According to Sportnet’s Shi Davidi it sounds like the Blue Jays’ front office is being a lot more aggressive than usual so far this off-season.
As Blue Jays fans we’ve gotten used to being sold a message of “waiting for the right time” or why the club has to exercise some sort of financial restraint when it comes to roster building. It’s always been a bone of contention for those of us that understand the Blue Jays have one of the most deep-pocketed ownership groups in baseball, and a fan base that should be big enough to justify doing almost anything as Canada’s only MLB team.
That history of holding back when it comes to free agents left many of us wondering what the Blue Jays might do over the winter, and their first move to bring in Chase Anderson from the Brewers was a very on-brand type of acquisition for Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro. However, according to Sportnet’s Shi Davidi, it sounds like the Blue Jays are being a lot more aggressive in their pursuit of free agents so far, which is a welcome change.
Davidhi’s article from yesterday mentioned that, “they do seem willing to drive the market on certain arms, already engaging some in preliminary talks”, which is not the way things have usually been done with the current front office so far during their tenure, and hopefully a good sign of things to come.
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It’s almost been universally accepted that the Blue Jays won’t or can’t pursue a no-doubt ace like Stephen Strasburgh or Gerrit Cole, but Davidi makes it sounds like they could be in on the next tier of options like Zack Wheeler, Jake Odorizzi, or maybe someone like Dallas Keuchel. The first two will come with draft-pick compensation attached to them, which is something the Blue Jays have been very reluctant to part with. That said, it’s also been something that’s driven down the free agent market, and perhaps Atkins and company are looking to express early interest to prove that they’re serious, or maybe even to win some favour when final decisions are made.
Even if all they’re doing at this point is a bit of tire-kicking, it’s a welcome step in the right direction. As fans, it gives us some hope that this front office is serious about winning, which is important a year after we saw that they clearly were focused on anything but. That happens during a rebuild and we have to be patient at times, but when the 2019 campaign ended it felt like there needed to be an attitude shift. With the young talent arriving in the big leagues, accepting being a loser didn’t seem right any more.
That’s not to suggest that the Blue Jays are going to contend for a World Series championship next year, or even a playoff spot. However, starting to build a winning culture with this young core now is important, and there’s no doubt they’ll need some help in their starting rotation, both now and in the future.
I don’t know if the best way to do that is by signing a starter like Wheeler, Odorizzi, Keuchel, or someone else, and only time will tell, but the fact that they’re not ruling it out is a great sign. It shows the fan base that they’re serious about winning in the future, which is something that will be an important message to send to their young core as they develop as well.