The Blue Jays have many options going into the upcoming 2021-22 offseason. He is one (of many!) possible scenarios
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The upcoming offseason is going to be an interesting one. Robbie Ray, Marcus Semien and Steven Matz will all be free agents, and there are still question marks for the Blue Jays around third base, the bullpen, and left field. The offseason could play out in many ways, but here is one possible scenario. The usual caveats – this is one (hopefully plausible) scenario of many, presented as an exercise in the art of “what if?”
The Jays re-sign Steven Matz early in the offseason, fearing that the competition for the top tier starting pitchers will be particularly fierce. Sadly, their suspicions are confirmed. Robbie Ray signs for 6/$150m with the Angels, and Gausman and Scherzer re-up with the Giants and Dodgers, respectively. The Jays badly need a top-of-rotation young controllable arm, so they acquire Sandy Alcantara from the Marlins (after Florida fails to extend him) for a package of players built around Gabriel Moreno. So the Jays rotation going into 2022 becomes Alcantara – Ryu – Berrios – Manoah – Matz, with Nate Pearson knocking hard on the door (and Stripling and Merryweather as wild cards).
The Jays attempt to re-sign Semien, but there are issues. Not only is he looking for Springer-level money, but he only wants a gig where he is playing shortstop or second base. The Jays badly want to give Bo another year at short, hoping that he can overcome his problem with balls where he has to come in, so moving him off short is problematic. Similarly, they have determined that Cavan is not suited to third base or to a utility infielder role, but they believe that he can be an above-average second baseman if he is allowed to focus exclusively on that position. So they need a third baseman – and (in my scenario) Marcus is not keen.
The Jays touch base with Oakland, hoping that the rumours that the final two years of control of Matt Chapman might be available are true. A novel concept – the Jays trading with the A’s for an all-star third baseman! But it turns out that, while Oakland is willing to listen, their price is sky-high and their focus is on existing MLB-level talent. The Jays can not afford to part with players like Teoscar and Alek, so there is no trade fit.
The Jays then kick the tires on the top shortstop free agents – Corey Seager, Carlos Correa, Trevor Story – but they are (a) asking for Lindor-esque contracts and (b) unwilling to move off shortstop. But Javier Báez is willing to move to third (where he is an outstanding career +14 DRS/1200) and his high strikeout percentage and poor 2020 push him into the second tier of shortstops, allowing the Jays to sign him for 5/$80 million.
The Jays sign another depth starting arm (perhaps a Daniel Norris reunion?) and two more veteran arms for the bullpen (say, a Brad Boxberger and his 11.55 K/9 in 2021 and a Jesse Chavez with his 3.12 xERA). They start the conversations with Vladdy and Bo about extensions, but there is no interest for anything less than a Tatis-level offer. They do, however, manage to convince Teoscar Hernandez (who would otherwise be a free agent in 2024) to sign a 5-year, $60 million extension before the new CBA, possibly with a substantial signing bonus.
The bottom line
This is my completely hypothetical (but not completely crazy) scenario for the upcoming offseason. If you have an alternate dream/vision/prognostication, let me know in the comments below.
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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A Jays fan since pre-Series, Jim’s biggest baseball regret is that he did not play hooky with his buddies on 7 Apr 77. But hearing “Fanfare For The Common Man” played from a rooftop on 24 Oct 92 helped him atone.