The MLB season is far from cancelled at this stage, but if the unthinkable does happen, what are some of the long-term effects on the Blue Jays?
It’s good to hear the the MLB office and the Player’s Association are continuing to talk about potential ways to get baseball back in 2020, even if it could be a while before they’re able to make any concrete plans.
That said, maybe it was a bit of a low day for me, who knows, but I got thinking about what it would be like for the Blue Jays if it turns out that there is no MLB season in 2020. We’ve already talked about the ramifications as far as contracts go, but what about the rest of the important dynamics at play?
As much as the youth of the Blue Jays would be on their sides as far as “having their whole careers ahead of them”, we can’t discount the impact that a lost season would have on the talented young core in Toronto. It was supposed to (and still may be) a year of transition for this rebuilding club, as the front office started to make some moves to improve the roster through free agency, and to move the team towards being more competitive.
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More importantly, 2020 should be a crucial year of development for young players like Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Danny Jansen, Nate Pearson, and many more. The kids showed they belong at the highest level last season, but the hope was that at least a few of them would blossom into legit big league stars, or at least take an important step in that direction. The season is not lost yet, but that opportunity could be in time.
As far as those kids go, I even got thinking ahead to 15 or 20 years down the road, and how this lost time on the diamond could impact their careers. It’s obviously way too premature to be talking about Hall of Fame chances or anything like that, but how often do you hear “if only that guy would have played another season” in reference to a player getting close to a milestone? Look no further than former Blue Jay Fred McGriff and his 493 career home runs. It’s fair to say that if the 1994 strike hadn’t happened, the “Crime Dog” would have reached 500 home runs, and might even have a place in the Hall of Fame right now. Could that happen to someone like Guerrero Jr. or Bichette? It’s not out of the realm of possibility, even if it’s a long way off.
Losing this season would also mean that the Blue Jays would have to make a decision on Mark Shapiro’s future without season the 2020 campaign play out at all. His current contract is up at the end of the year, and Ross Atkins has just 2021 left on his contract as GM. My guess was that both parties wanted to see how the direction of the team was going this year before committing to a longer term, but they have to make that decision without that luxury.
I also got thinking about the Blue Jays outfield picture, and how the 2020 season was supposed to be about sorting through some talented, but flawed players on the 40-man roster. Both Anthony Alford and Derek Fisher are out of minor league options and likely had to play well to keep their spot in the organization for the long-term, and right now that whole situation is on hold. The same goes for Teoscar Hernandez‘s conditioned audition as an outfielder in general, and even Randal Grichuk‘s placement in centre field. Despite the lack of a significant upgrade out there this winter, I was optimistic about the group. It’s hard to say if they’ll all get the same opportunity a year from now that they would have been getting right now.
There are plenty of other angles to consider of course, as the whole idea is a bit of a rabbit hole once you start thinking about it. The trickle down effects are definitely not helpful for anyone really, so hopefully baseball can return in some capacity again in 2020.