Right now many of us are focused on when Bo Bichette will make his eventual MLB debut, but the wait for the “next guy up” won’t end with his promotion.
While the Blue Jays have one of the worst records in baseball and are one of the half dozen or so teams that can truly be categorized as sellers, it’s not that hard to make an argument that the future is bright.
That’s because of the presence of budding stars like Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Danny Jansen, and more. There’s obvious room to grow for all of them to varying degrees, but the future core of this franchise is starting to take shape, and there are a lot of things to like about the first year of this rebuild.
There is a lot more talent on the way in the minor league system as well, and at the top of the list would be Bo Bichette, who has been one of the hot topics around this team over the last few days. It started with a tweet that he sent out a few days ago, and it snowballed a little more when David Singh of Sportnet interviewed him a couple of days ago and included some interested quotes from the 21-year-old.
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I really feel like the fan base and even some of the media is making a bit of a mountain out of a molehill with what he said, but I can understand where it’s coming from. After losing out in the ALCS in 2015 and 2016 during a competitive chapter of franchise history, it’s been tough to endure the downhill slide over the last couple of years. For some folks it’s been even more difficult to accept a complete teardown and rebuild this year, and we have no choice but to look forward to the future.
Bichette is an obvious part of that future, and the way he’s been dominating Triple-A pitching lately has added fuel to the discussion about deserving a promotion to the highest level. That’s unlikely to happen until the Blue Jays trade an infielder or two, but that couple happen sometime in the next couple of weeks before the July 31st trade deadline, which is why I don’t think it’s anything to worry about at this point.
There’s also a bit of sensitivity with the minor leaguers because of the way Vlad Jr’s promotion was delayed last season. A spring training injury helped the front office to delay his MLB debut just long enough to extend his service time on his contract with the Blue Jays, and some folks have wondered if they would try to do the same with Bichette. That would mean he would stay in Triple-A for the rest of this year and would even start next season in Buffalo, and I just can’t see them putting it off that long.
Whenever the Blue Jays’ top prospect does play his first game at the highest level, it might stop the speculation around his name, but I don’t think it’ll change the attitude of fans, or even some writers like myself. The focus will probably shift to Nate Pearson, who has dominated in both High-A and Double-A stops, as well as making a great impression during the Futures game over the All-Star break. He has yet to make his Triple-A debut, which could happen sooner than later, so he probably doesn’t see the big leagues until 2020. That won’t stop us from bringing his name up, especially if he continues to dominant with another promotion.
It could be Kevin Smith, Jordan Groshans, Griffin Conine, Eric Pardinho, or maybe even a talented prospect that hasn’t joined the system yet. Regardless, I don’t think this sort of “next guy up” attitude is going to go anywhere around this team any time soon. For that to end, we probably need to see another contender on the north side of the border.
It might get a little tiring waiting on this team to be put together piece by piece, but I like the way things have started in 2019, and it’s possible this rebuild could be a shorter one. That said, don’t expect fans, or even yours truly to be very patient waiting for the next piece of the puzzle to come together. We’re being sold the future of this team so I don’t we can help it, or that it’ll change once Bichette arrives either.