Seems the term “rebuilding” has become a dirty word around the greater Toronto area. Well, if you’re one of the area’s residents that this phrase induces anger (or nausea) in, then you’ll be delighted to know the Jays are not, in fact, rebuilding. They are rebuilt, and what you’re seeing more of is what I like to to think of as loading the gun to take their shot. Not just one shot, mind you, but several over the coming years.
Look, I’d be the first to tell you if all this talk about the organization’s prospects and upside was a bunch of BS. But over the course of the last few weeks, I’ve spoken with several prospect evaluation experts that say the Blue Jay’s organization is one of, if not the best organization as far as young, up and coming talent is concerned. I’m talking players that are, or are close to being big league ready (Gose, Hevchavarria, D’arnaud, Cooper, Snider) and players that are a few years off with tremendous upsides (Sanchez, McDade, Syndergaurd, etc…)
Yes, the Jays, just like all teams, can do some upgrades here and there (and will do some rotation reconstruction soon), but as a whole, they’re a solid ORGANIZATION, and close to ready to do battle in the AL. I say organization because that’s what you need to compete in this league. You can’t have a talent heavy big league team with no reinforcements in the minors to fill in when the expensive toys break (take a look at the Phillies right now, or the Red Sox). That’s why I have been, and will continue to be against trades that suck all the impact potential talent from the Jays organization, especially for something as ridiculous as a one game playoff.
Going for big names now simply because there is a chance the Jays might have a shot at a wild card excludes several key factors.
First—The Jays aren’t the only team in contention for a Wild Card spot. There are only 3 teams in the AL with records below 500, and those are the only ones that don’t want to upgrade their chances for a playoff push. Let everyone else run out and spend their prospects. Let everyone else take on exorbitant payrolls for chance to pull the lever and win a one game playoff gamble. It’s a sellers market for used pitching right now. The more interested parties in the market, the more expensive the goods become. The Jays will benefit more from staying out of it. They can upgrade later, make better deals, and keep more prospects. That’s how you beat a team like the Yankees who have top level impact players, depth, and payroll clout.
Second—This year the Jays have been decimated by injuries acute to the starting rotation. Typically a team has a few injuries spread over the entirety of a team through the course of the season. The fact that it’s almost wholly concentrated on rotation puts the Jays in a tough spot, and that they haven’t absolutely imploded since three of their innings eaters went down is commendable. The truth is, no team keeps a spare 5 man big league rotation in their minor leagues. If the Jays had all their pitchers healthy and were in striking distance of the Yankees, by all means, go out and make a deal. But, such is not the situation. If the Jays go shopping now, they’re going shopping for expensive bandaids, not price effective building blocks. It is possible that a good pitcher could be acquired and built upon, sure, but the expense right now is too high with so many suitors. AA’s modus has always been finding the best talent for the best price. Right now there is a bubble market for quality starters. Wait for that to pop, for someone else to take their shot and miss, then by on a discount when the season is over.
Third—Opting out is a move. No action IS action. The fans want something that says the Jays are serious. Well, they’re getting it. AA knows what he has, and it’s pretty good. If here was cost effective pitching choice that didn’t jeopardize the healthy, stacked organization he’s got, he’d be on it. Sometimes discretion is a great choice. To bad it’s not one fans love.