Blue Jays: Cancelling games especially hurts in a contention year
Whether you side with the MLB or the MLBPA, one thing is for certain: these CBA negotiations have gone on for far too long. Not seeing any Blue Jays trade rumours and free-agent signings this offseason is driving fans crazy, especially after the eventful 2021 season.
Fans saw Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette put their mark in the Major Leagues, with Junior finishing just shy of an MVP Award. Robbie Ray took home the Cy Young Award and Marcus Semien broke the record for home runs by a second baseman in a single season along with posting an MVP calibre campaign. Alek Manoah rose to the occasion and put his name on the radar of rival AL East batters while numerous other players like Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Teoscar Hernandez shined while navigating three different home stadiums over the course of two seasons. Overall, the Blue Jays showed they were ready to play and contend last season but came up one win shy of a potential playoff berth.
Even with the recent departures of Ray and Semien prior to the lockout, the Jays made a few notable signings in starter Kevin Gausman and reliever Yimi Garcia. The front office has courted Gausman for a few seasons and finally got their man while Garcia is a solid addition that is already addressing one of the key problems that plagued the team last season. They even got last season’s prized trade deadline acquisition in Berrios to commit to the Jays long term, a seven-year pact with a player option after the fifth. It seemed like Ross Atkins and co. were just getting started when they had to put the brakes on, relegated to only being able to sign players to Minor League contracts once the owners locked out the players.
The threat of games being cancelled this year is devastating, especially since the Blue Jays were poised to be one of the top teams in the division and possibly the American League. The Tampa Bay Rays are going to put up a heck of a fight but the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees appear to have taken a step back, although there are still a few key free agents left to be signed.
That hurts as well, the Jays not being able to sign Major League players for most of the offseason. The front office appears to have been given the green light from ownership to expand the salary, bringing in rumours that the club is linked to players like Freddie Freeman and Corey Seager (before he signed with Texas). Factor in the Jose Ramirez trade rumours that have fans willing to sell the farm to bring the third baseman aboard (with good reason), and the Jays can only look to get stronger once the negotiations finally come to an end.
Cancelled games are no good for Major League Baseball or the Blue Jays, but in a season where they could contend, hurts even more.
With the team having gone through so much over the past two years with playing a majority of their games in the United States and multiple home stadiums, cancelling games this year because the two sides cannot agree on a structured agreement hurts more because it looks like it could have been the Blue Jays year to really start contending. Don’t get me wrong, they are going to be strong for a few seasons and not just this season, but after the rebuild and watching the core prospects get their feet wet at the MLB level, it just seems like absolutely poor timing for a club that is looking to prove they can play meaningful October baseball.
For the sake of the game, I hope a CBA comes sooner than later when it comes to this measuring contest. While I admittedly was not around yet for the last strike back in 1994, I have heard many tales from fans across the league who lost their passion for the game because of how the negotiations were handled back then.
With the pace of play already a hot topic, driving fans away and criticizing what type of car Max Scherzer is driving is not what fans want to be seeing when the Spring Training schedule should already be underway. Time to figure it out. TIme to get Major League ballplayers back on the diamond.