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Blue Jays: Free market waiting on another deadline?

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 02: General manager Ross Atkins of the Toronto Blue Jays addresses the media after completing a trade earlier in the day that sent Kevin Pillar #11 to the San Francisco Giants during MLB game action against the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre on April 2, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 02: General manager Ross Atkins of the Toronto Blue Jays addresses the media after completing a trade earlier in the day that sent Kevin Pillar #11 to the San Francisco Giants during MLB game action against the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre on April 2, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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With the slow start to free agency, there’s a good chance that the Blue Jays and the rest of the league may be waiting on another deadline before things heat up.

I had hoped that the Blue Jays might come out of the gates of free agency with an aggressive approach, but it’s no surprise that they’ve joined the rest of the league in the ice-cold start.

It’s happening for a few reasons, and the biggest of which is the lack of ticket revenue at the gates for 2020 when the season was reduced to 60 games. Ownership groups around the game may also be bracing themselves for another modified season next year as well, as the Coronavirus pandemic continues to surge in the United States, and the numbers are growing in Canada as well. Next spring is a while from now, but you can bet that there will be a reluctance to pull out the chequebooks at the moment.

That would be the biggest culprit, but further complicating things is the fact that we may not yet know the full extent of the market. I say that because there’s still another important date coming on Dec 2nd when the deadline to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players will come up. As we saw when Cleveland let go of Brad Hand, and others like the Astros put Roberto Osuna on waivers, there’s a good chance that more payroll will be slashed before then, and a likely increase to the free agent market.

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In a normal season, that likely wouldn’t be worth waiting for, however, 2020 has been anything but normal. It’s possible and even likely that good players could hit the market if their current teams can’t find a trade over the next month, which opens up the options even further. There could be some solid bargains to be had in the early part of December, or even a handful of bigger ticket items that could be enticing.

Speaking of trades, I wrote about that yesterday as well, as the current market could lend itself to an active trade season, and one where the acquiring teams may not have to pay as steep a price as they typically would. I doubt that’ll apply to someone like Francisco Lindor, but a team like the Cubs is well known to be looking to save some payroll, and that could make a player like Kris Bryant a lot cheaper to acquire.

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Of course, the whole concept could change in a hurry if one or two GM’s get a little more aggressive, but I really don’t think we’re going to see that this month. There are bound to be a handful of smaller deals signed sooner than later, but as for the premium free agents like Trevor Bauer, George Springer, J.T. Realmuto and more, I think it’s going to be a while. In fact, I’d be pretty surprised to see any major movement before Dec 2nd.

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