According to an article from Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Blue Jays could be among a small group of teams ready to spend this off-season.
The excitement is about to begin all over again on Sunday for baseball fans, as free agency will officially get underway.
As much as we all love the time of year when baseball is on our TV screens, I have to admit that I enjoy the start of free agency almost as much. It’s a lot of fun to think about the ways that your favourite team can improve, and it’s even better now that the Blue Jays are pretty much at the end of their rebuild and are ready to take the leap from pretenders into contenders. Their homegrown core is solid, but it usually requires a few finishing touches that come either through free agency or a trade.
The Blue Jays are well set up to do either, and earlier in the week I talked about how an aggressive approach to this off-season could be to their benefit. However, over the last few days we’ve watched many teams show their hands with early decisions, passing on contract options for useful players, and in some cases just outright releasing expensive veterans. The fact that Cleveland couldn’t find a taker for Brad Hand on the trade market is very telling.
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That said, not every team is going to take such a tepid approach, and according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Blue Jays should be among the few that are ready to add to their payroll rather than looking to slash it. Sherman also mentions other possible spenders like the Mets, Padres, Giants, Dodgers, White Sox, and Twins, but it’s not a very big group.
This could be a significant advantage if it turns out to be true, and that’s beyond just the obvious. If there are limited teams willing to spend with this year’s free agents, that could give the Blue Jays are a real shot at signing someone who may not consider them in a different off-season. They’ll always have to convince free agents that it’s not that big of a deal to play for Canada’s only team (taxes and crossing the border can be a real point to consider), and the AL East can be daunting as well. However, right now the Blue Jays have a strong young roster, and may have a lot more money and opportunity to offer than can be found elsewhere.
It also means that if teams are looking to slash as much payroll as is being reported, the Blue Jays may be able to acquire talent for pennies on the dollar on the trade market. A willingness to take on money may be a greater advantage than we’ve ever seen before, and the Blue Jays should be able to absorb some cash in the right scenario(s). They obviously decided against it, but trading for someone like Brad Hand and his 10 million dollar contract for 2021 is the type of thing I’m talking about here, and there are going to be other opportunities like that based on what we’ve seen so far.
In a normal off-season, there are usually teams lining up with their chequebooks open, but that’s not likely to be the case after there was no ticket revenue to be had in 2020, and no promise that there will be any next year either. It probably helps quite a bit that the Blue Jays are owned by a media company, and the fact that they’re a young team on the rise at the same time works as well. That doesn’t guarantee that they’ll outspend the field to improve the roster this winter, but I have no reason to doubt Sherman’s report. It should be a fun winter to be a Blue Jays fan.