The 2019 Blue Jays: Not REALLY letting the kids play

The Blue Jays are supposed to be younger, more athletic, and building for the future. So what’s with all the 30-somethings being signed?

 

 

 

On April 2nd, 2018 TSN posted “Average age in MLB drops, but Jays are oldest team”. (full post)

 

The TSN post names the Philadelphia Phillies as the youngest at 26.92 and Toronto as the oldest at 31.01, while the average age of a major league player on Opening Day dropped to 28.91.

 

The 2018 Blue Jays Opening Roster

 

Pitchers

John Axford-RHP (35)

Danny Barnes-RHP (28)

Tyler Clippard-RHP (33)

Marco Estrada-RHP (34)

Jaime Garcia-LHP (31)

J.A. Happ-LHP (35)

Aaron Loup-LHP (30)

Seung Hwan Oh-RHP (35)

Roberto Osuna-RHP (23)

Aaron Sanchez-RHP (25)

Marcus Stroman-RHP (27)

Ryan Tepera-RHP (30)

Batters

Luke Maile– C (27)

Russell Martin-C (35)

Aledmys Diaz-INF (27)

Josh Donaldson-3B (32)

Kendrys Morales– DH/1B (35)

Gift Ngoepe-INF (28)

Justin Smoak-1B/DH (31)

Yangervis Solarte-INF (30)

Devon Travis-2B (27)

Curtis Granderson-OF (37)

Randal Grichuk-OF (26)

Steve Pearce-1B/LF (35)

Kevin Pillar-CF (29)

 

*All ages were collected from Baseball Reference 2018 Toronto Blue Jays Statistics page and may not reflect the player’s exact age on Opening Day.

 

Over the 2018 season, the team welcomed a few of the system’s prospects to major leagues while saying goodbye to several over 30-yr-old players.

 

The Blue Jays continued to move their older players over the winter with Martin being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers and Troy Tulowitzki being paid to left. All this was done for the apparent ‘youth movement’.

 

Since the beginning of Spring Training, I’ve heard ‘letting kids play’. I’ve watched interviews raving about how young this team is and the important influence of veterans, such as Shoemaker will have on young arms in the Blue Jays rotation and bullpen or Morales on the young infielders or Pillar on the young outfielders (alright I made up the last one but I’m sure it’s been said).

 

So how much younger are the Blue Jays?

 

While guys like 37-yr-old Granderson, 35-yr-old Martin, 32-yr-old Donaldson, 35-yr-old Happ, and 34-yr-old Estrada are off the roster. The Blue Jays added 35-yr-old Clayton Richard, 34-yr-old Clay Buchholz, 32-yr-old David Phelps and Matt Shoemaker, and 29-yr-old Freddy Galvis. I am pretty certain 34-yr-old Bud Norris will be added to the 40-man before Opening Day.

 

What happened to ‘let the kids play’?

 

The Opening Day Roster has not been set with roughly 3 weeks of Spring Training games left to play. But there are projected rosters that we could use to get a general idea.

 

Pitchers

Marcus Stroman (27.8)

Aaron Sanchez (26.7)

Matt Shoemaker (32.4)

Clay Buchholz (34.6)

Clayton Richard (35.5)

Ryan Tepera (31.3)

Joe Biagini (28.8)

Tim Mayza (not many lefty RP) (27.1)

Ken Giles (28.5)

David Paulino (25.1) or Sam Gaviglio (28.8)

John Axford (35.9)

Elvis Luciano (19.0)

Bud Norris (34.0)

 

Batters

Kevin Pillar (30.2)

Randal Grichuck (27.6)

Teoscar Hernandez (26.4)

Billy McKinney (24.5)

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (25.5)

Justin Smoak (32.2)

Kendrys Morales (35.7)

Brandon Drury (26.5)

Danny Jansen (23.9)

Freddy Galvis (29.3)

Luke Maile (28.1)

Devon Travis (if healthy) (28.0) or Richard Urena (23.0)

 

Not using any of the ‘or’ players, the average age for this roster would be 28.98 which is still slightly older than the 2018 average but much younger than the 2018 Blue Jays.

 

Are the Blue Jays Young Enough?

 

If the Blue Jays are serious about letting the kids play, then they should be the youngest or really close to the youngest in the American League East, right?

 

Wrong.

 

That title belongs to the Tampa Bay Rays at 27.52, followed closely by the dumpster fire Baltimore Orioles at 27.85. Then the Blue Jays followed by the New York Yankees at 29.54 and the World Series Champs Boston Red Sox at 29.78.

 

What if the Blue Jays return their Rule 5 selection, 19-yr-old Luciano, to the Kansas City Royals and replaced him with a player whose age was league average (28.91)? The Blue Jays average age would increase to 29.38.

 

What if the Blue Jays decided not to play the service time game with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (20.0)? Let’s assume Devon Travis’ inflamed knees prevent him from starting his season on Opening Day and Vladdy takes his place. The Blue Jays, with Luciano and Vlad minus Travis, would have an average age of 28.66.

 

It seems to this blogger the Blue Jays aren’t really letting the kids the play but instead are telling the fans what they want to hear.

 

This Front Office is kinda rebuilding but not really. There are no illusions of the 2019 Blue Jays competing for a Wild Card spot, so what’s with all the veterans taking up spots on the 25-man and 40-man roster?

 

Honestly, how much of a return will a Buchholz, Norris, Galvis, or Axford net the Blue Jays at the Trade Deadline if that was the purpose of signing them?

 

If the addition of Buchholz results in Ryan Borucki returning to the minors or Galvis taking away at-bats from Gurriel, this Front Office needs to look up ‘rebuild’ in the dictionary. Just let the kids play.

 

 

 

 

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Ryan Mueller

Lover of all things Toronto Blue Jays. Blue Jays MiLB fanatic. I strive for average while stumbling onto above average. Rogers isn't cheap. Baseball is a business. Your right, but I'm more right.