The Nationals Game 7 victory over the Astros a few weeks ago marked the end of another season of Major League Baseball and the beginning of the off-season. While the Toronto Blue Jays’ performance this season left much to be desired, Jays fans can enter this break feeling exceedingly confident in what the future holds for this team.
Young stars such as Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette captured the hearts of fans with their inspiring energy and all-star level talent. What is most important however, is that while Vladdy and Bo had what most would call successful debut seasons, there is still plenty of room for them to grow and improve.
Many fans want the Blue Jays to go all in on this season—signing multiple free agents to hefty contracts, which would, in theory, allow the Blue Jays to contend for a pennant this upcoming season. While this may sound like a reasonable wish, the Blue Jays’ bats are still a season or two away from producing championship-level offence for the club. While it’s entirely possible that Guerrero Jr. and Bichette will take the next step this season and play like all-stars offensively, much of the Jays’ supporting cast could still use a season or two’s worth of at-bats to improve.
“Acquiring an ace in preparation for a postseason run has been the go-to strategy for many teams with championship aspirations”
This applies to players such as Danny Jansen, Cavan Biggio and Lourdes Gurriel Jr., who will undoubtedly be crucial in a playoff run when the time comes. Playoff runs require deep lineups and complementary offensive weapons capable of putting the ball in play on a consistent basis—think Troy Tulowitzki and Russell Martin in 2015. I am confident in the fact that the Jays lineup will soon resemble one of this calibre, but learning how to consistently beat Major League pitching does take time. On the flip side, the Blue Jays have some young pitchers themselves who will certainly benefit from an additional year to work on their throwing mechanics.
“Whether it be through free agency or through a trade, when the time comes, the Jays will invest heavily in pitching to complement their soon-to-be dominant group of hitters”
When Toronto’s offence is ready to compete, they will likely look to acquire a top notch pitcher to help solidify the team’s defense. Acquiring an ace in preparation for a postseason run has been the go-to strategy for many teams with championship aspirations. However strong their bullpen is, or however deep their rotation, every manager wants the ability to send out one of the game’s best with a series on the line. We can expect the Blue Jays to once again follow this mold, just as they did in 2015 with their acquisition of David Price at the trade deadline. Whether it be through free agency or through a trade, when the time comes, the Jays will invest heavily in pitching to complement their soon-to-be dominant group of hitters.
Although Jays fans will likely have to wait on the big name pitching acquisition, this upcoming season promises to be thoroughly entertaining as we continue to watch the team’s young core blossom into playoff-ready players. Tracking the progress of Vlad, Bo, and the rest of the squad will hopefully give us a glimpse into what the future holds for this club. With a bit of luck this coming season, they may even reach a playoff berth earlier than anticipated!