Although the Blue Jays are in full rebuild mode, they were smart enough to hold onto a few key veterans heading into the 2019 season.
Toronto understood that even with such young talent as Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and Danny Jansen (to name but a few), they’d still need the likes of a Justin Smoak and Kendrys Morales to help lead the way.
The Blue Jays front office has made it perfectly clear what kind of player they want. Team oriented types that create little to no drama. Which makes one wonder how long Marcus Stroman and his antics will last with the Blue Jays. Ross Atkins went to great lengths to get rid of any veteran who wanted no part of a rebuild and prove to be a distraction. Hence why Troy Tulowitzki and the remaining $38-million owed him was released.
With so much young talent ready or soon to be ready for the big leagues, the Blue Jays need leaders who are focused on team needs first rather than any self-centered interests. Leaders who will help guide their younger teammates as they adjust to life in the majors. It takes a special veteran to want to help young talent in this day in age. You want someone humble, understanding, and with a willingness to share their knowledge. Of which I can think of no better examples than Smoak, Morales, and John Axford who can hopefully find a place in the Blue Jays bullpen.
A solid leadership group on the Blue Jays isn’t just about helping Toronto’s young stars. It’s about establishing a tradition of team-first mentality that will proliferate throughout the organization. Fans don’t want to cheer for sour, spoiled, temperamental millionaires. What they want are players who work hard, play the game the right way, and represent themselves and the Blue Jays in a way fans can be proud of.