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Blue Jays: I simulated the offseason four times- Here’s what happened

TORONTO, CANADA - DECEMBER 4: President Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins pose for a photo after speaking to the media as Atkins is introduced as the new general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays during a press conference on December 4, 2015 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, CANADA - DECEMBER 4: President Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins pose for a photo after speaking to the media as Atkins is introduced as the new general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays during a press conference on December 4, 2015 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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Sep 7, 2021; Bronx, New York, USA; Toronto Blue Jays designated hitter Alejandro Kirk (30) reacts with his teammates after hitting a solo home run against the New York Yankees during the eighth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports /

Offseason Four- Ran By Yours Truly

To give this whole exercise a bit of variety, I decided to handle things a little differently when I manually took over. I still made Qualifying Offers to Semien and Ray, but I decided to take a different approach this time around.

I started by letting Semien walk, which was hard to do without at least making a bid. That said, it turned out to be just fine, as he signed an eight-year, 248 million dollar contract with the Chicago White Sox for some reason. As I mentioned earlier in this article, sometimes the figures get a little out of touch with reality in The Show, and this is a pretty good example. In the end, it was probably a good thing that I didn’t bid on Semien.

I did make an aggressive offer on Robbie Ray though, and signed the left-handed to a five-year, 95 million dollar contract. If the Blue Jays could sign him at that rate in reality then I’m sure they’d jump on the chance, but I’m guessing his next contract will easily exceed 100 million. For the purposes of the video game, I kept Ray in a Blue Jays uniform and solidified the rotation.

Without Semien I had to find a way to fill an infield spot, and I went the route that many Blue Jays fans would like to see Ross Shapiro take this offseason, and that’s to call Cleveland about Jose Ramirez. It took a lot longer than I care to admit, mostly because I was too stubborn to trade Orelvis Martinez or Gabriel Moreno, but I managed to bring Ramirez into the fold for the steep cost of Alejandro Kirk, Jordan Groshans, and C.J, Van Eyk. That’s a big price to pay in prospect capital, but I think the Jays would do it in reality if it came down to it.

I made another reasonably big trade, and this time it was with the Milwaukee Brewers. I wanted to make sure I shored up the back of the bullpen, and to do that I acquired Devin Williams, who had a 2.50 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP over 54.0 innings for the Brewers in 2021. Not only can be serve as a valuable set-up man for Jordan Romano, but he comes with four years of contract control and won’t even be arbitration eligible for the first time until after the 2022 season. He was also the NL Rookie of the Year during the shortened 2021 campaign, and looks to have a very bright future ahead of him.

A guy like that doesn’t come cheap either, and this time I had to give up a package that included Otto Lopez (#5 Blue Jays prospect according to MLB.com), and Trent Palmer (#30). Giving up Lopez stings, but I managed to hang on to Orelvis Martinez, Gabriel Moreno, and Miguel Hiraldo while wheeling and dealing, so I still call that a win.

To finish things off, I traded Randal Grichuk along with a computer-generated prospect to the Detroit Tigers for Matt Boyd, which was an offer I was a bit surprised to see get accepted. That said, the trade should allow Grichuk to get a chance to start full-time somewhere else, which was one of the points of making the swap. I also picked up Boyd to serve as the #5 starter, hoping that Pete Walker can work his magic. At the very least Boyd would push Nate Pearson to have to perform well enough to win a rotation job.

To replace Grichuk I signed Joc Pederson to take his spot as the extra outfielder and occasional DH. That left me with a lineup that looks like this:

1- George Springer (CF)
2- Jose Ramirez (3B)
3- Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (1B)
4- Bo Bichette (SS)
5- Teoscar Hernandez (RF)
6- Joc Pederson (LF)
7- Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (DH)
8- Danny Jansen (C)
9- Cavan Biggio (2B)

Bench: Santiago Espinal, Reese McGuire, Josh Palacios, Kevin Smith

I’ll readily admit that the bench still needs some work, but this was my fourth simulation and I was ready to let go of the finer details at this point. Bringing back someone like a Jarrod Dyson as a 5th outfielder could make a lot of sense, and they could always go with a 3-man bench when they wanted to expand the pitching staff.

Speaking of the pitching staff, here’s how things lined up when I was done tinkering:

Rotation

1- Robbie Ray
2- Jose Berrios
3- Hyun Jin Ryu
4- Alek Manoah
5- Matt Boyd/Nate Pearson

Bullpen

1- Jordan Romano
2- Devin Williams
3- Tim Mayza
4- Adam Cimber
5- Trevor Richards
6- Ryan Borucki
7- Julian Merryweather
8- Ross Stripling
*- Pearson?

That’s an outstanding pitching staff on paper, if I may say so, with the biggest question marks surrounding the health of Merryweather and Borucki. Depth would be a key element again, but the upside is very real in both the rotation and the bullpen. They could likely use at least one more reliable veteran, but Williams alone would make a huge impact, and the 2021 trades for Cimber and Richards will pay dividends next season as well.

I know it’s just a simulation, but I feel like the game plan that I’ve laid out here is actually pretty feasible. I’m not suggesting that the Blue Jays should assume they can acquire players like Ramirez and Williams, but I believe they have the trade chips to get those deals done, and without having to trade their untouchable prospects. I also stayed within a very reasonable budget, which should make ownership happy.

Next. A free agent I'd love to see working with Pete Walker. dark

It’s going to be an extremely interesting offseason to be a Blue Jays fan, especially if the front office acts aggressively again as they have the last two winters. So far it appears like they’re operating like a team that’s very close to being a legit World Series contender, and that could lead to an exciting winter.

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