Some Blue Jays Lack Luxury of Opting Out of 2020

 

With MLB players choosing to not participate in the 2020 season, there are some Blue Jays who face a difficult decision

 

 

The Toronto Blue Jays have made their way to Toronto while MLB tries to figure out how to make their 2020 season work. There are kinks to be worked out and even if they do get sorted, there is little to no chance that every single player and coach stays Covid free. This reality is causing some MLB veterans to sit the season out. However, that luxury may not be available for everyone.

 

It might be easy for someone like David Price, who has made a significant amount of money over his career, to choose to put his health and that of his family first and sit out the 2020 season. Surely, the decision wasn’t made lightly, but the fact that he can even come to that decision separates him from a large number of major leaguers.

 

If we take the Toronto Blue Jays as an example, there are several players on the roster who are playing for future jobs. For the organization, 2020 was supposed to be a transition year, a year where they evaluate who will be part of their competitive core and who will they part with. Those bubble players are not only looking to impress their current employer, but to show other teams they have value lest they enter the offseason with few to no suitors.

 

Take, for eample, Billy McKinney who came to Toronto in the trade for J.A. Happ. He would be someone who has a (way) outside shot of cracking the big league roster, so he would need the 2020 season to impress. The other piece in the Happ deal, Brandon Drury is in the same boat, which makes the rumour of his testing positive for Covid that much more concerning for him. Obviously, his health is paramount. Now, both McKinney and Drury have options remaining, so there is slightly less pressure on them.

 

If you take a guy like Anthony Alford things become a little less secure. In the little time he has spent at the big league level, he has found little success.

 

Standard Batting
Year Age PA R H 2B HR RBI BA OBP SLG OPS
2017 22 8 0 1 1 0 0 .125 .125 .250 .375
2018 23 21 3 2 0 0 1 .105 .190 .105 .296
2019 24 30 3 5 0 1 1 .179 .233 .286 .519
3 Yr 3 Yr 59 6 8 1 1 2 .145 .203 .218 .422
162 162 290 29 39 5 5 10 .145 .203 .218 .422
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/7/2020.

 

There is a tremendous amount of talent there, but it has not translated to consistency in a Blue Jays uniform. Battling multiple injuries did not help him either. Now, Alford finds himself out of options and in the wrong spot on a list of outfielders vying for playing time. Players in that situation face a difficult decision.

 

They have to weigh the health of their family and themselves against their future in baseball. This might sound over-dramatic, but it is a reality. If guys like Mike Trout don’t feel comfortable, how can an Alford? Players in this boat don’t have a big nest egg to fall back on.

 

For every MLB player, there is likely a high degree of stress from the reality of having to play under such conditions. While cancelling the season is probably the smart thing to do, it doesn’t appear likely right now. So, players will have to make some very difficult decisions.

 

There are several Toronto Blue Jays to whom this may apply. Alford, McKinney, Drury and others enter the 2020 season with needing to perform well. Now, they must weigh whether they will do so and risk getting sick.

 

 

 

 

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Shaun Doyle

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.