Players seem to really enjoy playing for the Toronto Blue Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays seem like a great organization to play for looking from the outside


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When you’re starting out your career as a professional baseball player, you would pretty much be willing to go to any organization that’s willing to take a chance on you. Unless you’re a top prospect with many scouts watching you, you don’t really have the leverage to choose where you want to go. In fact, unless you’re Shohei Ohtani who had recruiting pitches from all 30 major league teams when he was an international free agent coming over from Japan, you can’t choose where you want to land.

 

When starting out, you can get selected in the first rule player draft and have no say in which team drafts you. You can choose not to sign a contract with the team that ends up taking you but that just puts you farther back in your potential professional baseball career.

 

Once you’ve established yourself as a major league player though, that’s when you can start picking and choosing where you wanna go. If you don’t want to play for a specific team for whatever reason, you don’t have to go to that team.

 

Guys like Robbie Ray, A.J. Cole and Joe Panik would all be able to help other teams across the league but they all decided to come back to the organization they played for last season in the Toronto Blue Jays.

 

The first signing of the offseason was done by the Blue Jays when they signed Ray to a one-year deal worth $8 million. One of the reasons Ray mentioned that he came back was because of the connection he made with pitching coach Pete Walker and because of that, he felt like he was a better version of himself as a pitcher.

 

On December 2nd, the Blue Jays had a tough decision to make in regards to whether to tender a contract to A.J. Cole who posted a 3.09 ERA in 24 games. Through arbitration, he was projected to earn anywhere from $800,000-$1.1 million although they ultimately decided to non-tender him which made him a free agent.

 

With the stats Cole put up last year, he could have probably gotten himself a major league deal with a team in need of middle relievers but he decided to come back to the Blue Jays on a minor league deal, a contract that doesn’t guarantee him a spot on the big league roster. If he makes the team, he’ll earn $1 million with $200,000 available to be earned through incentives which are based off of innings pitched.

 

While Cole could have gone elsewhere where he could have guaranteed himself a spot on a major league roster and probably more money, he bet on himself and came back to the Blue Jays which means he must have enjoyed his time with the team last season.

 

Like Cole, Panik came back to the team he played for last season in the Blue Jays where he could have seen more of the field playing for a different team in 2021. Like last year, Panik is in on a minor league deal but will have a much harder path to playing time this season.

 

The signing of Marcus Semien forced Cavan Biggio to shift across the diamond to third base as the former MVP candidate is expected to take on keystone duties. While Panik appeared at third base and shortstop last season, it may be best to keep him strictly as a second baseman which is his primary position where he won a Gold Glove in 2016. Despite posting a fielding percentage of 1.000 at both third and short, he was worth a combined -4 defensive runs saved on the right side of the infield.

 

If Panik went to a team like the Baltimore Orioles or even the Washington Nationals as examples, in which both teams could use help at second base, Panik could have gotten more playing time, more money and possibly even a major league contract.

 

Despite the reasons stated above, all of Ray, Cole and Panik are back with the team which showed they enjoyed being a Blue Jay. This could be viewed as an indirect message to players across the league that the Blue Jays are a great organization to play for in all aspects ranging from competitiveness, training, how the front office and organization treats its players and much more.

 

That’s all coming from the fact that none of Ray, Cole or Panik have played in Toronto at the Rogers Centre in a Blue Jays uniform.

 

 

 

 

*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.

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