Toronto Blue Jays: Why the rotation will do, for now
Saving for a rainy day?
While the Blue Jays can, and will eventually raise their payroll, it’s somewhat understandable if ownership is putting some sort of limitations on the front office. We did just go through a 2020 season without fans in the stands, and it looks like attendance will be at least significantly reduced for 2021, including the Blue Jays playing away from Toronto again due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We’ve also witnessed the Jays already spending more than any other team this offseason, so it’s not as if they’ve been taking a cheap approach this winter.
Assuming that Atkins and company are working with a financial limit, it would make sense if they’re holding on to some money for a rainy day, or more specifically, for the trade market in August. We saw the Blue Jays make several additions to their roster last summer to help them reach the playoffs, including Taijuan Walker, Robbie Ray, Jonathan Villar, and more. I’m not sure that they reach the playoffs last year without those reinforcements, and they could be in a similar place this summer.
And if we’re looking ahead to a potential trade market, there could be several impact players available on a short-term rental due to their expiring contracts. The players that ultimately hit the trade block will depend on which teams are contending by July, but for example, the starting pitching market could hold all kinds of answers for a playoff push. In no particular order, that could include the likes of Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke (Astros), Max Scherzer (Nationals), Lance Lynn (Rangers), Noah Syndergaard (Mets), and many more. It’s entirely possible that Atkins and his staff like what they might see on the trade market this year a lot more than what’s available now.
The Blue Jays reportedly ran out of budget room in 2015 as Alex Anthopoulos was trying to put together deadline deals, and that’s not a position you want to be in. If this is the rationale for Atkins hanging on to a few bucks in February, I can mostly accept that.