Blue Jays becoming what Boras hoped they “should and could be”

MIAMI, FLORIDA - JULY 12: Agent Scott Boras prior to the game between the Miami Marlins and the New York Mets at Marlins Park on July 12, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - JULY 12: Agent Scott Boras prior to the game between the Miami Marlins and the New York Mets at Marlins Park on July 12, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

MLB super-agent Scott Boras spoke about the Blue Jays on Thursday, saying they’re becoming what he’s always hoped “they should and could be”.

It’s one thing to have the payroll space and an ownership group willing to spend money, but it’s another to convince top-tier free agents to join your team over 29 other options across the big leagues. On occasion, that’s especially the case when you’re the only team situated outside the United States.

Of course, the most important factors for the Blue Jays to chase roster upgrades have been money, and a promising roster, and thankfully it appears they’ve got both going for them at the moment. We’ve heard plenty of rumours about their interest in free agents and possible trade targets, and GM Ross Atkins has openly hinted that they’re looking to have an aggressive winter. If that’s the case, it helps that it sounds like they’ve finally won over baseball’s most powerful agent, Scott Boras.

The 68-year-old agent made an appearance on Sportsnet’s 590 the Fan with Jeff Blair and Stephen Brunt on Thursday, and he was asked about the approach he’s seeing from the Blue Jays so far this winter. Obviously Boras can’t divulge all of the insider information, but he answered in a way that should be encouraging for the Blue Jays fanbase.

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One of the phrases that stood out to me was that Boras expressed that the Jays are becoming who they “should and could be”, as he’s long been a critic of any reserved spending from MLB teams. He’s been especially critical of the Blue Jays in recent years, pointing to their wealthy ownership group in Rogers Communications, and the fact that they’re Canada’s only team, giving them a unique opportunity to market to an entire country, and make more money in the process. However, these days Boras is speaking in a different tone about Ross Atkins and the Blue Jay front office, and I’m sure last winter’s four-year, 80 million dollar pact for his client Hyun Jin Ryu helped change his mind.

On Thursday he told Blair and Brunt:

"“I think the Jays are, again, what I’ve always hoped that the Blue Jays should and could be, and that is that they’re going to be one of the organizations that sits atop the aggressive markets in baseball. You know, they’re in a definite phase where I think they have the lamp, and now they’re looking for the lightbulb.”"

An interesting analogy to be sure, and I can’t say I disagree with Boras here. The Blue Jays have some very talented core pieces, who just so happen to be mostly on pre-arbitration level contracts, or just a little more. If you were building a lineup around just the group including Bo Bichette, Teoscar Hernandez, Cavan Biggio, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Lourdes Gurriel Jr., that’s a pretty enviable position.

That being said, it takes a little bit more to transform a team into a championship contender, and Boras touched on some of that as well.

"“That in signing Ryu, they brought in a leader, they brought in someone who can manage a top-tier of the rotation position. It’s clear they needed more, but it’s certainly someone who demonstrated that he can guide the club and be highly competitive with the other 1’s and 2’s that the other teams in the division and the league offer. That clarity did not exist, also with the evidence that they’ve got, you know, four or five core players that really allow them to be offensively competitive. There are a lot of organizations that can’t say that, so it’s something where adding frosting to that cake I think is something the Blue Jays have a real design on going forward.”"

Yet another analogy, but once again I’m picking up what he’s laying down. He’s right that signing Ryu turned out to be an important step for the franchise, and it was a significant part of their making their first postseason appearance since 2016, even if the playoffs were expanded. Without Ryu they don’t get there, and his veteran arm will be a crucial part of their next few seasons.

He’s also right that it’s clear that the Blue Jays need a few more pieces to take that final step into the upper echelon of MLB teams. Part of that step is simply time and experience needed for their young core, but a few more key additions to the pitching staff are equally, and likely far more important. They may have some homegrown “1’s or 2’s” on the way of their own in Nate Pearson, Alek Manoah, Simeon Woods Richardson and more, but they need need another ace in 2021 and 2022, and that’s not a very realistic expectation for young arms just yet.

An argument against signing George Springer. dark. Next

The good news is that the Blue Jays are actively looking to make the roster better in a number of ways, so much so that even Scott Boras is saying nice things about them these days. That’s a nice change.