Blue Jays: We’re about to find out how much service time matters
There is plenty of pressure on the Blue Jays to have Nate Pearson break camp with them this year, and we’re about to find out much service time matters.
Even with the fairly significant announcement of moving Vladimir Guerrero Jr. from third to first base, I don’t think the Blue Jays can change the biggest storyline from “summer training”.
No, until a formal announcement has been made with regards to Nate Pearson‘s future, fans want to know if he’s going to start his season with the big league club, or if he’ll spend a week or two off of the active roster. The reason for keeping him in Buffalo to start the year is simple, it would allow the Blue Jays to manipulate his service time and keep him for an extra year of contract control, and something that like that has a lot of value.
It was a significant question before Chase Anderson‘s injury on the weekend, but now that a spot has theoretically opened up in the rotation, we’re about to find out just how important that service time is to the Blue Jays’ front office.
More from Jays Journal
- Matt Chapman has been exactly what the Blue Jays needed
- Blue Jays: The goalposts are moving in the right direction
- Single-A Dunedin Blue Jays advance to the Championship Series
- Blue Jays: Comparisons for Alek Manoah’s Second Season
- Blue Jays: Adam Cimber, the unlikely decision King
I don’t think there are many people who would argue against the idea that Pearson is already one of their top five starting options. That said, the Blue Jays do have a fair bit of depth to draw from even with Anderson potentially needing to miss some time. They have veterans Hyun-Jin Ryu, Tanner Roark, and Matt Shoemaker, and Trent Thornton looks to have cemented his place back with the group after his rookie season in 2019. Charlie Montoyo could also use one or more of Ryan Borucki, Anthony Kay, Shun Yamaguchi, Thomas Hatch, Jacob Waguespack and more, so they aren’t in a position where they’ll be forced to use Pearson.
On one hand, you could hardly blame the Blue Jays if they choose to delay Pearson’s start in the big leagues. With a shortened season, he only has to spend roughly a week in Buffalo to give the club that extra year of contract control, and that’s no small thing. It’s been done with other notable MLB stars like Kris Bryant, and almost certainly would have been the case for Vladimir Guerrero Jr. last year had he not been hurt during spring training, so it wouldn’t be the end of the world.
On the other hand, with the current CBA set to expire after the 2021 season, there’s a chance that those rules may or may not apply to Pearson’s future in Toronto anyway. It’s going to be a major bone of contention for both the owners and the player’s union when they get back to the negotiating table, and it’s hard to see the latter backing down on that issue. That said, there is some give and take with all negotiations, so you can’t plan for something that hasn’t been changed.
The Blue Jays could also choose to look at this season as a unique opportunity, and one where every game counts. They’re a young and still rebuilding team, but there is a lot of young talent on this roster, and the front office added some quality veteran talent to the rotation this past winter. They’re not expected to be post-season contenders, but with a season as short as this one and so many variables in play, I don’t think we should rule out the possibility. With that in mind, shouldn’t the Blue Jays put their best team on the field from day one?
If I was going to bet on how things will go down, my assumption is that Pearson will indeed start his year in Buffalo in order to preserve that service time. It will be a decision that will be harder to justify now that Anderson will likely be delayed to start the year, but for the cost of one or two starts from Pearson, I’m willing to bet the front office will do just that. It won’t be a popular decision, and I’m not looking forward to Ross Atkins and his GM-speak when he’s asked about it by the media, but don’t fret Blue Jays fans, Pearson will be here sooner than later.