The Toronto Blue Jays have a number of irons in the fire, some could effect current players, which could require difficult conversations
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The Toronto Blue Jays have been linked to a number of big time offseason targets, some more realistic than others, but all presenting a level of intrigue and excitement that has been quite high. Though, the excitement suffers a bit when teams like the San Diego Padres rock the MLB world, there is still hope that Ross Atkins et al can reward our patience with a couple noteworthy acquisitions. If that is the case, though, there are likely to have been private conversations between the front office and current players as some moves could impact them significantly.
With the talk of the Blue Jays trying to convince DJ LeMahieu to play for them, it looks as though third base has been made a priority, or at the very least the infield has. Looking around the diamond though you see that really third base is the only place where a question mark exists. With Cavan Biggio and Bo Bichette presenting as everyday options at their positions, and first base looking to have Rowdy Tellez and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.battling for time, third is where the uncertainty lies.
Before you shout at your screen that Vlad will be given the chance to play third, I’d like you to pause for a second, because this is really the crux of this post. There would have been conversations had with the young star about his future. That much is clear based on the constant babble about his conditioning and weight loss followed by his appearance at the hot corner in the Dominican. So, we know that conversation has been had.
But, what happens if his efforts haven’t resulted in improved defense? Early indications are that he has not. So, how much rope will he be given moving forward. They most definitely would have discussed this with him. Are they willing to let him have Spring Training? Are they willing to give him a couple months of the 2021 season? Or, will it depend on if they can land a more palatable option this winter? All of this makes for potentially difficult discussions behind closed doors.
On the one hand, the team could simply tell him to suck it up and do as he’s told. Technically, he is their employee and could very well do that. But, is that really a smart way to treat your rising stars? Or, any player for that matter? Surely, how you go about this business will certainly be known beyond their clubhouse, which could impact future negotiations with free agents, etc. While it is an assumption, it seems pretty safe to assume that the Blue Jays would err on the side of respecting their players.
With that in mind, there are a couple other potential conversations to consider. For example, let’s discuss Bichette. The Blue Jays have been linked to Francisco Lindor, which would directly impact the current short stop. Now, he has already said he would change positions for someone who makes the team significantly better, which Lindor would certainly qualify as. But, how many potential targets would satisfy Bichette’s definition of a significant addition?
Again, this is part of a conversation that would surely have happened, and not necessarily contentiously. If we follow the thinking further, there would likely be a conversation necessary with Mr Biggio. It isn’t automatic that either would be willing or even asked to play third base. Bichette could move to second. So, a chat with Biggio would be in order. That may be even more pressing when you consider whether the club deems his play in other positions as viable.
Shifting to the outfield, Randal Grichuk has to be thinking about how this offseason will impact him. With his club being linked to George Springer, his playing time could be in jeopardy. Now, you probably are thinking that he shouldn’t be playing CF anyway and is more of a corner outfielder. However, as of right now, he is the everyday guy and Springer would effect that. If the Blue Jays choose to follow a respectful approach, they most certainly would have had to chatted with Grichuk in advance.
Every team, every winter, likely has a number of these conversations, but what is more interesting is how much stock the Blue Jays may put into these conversations, particularly what the current player’s preferences are. Obviously, what an incoming player wants definitely plays into decisions. What is said in house, behind closed doors, may never be known, but logic dictates that the conversations certainly have and will continue to happen.
Even more interesting is how all of you feel about these conversations. What would you say and how much would you listen?
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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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.