The MLB season begins today, and starts for the Blue Jays on Friday. As summer training comes to a close, here are your Blue Jays news and notes.
I didn’t know if we’d see it in 2020, but the MLB regular season will begin later today, and the Blue Jays will play their first game on Friday. With an talented and exciting young core emerging, and some talented veterans added to the roster, there is plenty to be excited about in 2020, even with a shortened schedule.
As things are about to get underway, what are some the storylines around the Blue Jays at the moment?
Still searching for a home
At this point I’m starting to feel bad for the Blue Jays’ front office as they scramble to try and find a site to play their home games. They hopefully waited in hopes that the Canadian federal government would grant them permission to play in Toronto, but that was denied over the weekend. Next it sounded like an agreement to play their home games in Pittsburgh was all but done, but it was ultimately shut down as well on Thursday.
Where are the Blue Jays going to play? At this point it’s pretty hard to say. It sounds like the mayor in Buffalo would be happy to have them, but there would need to be lighting upgrades done at the Triple-A facility at the very least, and they’re literally running out of time. There have been rumours about Tampa Bay, Dunedin, and even Baltimore, but until there is a confirmed plan it’s all just speculation.
Nate Pearson will not make the team, but….
It should come as no surprise that Nate Pearson won’t begin the season on the big league roster. The reason for that of course is that by delaying the start of his big league career by a week, they’ll retain him for an extra year of contract control. In a normal season the delay is a little longer, but given that it’s likely to be just one start, it’s hard to blame the Blue Jays here. Unless you’re Pearson and his agent, or maybe the MLBPA. That’s another discussion for another day though.
According to the above tweet from Sportnet’s Jamie Campbell, Pearson will officially arrive with the team on July 29th, and I can’t wait to watch what he can do.
Santiago Espinal to make the team
The Blue Jays often talk about how much they value positional flexibility, and they’ve made a decision that will help that in that regard. According to Sportnet’s Shi Davidi, Santiago Espinal will make the Opening Day roster and presumably serve as a utility man.
For those who may have forgotten, the Blue Jays acquired Espinal from the Red Sox back in 2018 for the expiring contract of Steve Pearce. Pearce ended up becoming a World Series MVP in Boston so I’m certain the Red Sox are pleased with the trade, but the Blue Jays have a chance to get real value in return on the deal as well.
These boys can hit the long ball
It’s really hard to predict how the Blue Jays will perform this season, especially in a tough AL/NL East division schedule, but one thing seems pretty likely: This team is going to hit home runs.
Over the last few days we’ve seen a lot of power on display from the likes of Rowdy Tellez, Derek Fisher, and a massive bomb from Vladimir Guerrero Jr. as well. I don’t see this lineup as a “boom or bust” group necessarily, but it’s hard not to see the potential for a lot of home runs this year. With the way most of the team is hitting the ball leading into the regular season, things are looking promising.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. update
Will Lourdes Gurriel Jr. will be ready in time to play in the season opener? The Blue Jays plan to make a decision on Thursday, according to Sportsnet’s Arden Zwelling.
The talented outfielder took batting practice on Wednesday and is scheduled to face Tanner Roark in a live session tomorrow, and if all goes well then he could be available. If not, it could bode well for someone else on the bubble of making the team like Billy McKinney or others.
We’ll be sure to keep you updated here at Jays Journal as we learn more about Gurriel Jr’s health, the full roster, and of course, if and when the Blue Jays find a home ballpark for 2020.