The Toronto Blue Jays have made a commitment to building a sustainable, winning team…just like the Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox are the 2018 World Series Champions. There, it has been said. Ugh. For fans of the Toronto Blue Jays, there are very few things worse than that first sentence. Of course, if we’re being honest, behind the vitriol exists a rather large amount of jealousy. Sitting back and watching the Red Sox win yet another championship – their 4th in 14 years – really just highlights the envy that Toronto fans have. We have to beg and plead for a winning team and when we get one, it disappears almost as quickly.
But, early on this season, it was clear that this would be the Red Sox’ year. While the Houston Astros are undeniably good, the Red Sox were the best team in baseball, bar none. As painful as it is to say that, it is true. They are a balanced team like none other. They are a mixture of youth, experience, stars and role players. And, they have become so in a fashion the Blue Jays are looking to mimic as they (re)build a winner.
Think about the Red Sox for a minute. If you look at their roster, it is flush with home grown talent. The likes of Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers litter their field and will do so for a long time. Boston has been able to scout, draft, develop some of the top talent in baseball. Now, there is no guarantee that all the effort a team puts into the organization beneath the big leagues will ever make its way up and alter the fortunes at the MLB level, but it just so happens that Boston has been able to produce impactful young studs to fill their roster.
This is something Toronto seems to be working very hard on. The current management team took over determined to rebuild a system that the previous regime drew from at its will in the name of collecting big league talent. The “new” approach has an increased emphasis on drafting and developing. That may not seem overly sexy since this methodology does not produce for a long time, but if done correctly, it should produce waves of talent.
With Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Cavan Biggio and Nate Pearson representing the Blue Jays at the Arizona Fall League All Star game, the argument could be made that the first wave is getting close. A closer look at the organizational depth that has the Blue Jays with one of the Top 5 farm systems reveals that there is not one level that houses all of the prospect capital. It is spread across multiple levels. It is this stream of talent that moves this club closer to being able to field a big league club of home grown talent.
Of course, the Red Sox did not develop all of their players. They have been able to hand over
stupid significant amounts of money to free agents like David Price and J.D. Martinez. Having young, controllable talent on your roster means you can keep payroll low and it enables you to spend money elsewhere. The Blue Jays are moving into a period where their big money contracts are coming off the books, little by little. In the next couple of seasons, you’re going to see more and more money freed up. The talent level is going to get younger and cheaper.
Before anyone goes into a rant about cheap Rogers, it needs to be pointed out that Rogers has been bankrolling a rather large payroll for the last few seasons. They haven’t been cheap. Team President, Mark Shapiro, has always said money will be there when he goes asking for it. But, it hasn’t made sense to do that lately. Sure, payroll can always go up in order to bring in a name that everyone knows for the sake of selling tickets, but that flies in the face of logic. What sells tickets is a winning club, a club that can win year after year. So, the Blue Jays won’t spend just because we want them to.
However, when the time is right, when the club has a legitimate chance at winning with what they have, you can bet that payroll will go up. Now, will it rival the money that Boston (or New York) can throw around? Hell, no. Having a team run by a Canadian conglomerate, as opposed to a wealthy family or individual is vastly different. But, to think that Rogers will run a team out there that could win and say no to spending at the same time might be rather unfair.
A whole lot has to go right for a team to win a World Series. Even more has to go right for them to do it as often as the Red Sox have done in the past 20 years or so. Building a young core of players and then complimenting them with high end, pricier talent is probably how every team envisions their path to glory. Under new management, the Blue Jays have made a commitment to doing just that. They won’t trade off boat loads of talent in an attempt to go all in and steal a championship. Instead, they’ll take the patient approach. Fans might not like this. It might be uncomfortable for a while. But, if you ask fans of the Boston Red Sox, it is totally worth it.
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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.