Toronto Blue Jays – In part one of my off-season evaluation of Blue Jays President Mark Shapiro and General Manager Ross Atkins, I focused on what the Blue Jays received for Josh Donaldson and buying out the remainder of Troy Tulowitzki’s contract. In part two we will look at two more key decisions that had to be made that will impact the Blue Jays future.
Blue Jays trade C Russell Martin to the L.A. Dodgers for P Andrew
Sopko and SS Ronny Brito
To be honest, I have had mixed feelings regarding this trade, as a fan of Russell Martin, I did not want to see him go. Not only was he able to work well with the pitching staff and help them look better, but he was a clubhouse leader. No matter what team or sport you play, every team needs a leader to keep the other players grounded and help mould the younger players, this I feel was one of Russell Martins strongest skills.
From a business perspective, Martin was worth every penny that he was paid. When asked to provide flexibility on the field, or with working with the younger players, he would always accommodate and put the team first. The Blue Jays needed though to create space and opportunities for both Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire by trading Martin, they did just that. The more playing time that becomes available for Jansen and McGuire the better their development will be as well as understanding the pitchers they will be working with.
More from Jays Journal
- Single-A Dunedin Blue Jays advance to the Championship Series
- Blue Jays: Comparisons for Alek Manoah’s Second Season
- Blue Jays: Adam Cimber, the unlikely decision King
- Toronto Blue Jays: Has the Shift Killed Kevin Gausman’s 2022 Cy Young Hopes?
- Blue Jays: What Yusei Kikuchi’s latest stumble should mean
One key thing to remember is the Blue Jays also received two prospects, a win all around if you think about it, as they also opened the space needed for Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire. In Ronny Brito, the Blue Jays acquired a player who, in 2015-16 was considered one of the best defensive prospects in the International class. According to MLB, Brito has the potential to be a gold glove winner, but still needs time to develop.
Coming off a decent season, Andrew Sopko could also have potential upside, and from a pitching standpoint, it never hurts to have an extra arm in the system. Also with prospects, you just never know who can become a diamond in the rough. After all, Nolan Ryan was drafted by the New York Mets in the 12th round of the amateur draft, so stranger things have happened and you just never know. And no, I am not saying Sopko will be the next Nolan Ryan, I am just saying sometimes late rounders can surprise you.
In the end, yes the Santa Blue Jays will be paying the Los Angeles Dodgers a tad over $16 million of Russell Martin’s salary, but it will be worth it in the long run if both Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire develop accordingly.
Spending wisely on low risk, high potential rewards
In a previous article I wrote that can be found here, I talked about how the Blue Jays are being smart with their money. To date, the Blue Jays have signed P Matt Shoemaker, P David Phelps, and SS Freddy Galvis, all to one-year contracts with potential options and bonuses for a total of $11 million. If each player performs, their value will increase not only on the team but as potential trade chips to continue to fill the Blue Jays prospect pool.
We all would love to see the Blue Jays sign players like 3B/SS Manny Machado or OF Bryce Harper, but by doing this it would steer the team away from the plan. Let’s look at it this way, would you rather have a Blue Jays team built like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, building over time, adding separate pieces and making sure the proper story is told, or you can build like the DC Cinematic Universe, just toss different pieces in no proper order, hoping for a hit or two and be forced to blow it up, re-cast and start all over.
It is very easy to spend money, and it’s great to have, but the Blue Jays need to spend it when they are ready to. This team will be ready to compete in two or three years, and by that point the Blue Jays will have a stronger prospect pool that can also be used as trade chips if needed.
The payroll should be reasonable, and Uncle Rogers will be willing to spend again. Right now, keep it slow and steady, build the nucleus and add as we go along because as mentioned earlier, you just never know which prospect could become your next big superstar if the baseball Gods work their magic.
I also want to thank everyone for your comments on part one of how Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins are performing, as your perspectives and feedback were refreshing. Keep it up guys and thank you for taking the time to read and invest your opinions in my articles, and whether its positive or negative your comments are appreciated.
Look for part three soon and please feel free to follow me on Twitter.