What happens next?
At some point the MLB offseason is going to resume, and the league is likely going to have some sort of shortened Spring Training ahead of the start of the regular season schedule. For the sake of my sanity I choose to believe that it’ll still happen *close* to on time, but that remains to be seen.
Whenever that does take place, the Blue Jays will be among the many teams looking for finishing touches to their roster in hopes of returning to the playoffs, and hoping taking another step toward returning to the World Series. We know Atkins and company are going to do some bargain shopping, especially when it comes to depth for the pitching staff, but will there be another noteworthy acquisition?
That’s the question Blue Jays fans have been pondering for a few months now, and it might be the kind of move that pushes the team from contenders to one of the true favourites. Whether that means trying to trade for another star like Jose Ramirez, Ketel Marte, or to a lesser extend someone like Matt Chapman, or perhaps making an offer to one of the big remaining free agents, like Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, or even someone like Trevor Story.
Regardless of how things shape up before this season starts, I’m now in a place where I believe that the front office will invest if they see the right opportunity. That may not present itself right away, but Atkins and his team clearly have the trust of ownership, which has loosened the chain on their wallets in recent years.
While the Blue Jays will more than likely pursue another piece or two of the puzzle, they’ll also have to think about long-term extensions for some of their homegrown stars. Foundational pieces like Vlad Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette have four years of club control remaining on their deals, and their salaries will certainly escalate whether they’re extended or not. The Blue Jays have to be aware that they have a significant financial commitment to those two and more coming up, which makes their investments in other free agents all that more encouraging.
As of now, Fangraphs as the Blue Jays down for a estimated payroll of 140 million, and I’m confident that will be short of what they ultimately spend in pursuit of a return to World Series glory. I believe that the next step is to enter the true finishing stages of the rebuild, and making an aggressive toward the top of the MLB heap. I think that’ll come in the short-term with another infielder added to the mix, and in the long-term as well with efforts to extend their young core pieces.
Whenever Major League Baseball resumes the Blue Jays will be in a legitimate “win-now” phase, and I can’t wait to see how the front office finishes off their long-term roster plan, and how the boys on the field ultimately deliver. Please baseball, come back soon.