Blue Jays: An off-season simulation, goals, and early lessons

HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 13: A detail of baseballs prior to game two of the American League Championship Series between the Houston Astros and the New York Yankees at Minute Maid Park on October 13, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 13: A detail of baseballs prior to game two of the American League Championship Series between the Houston Astros and the New York Yankees at Minute Maid Park on October 13, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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Here at FanSided, several other editors and I are running a simulation this week. Things are just getting underway, but it’s interesting to see how the Blue Jays are viewed.

For the last couple of years, some fellow FanSided editors and I have done an off-season simulation, and it’s actually quite the process and a lot of fun for baseball nerds like us.

We act as the GM/front office for our own team (in this case I am playing the part of Ross Atkins and company), and we have the chance to make trade offers to other teams, and also to bid on the available free agents. We all agree to act in a way that we think our team will actually operate, and also to work within realistic payroll expectations. That means, as much as I’d like to sign Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg, Zack Wheeler, and Dallas Keuchel, that’s not exactly in the cards in reality.

I’ll get to the free agency stuff in a minute, but for now I’d like to share with Blue Jays fans what I’ve learned in the early part of this process.

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First, there are a lot of teams that want a catcher, as I’ve already been asked about Danny Jansen (twice), Reese McGuire, and even Gabriel Moreno. It’s entirely possible that I overvalue the catching depth in Toronto, but so far no one came even close to the ballpark that I think the Blue Jays would be asking for one of those guys, especially the first two. In my mind, if the Blue Jays are going to trade either Jansen or McGuire it has to be for a controllable starter with solid upside, and the offers haven’t been like that at all.

I’ve been asked about Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Cavan Biggio, and Bo Bichette, but no one has bothered to ask about Vladimir Guerrero Jr. I’ve also been asked if Nate Pearson or Jordan Groshans would be on the table, and I’ve quickly shut down any of that nonsense. There again, the discussion would criminally undervalue any of the emerging core in Toronto, in my opinion, so there wasn’t even a starting point for discussions on a trade. I don’t think there’s a deal that would ever have me trade Bichette as the GM of the Blue Jays, but I tried to remain open minded on the others, and my fellow writers aren’t even in the ballpark. None of them are being insulting or anything like that, but the early talks tell me there’s not much point in going further with it.

Without listing all of the trade deals that I’ve discussed, these are the names that have come up when I’ve asked my best GM question, “What are you looking for in order to trade _____?”, and I’ve looked around a bit at some veteran options, even willing to eat some serious money. The emerging core of the Blue Jays has been asked about even when I’ve inquired on expensive veterans like David Price, or Corey Kluber, and also when I asked about a guy like Starling Marte.

That’s not to say that I blame other GM’s for looking for a suitable return for trading away their own, but it does offer some perspective. Of course, I’m not dealing with the actual GM’s of any of these teams, but these writers are relatively informed about their own clubs. That said, it makes me wonder if they really know how much talent there is in Toronto, and that if Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro handle the next few years right, how scary this young Blue Jay club could be.

Again, maybe I’m looking at things through glasses that are far too rose-coloured, but I believe that the Blue Jays will take significant strides next season, hopefully even pursuing the .500 mark in year two of the rebuild. With a few decent starting pitchers added to the fold and a handful of other helpful pieces, I think that’s a very possible goal for 2020.

Next. Rookie campaign was an eye opener for Vlad Jr.. dark

However, if this simulation proves to be accurate at all, the Blue Jays are likely going to have to do the bulk of their roster building through free agency, at least according to the asking prices on the trade market so far. While it’s just a simulation, for those interested I’ll update you again later in the week. Like I said, baseball nerd stuff.

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