The Toronto Blue Jays have traded most of their bigger contracts, which leaves them lots of spending money…if they choose to use it
The Toronto Blue Jays have traded Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez, clearing themselves of further contracts that require relatively large financial commitments. Of course, that is relative because the two hurlers were hardly making significant money. But, in a year where the team is very clearly looking to compete a few years from now, they’ve managed to shed some salary. If we count Kendrys Morales and Kevin Pillar being dealt, it is very clear that Toronto’s front office is shedding payroll, as well as grooming future contributors.
We have heard that the club is trying to establish its future core, so they are playing younger kids to see if they fit in the plans. This makes sense, but we should also conisder the other benefit of this approach: money. It would be easy to say that management and ownership are cheap and are simply trying to save money, but we have heard GM, Ross Atkins, and President, Mark Shapiro, talk about spending in free agency when the core is clear and the time is right. IF that is the case, they have certainly positioned themselves to add quality players and spend appropriately.
The idea for this post came to me from a tweet from a good friend, Mat Germain:
The #BlueJays will enter the offseason set to pay Troy Tulowitzki $14M in 2020, more than any player on their roster. Grichuck is next at $13M. With just $17M in commitments to active players for 2020, they should be targeting some top end SP (Gerrit Cole?).
— Mat Germain (@Mat_Germain_) August 1, 2019
Now, I am not calling for the Blue Jays to sign Gerrit Cole. I am not suggesting any individual player, for that matter. Even though, there are some interesting arms potentially available this coming offseason, the timing doesn’t seem right. We can bet that next year is going to be rather similar to this in that the core will be still establishing itself. Sure, a year under their belt makes them better, but the front office would be kidding itself if it tried to convince free agents that this group is ready to provide a winning team.
No, at the earliest, this team will be looking at the next free agent class, which includes Stroman and Sanchez and some other enticing arms. By then, thsi young club will be that much more advanced and the front office will have had another winter and July Trade Deadline to work with.
It is quite possible that we see Atkins target mid level arms, both for the rotation and the bullpen and then try to turn them into young, controllable pitching. It is definitely their M.O. As well, by then Nate Pearson will be making a push for a starting job. There will also be other arms making their way up. By the 2020/21 free agent period, we could see the need for free agents somewhat decreased from where it is right now.
Likely, that is idea behind the current plan. This Trade Deadline notwithstanding, there is obviously a plan to get younger, more controllable (read cheaper) players on the roster and supplement by spending on a few pieces. We also shouldn’t rule out the way Houston has been operating over the past few years. Once their core was ready, they were able to trade for proven, more expensive, talent like Justin Verlander and most recently Zack Greinke.
With the salary commitments shaping up to be minimal, it is entirely possible that the Toronto Blue Jays are in a position to make some big splashes via free agency and/or the trade route. That would be a welcome change since this year has been all about doing the exact opposite and shedding any kind of fan favourites. The real question is whether fans will trust Atkins lond enough to hang on to see this play out.
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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.