As part of a rumoured agreement to get baseball back in 2020, expanded playoffs are on the table for next year too, and that won’t hurt the Blue Jays.
It’s pretty difficult to plan for the future without having some sort of idea what might happen, but thankfully the MLB picture may be getting a little more clear.
According to multiple reports, it sounds like the MLBPA and the league are nearing an agreement on a 60-game season for 2020, assuming the Coronavirus pandemic allows it to happen. As part of that agreement there are several rule tweaks, and while they may not help the Blue Jays that much in the immediate future, the adjustments could have a positive impact on next season.
That’s because it sounds like the players are going to agree to an expanded playoff format, not only for the shortened 2020 season, but also for next year as well. Let’s face it, the results of this season have so many variables, it’s very possible that a wild card club emerges this year when all is said and done. However, the goal would be to have a full season in 2021, and it should be an interesting year in the Blue Jays’ current rebuild.
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Prior to this season being postponed, I viewed the 2020 campaign as a transitional one for the Blue Jays, and hoped that a year of growth for their young core could see them push for a .500 record. While that was still a lofty goal after winning just 67 games last year, the front office also added some solid veteran talent to the rotation in Hyun-Jin Ryu, Tanner Roark, Chase Anderson, Shun Yamaguchi, and they also brought back Matt Shoemaker, making it seem at least feasible.
I had hoped to see important steps from the Blue Jays in 2020, especially with an eye on hopefully returning to the playoff picture the following year. It felt like a possibility once Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio and more had a couple of seasons under their belts, and other premium prospects like Nate Pearson would have arrived. After all of this has gone down, I worried that these young players would lose an important year of development, and that could slow down the rebuild.
The lack of opportunity still exists as professional baseball players sit at home for now, however, the trade off could be worth it in the end in some ways for the Blue Jays, especially if there’s some semblance of a season this year. With an potential expanded playoff that looks to feature 16 teams, suddenly the idea of their competing for a playoff spot in 2021 feels realistic again.
Obviously a lot is going to depend on what happens this year, and how ready youngsters like Vlad Jr., Bichette, and others are ready to take another step by next season. It’ll certainly work in their favour if there are a possible six extra playoff spots though, so for now, I’m trying to see that as some sort of long-time silver lining.