they’re taking this offseason.
For a team is a market the size of Toronto, I can understand why someone like Scott Boras would criticize the lack of spending, and pretty much any other year I would do the same. I would still like to see the Blue Jays try to invest in a piece that could be part of the long term picture (like a Dallas Keuchel type), but I sincerely doubt that’s going to happen this winter. Instead, it appears the front office is content to continue building from the ground up, and also giving their in-house options a chance to show what their value truly is.
It might not be as exciting as waking up with a Bryce Harper or Manny Machado under the tree, but it could be worse than looking forward to a full season of Gurriel Jr., Borucki, Jansen, and inevitably Vlad Jr. At least on Christmas Day, that’s the way I’m choosing to look at it.