While watching the video of Austin Martin officially signing his first MLB deal, the Blue Jays President and CEO Mark Shapiro made a big statement.
Blue Jays fans finally got the news they’ve been waiting for a few weeks to hear when the team made the signing of Austin Martin official. Martin was the team’s first-round selection in last month’s MLB draft, inexplicably falling to the Jays at fifth overall.
On Wednesday the team released a video that included Martin and his Mom, his agent Scott Boras, and Blue Jays President and CEO Mark Shapiro, getting him to physically sign the contract during a virtual meeting. Once he had done so, he received a hug from his Mom, Boras congratulated him, and that’s when Shapiro couldn’t really contain his excitement much longer.
I’m sure part of it was relief that the job of getting the contract signed was over, and I’m sure there was a lot of work that went into the process over the last few weeks and even months. However, it wasn’t so much relief that Shapiro had flashing in his eyes, but rather it was excitement at the idea of adding Martin to an already talented young core of players. In fact, Shapiro went as far as making a pretty bold statement:
"“We feel like we’re positioned better than any team in baseball. I say that, and know that in the last five minutes we just got positioned better because you’re part of the organization now. We feel like you are going to be, you have a chance to be a very important part and fit right in with the group of guys.”"
Obviously that’s a pretty big statement for Shapiro to make, but there are plenty of good reasons for his confidence. The Blue Jays are already sporting a young core at the big league level that includes Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, Danny Jansen, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and more, and there is premium talent on the way with players like Nate Pearson, Simeon Woods Richardson, and many more. The future should be very bright for this team, even in a difficult division, and Martin could be the type of player that makes an important difference down the line.
For now, don’t expect that we’ll see Martin in a professional game in 2020. There’s a good chance he’ll be added to the 60-player pool for the Blue Jays this year, even just to keep him active, but I’m sure they’re going to want to give him some more time to develop before having him compete at the highest level.
Despite it coming under strange circumstances, the Blue Jays should be a lot of fun to watch this year, and they could even surprise people with how competitive they are. As they add more players like Pearson, Woods Richardson, and eventually Martin, we’ll find out just how true Shapiro’s statement from this year may have been.