Some fans are hesitant to use the word ‘rebuild’, as if it’s some sort of terrible thing to say. John Gibbons was quoted the other day on MLB Network Radio as saying I’m not sure I want to go through one of those things, a total rebuild.
The focus of this article isn’t Gibbons hinting that he wants out, but more to do with the fact that Toronto has already been quietly going about their rebuild for several years now. One would understand why Gibbons would want to move on after six long years at the helm in this his second stint as manager of the Blue Jays. Gibbons is mistaken about one thing though, and that is the state of the Blue Jays rebuild is far ahead than what many people think it is.
Ever since the Blue Jays traded Drew Hutchison for Francisco Liriano, Reese McGuire, and Harold Ramirez, Toronto’s been making a concerted effort to acquire young talent. That trade with the Pirates happened two years ago (August 1, 2016), and since then Toronto has added 18 players who now find themselves on the Blue Jays list of Top 30 prospects. Not to mention a whole slew of talented players acquired via trades, the MLB draft, and international signings that aren’t on the list.
Who would have thought Vladimir Guerrero Jr. would progress so quickly through the minor leagues? At just 19, he’s ready to play for the Blue Jays now. Correction, he’s ready to star for the Blue Jays now. And as soon as he dons that Blue Jays uniform, is when Toronto can honestly say they’ve gone through the toughest years of what’s been a relatively quiet rebuild. Gibbons says he doesn’t want to be part of a rebuild, but next season, with all their young talent, the Blue Jays should be far better than they were in 2017 and 2018. At the very least, they’ll be far more exciting.
For two years now Toronto has claimed they’ll be a competitive team, but in reality that was just a cover to build for the future. All this time they’ve been stockpiling prospects and vastly improving the overall state of their farm system. We can complain about the idea of a Blue Jays rebuild until we’re blue in the face, but truth be told, it’s something that’s been ongoing for quite a while now, and shouldn’t be nearly as painful as what many people figured it would be.