Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays clearly aren’t going to waste a special opportunity

Sep 8, 2021; Bronx, New York, USA; Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (27) is hugged by shortstop Bo Bichette (11) after hitting a solo home run in the ninth inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 8, 2021; Bronx, New York, USA; Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (27) is hugged by shortstop Bo Bichette (11) after hitting a solo home run in the ninth inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports /
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With the core in place in Toronto these days, the Blue Jays have a special opportunity in front of them and it’s clear the front office doesn’t want to waste it.

It’s not every day that you wind up with a generational talent like Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in your organization, and he’s not alone when it comes to young, elite talent in Toronto. Young Vlad had a breakout season in 2021 that saw him finish 2nd in AL MVP voting, and leading the American League in home runs (48), runs scored (123), on-base percentage (.401), slugging percentage (.601), OPS (1.002), OPS+ (169), and total bases (363). It was a remarkable showing from the 22 year old, and the scary part is that the best is likely yet to come for the Canadian-born star.

He’s hardly on his own either, as the Blue Jays are fortunate enough to have a worthy sidekick in Bo Bichette under the same four-year window of contract control, and other pre-arbitration talents like Alek Manoah and Jordan Romano. They have high-priced stars like George Springer, Kevin Gausman, Jose Berrios, and more, and emerging weapons like Teoscar Hernandez and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to really make the roster long and dangerous.

This roster assembly hasn’t happened overnight, and I’ve written before about how and why we should tip our caps to Ross Atkins and the front office team for the work they’ve done. Considering they basically started this rebuild in 2018, made the expanded playoffs in 2020, and then won 91 games (while missing out on the postseason by one game) last year, we have to give credit where it’s due.

While I’ll stop short of applauding the ownership group, I will recognize that we’ve entered an era where Rogers has shown more of a willingness to spend. For many years they’ve operated with the philosophy of “we’ll spend when we win”, which always felt a bit backwards to me, even if I do understand the short-term economics of the idea. When the Blue Jays are good and are in the playoff race, the Rogers Centre is full and interest around the team really spikes. That generates revenue, and ownership generally loosens the reigns a bit when they’re making more money. That’s where things stand at the moment, which is why we’ve already seen big contracts for guys like Berrios and Gausman this winter, and Springer last year.

On top of that, it’s clear that the front office has entered a true, “win-now” state of mind, and I’m thrilled to see it. As if the roster moves that they have made weren’t enough proof, we’ve heard the Blue Jays linked to some of the very top of the heap talent in free agency, including Corey Seager before he signed his 10-year, 325 million dollar contract with the Rangers. For those of us that have been Blue Jays fans for a decade or two, the fact that they were considered “serious” with Seager, even in the rumour mill, was shocking.

I’m not sure that I would expect a 10-year contract before Atkins and company finish their work this offseason, but I do believe they’ve sent enough signals to keep us excited, even in the current lockout state of MLB. I expect that the Blue Jays will continue to be one of the more aggressive teams when it comes to finding roster improvements, with an obvious goal of returning to the playoffs, and hopefully even reaching the World Series. That used to sound like a lofty idea, but things have changed over the last year or two.

Next. What the Jays can do with their extra picks. dark

Not only do the Blue Jays have the talent to be considered as a legitimate threat to win a championship in 2022 and beyond, but they also have a front office group that’s behaving like a team that plans to win. We don’t always get to enjoy these prosperous times as Blue Jays fans, and it’s great to see that the powers that be seem to recognize the special opportunity ahead.

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