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Blue Jays: Are They Done With Their Offseason Shopping?

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 26: General manager Ross Atkins of the Toronto Blue Jays speaks to the media before introducing Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 before his MLB debut later tonight against the Oakland Athletics at Rogers Centre on April 26, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 26: General manager Ross Atkins of the Toronto Blue Jays speaks to the media before introducing Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 before his MLB debut later tonight against the Oakland Athletics at Rogers Centre on April 26, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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There was a flurry of activity Saturday night in the baseball world.  Headlining all of the noise was Justin Turner, re-signing with the Dodgers, and James Paxton heading back to Seattle.  Among all of the activity, Scott Mitchell of TSN mentioned some very interesting news that didn’t really get a ton of attention due to all of the other moves that had taken place that night.

According to Mitchell, the Blue Jays have hit the ceiling of their budget and may not be looking to spend much more money, if any at all, this offseason.  In a follow up tweet, Mitchell stated that he could be wrong, but the Jays may be looking to just do some bargain hunting on the free agent market or trade for a cheaper player.

The projected payroll sits at just over 122 million dollars, according to Spotrac.  They’ve had a payroll much higher than this in past years, sitting between 150 and 170 million dollars between 2016 and 2018.

The Jays came out at the beginning of the offseason and said they were going to spend, and they did just that handing out a huge contract to George Springer, and relatively big deals to Marcus Semien and Kirby Yates.  Despite all of the moves they made, I think many fans, including myself, thought that this offseason was going to be business as usual and that the Jays would at least get close to what they were spending just a couple of years ago when they were contending, despite losing revenue last season.

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It seems that Rogers may have been hurt a little more than we thought by not having gate revenue in 2020.  Combining this with the threat of a strike next season due to the CBA expiring, Rogers may have decided that they weren’t comfortable completely opening their wallet until there’s a little more certainty about how much money they’re going to make over the next two to three seasons.

The Jays still have a need for starting pitching, and there are still quality arms on the market, like Jake Odorizzi and Taijuan Walker.  However, the Jays reportedly never even made Paxton an offer before he signed last night, so if they weren’t willing to give him 8.5 million dollars on a one year deal, I doubt that they are going to want to give Walker or Odorizzi more money and possibly more years.

If this is the end of the offseason, it was still a pretty successful one.  The Blue Jays were able to improve their team in multiple areas and created one of the more intimidating lineups in all of baseball as well.  This team reminds me a lot of the one we had back in 2015 heading into the season, where they had a super strong lineup but the rotation wasn’t quite there yet.  The lineup was able to overcome some of the struggles on the mound and keep them at .500 until the trade deadline, where former GM Alex Anthopoulos was able to add some reinforcements to the rotation and the bullpen.

Ross Atkins may have a similar plan heading into this season, where he’s going to see what they have in guys like Steven Matz, Robbie Ray and Tanner Roark, hope the lineup can win enough games to stay competitive, and then add at the deadline if necessary.

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I know there’s going to be a chunk of the fan base that’s frustrated that more wasn’t done this offseason.  If the Blue Jays are done spending, I think that fans should take a moment and appreciate the guys that the front office were able to bring in, and how much better this team is than it was at the start of last season.  This team is not complete by any means. Thankfully it’s competitive window is just beginning to open, and Aktins will have plenty of opportunities to keep adding, whether it is at the deadline or next offseason.

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