While it would be very exciting to see the Blue Jays acquire a star like Francisco Lindor this offseason, they’re not ready for a rental of that magnitude if extension talks aren’t part of the deal.
When Ross Atkins spoke to the media on Monday, he sounded like a GM that is confident in the plan for the offseason, and his position to be able to execute it.
That’s understandable given that the Blue Jays have a talented young team that is coming off of a 32-28 season and their first playoff appearance since 2016. The core of the group is young, under contract control, and inexpensive, and they should have the payroll space to operate however they like in free agency, as well as the prospect capital to be major players in the trade market if they choose to be.
I love when the Jays are in this position, and it’s hard to even think about the idea of patience when they could be on the cusp of truly contending. Having said that, I don’t think they’re ready to acquire a star rental player, and I hope they resist the temptation this winter unless the trade comes with an opportunity to secure a contract extension. For example, as much as I’d love to see Francisco Lindor in a Blue Jays uniform, I’m not in favour of the idea unless the 4x All-Star is guaranteed to stick around for more than one year.
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 say that for a number of reasons, but the biggest is because I don’t see 2021 as the year the Blue Jays should be pushing their chips to the centre of the table. I have faith that they’ll be competitive again next season, and I’d even bet on them returning to the playoffs. However, there are some big hurdles and learning curves that need to be navigated before they’re ready to overtake teams like the Dodgers and Rays.
Dropping Lindor into the Blue Jays’ offence would make them one of the scariest lineups in baseball, there’s little doubt about that. But beyond the experience that’s still needed for guys like Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio, and more, is the fact that the Blue Jays’ pitching staff is still lacking. I absolutely believe in the direction they’re headed with the pitchers as well, but beyond Hyun Jin Ryu, there’s no one else I’d like to see starting a playoff game at this stage. Nate Pearson might be there by next fall, but again, that experience factor plays huge.
Of course, the entire discussion changes if Lindor or another target were willing to sign an extension, but it’s hard to say how likely that is right now. The pandemic has changed a lot things about the game, especially financially, and star players like Lindor may prefer to wait a year for when things have returned closer to normal and his agent can draw in a bigger group of bidders.
My assumption is that the Blue Jays won’t trade for Lindor unless they can talk to him about an extension first, but they wouldn’t be the first team to gamble on being able to convince a star to stick around. I do feel like they’re a year or two away from being ready for that type of move though, and I’m curious to see if the Blue Jays front office agrees.