After that most miserable series where the Blue Jays got swept by the Red Sox recently, some individuals were calling on Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins to blow this team up, and to almost start from scratch. So put off by the performance of the Blue Jays, that some were even calling for the team to trade away such key young stars as Marcus Stroman and Roberto Osuna. To trade a pending free agent such as Marco Estrada or Francisco Liriano is one thing…but to trade young players like Osuna and Stroman who are under team control for many years to come would be ludicrous.
During an interview on the Jeff Blair Show last week, Shapiro made it perfectly clear they have no plans to blow this team up to the extent it would mean losing many of their top players. Shapiro wanted fans to know that this organization doesn’t tank in an effort to gain an upper hand at the MLB draft. And he’s so right, Toronto’s never tanked, and they aren’t going to start now just because the team is under performing.
This front office doesn’t need to tank in order to make the most of the draft anyway. Take for example what happened just last year when the Blue Jays selected arguably the best hitting player in the entire draft, Bo Bichette, with the 66th overall pick. Toronto didn’t have to be the worst team in baseball in order to have the 1st overall pick to land Bichette. They simply did their homework and did what a good front office is supposed to do, and they still managed to get such a special player in the 2nd round.
The Houston Astros are a great team, as many of us witnessed this past weekend. But between 2011-2013, they had a 56, 55, and 51 win season! On account of those god-awful years, the Astros were able to get three consecutive 1st overall picks. Including the number one pick in 2012 when they chose Carlos Correa. This is not an approach the Blue Jays need to take. Nor is it an approach that’s fair to a fan base to endure so much horrendous baseball over an extended period without any guarantee of even producing a winner when it’s all said and done.
In the coming years, the Blue Jays may not be nearly as competitive as they’ve been the past few seasons, but they’ll still have some great young players to build around. Players like Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, Roberto Osuna, Kevin Pillar, and Devon Travis don’t even become free agents until 2021. The Oakland Athletics made the mistake of trading Josh Donaldson four years prior to him becoming a free agent. And the players the Athletics received in return for Donaldson were probably not a whole lot different than what they could have received had they decided to trade him say one year away from entering free agency instead of four.
After seeing first hand how the Blue Jays were able to benefit from getting a player like Donaldson, why on earth would Toronto even consider trading away any of their best players while they’re still so many years away from being free agents. With the group of young players already with the Blue Jays, combined with the prospects in the organization and the skill of the front office to acquire solid players via the draft and trades, their is little need for this ball club to ever even consider tanking.