It’s understandable that some fans of the Blue Jays will want to hold onto players like Jose Bautista, Marco Estrada, and Josh Donaldson as long as possible. Those players are fan favourites and have done so much to build this organization to what it is today. As important as these players have been for the Blue Jays, this ball club needs to be realistic about how badly Toronto is currently under performing, and take into consideration what’s best for the future of this franchise.
Back in 1995, the Blue Jays were holding onto the hope that they’d be able to regain the glory of 1992 and 1993 when they won back-to-back world series. The problem was, by 1995, the writing was essentially on the wall for the Blue Jays. They weren’t going to repeat what they’d accomplished a few years earlier…and by holding onto that false hope, they refused to part with many pending free agents, including Roberto Alomar, Devon White, and Al Leiter. Each of whom would end up leaving the Blue Jays after the ’95 season, as they realized Toronto was about to enter a rebuilding phase and they for obvious reasons had no interest sticking around for that.
By the 1995 season, Toronto had a new crop of promising young players coming up that included Shawn Green, Carlos Delgado, and Shannon Stewart. Had the Blue Jays parted with Alomar, White, and Leiter prior to losing them via free agency, they could have at least got something in return while they still had the chance. A return which more than likely could have added some much needed young talent on top of already having players like Delgado, Green, and Stewart.
Much like 1995, the Blue Jays today have another group of talented prospects who should be ready to join the big club over the next few years. Players like Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Rowdy Tellez, and Anthony Alford have the talent to be good big league ball players, but they’re going to need as much help as they can get in order to compete against juggernauts like the Red Sox and Yankees who are chock-full of so much young talent of their own.
Had Toronto not been doing so poorly this season, it would have been an easy decision to hold onto pending free agents like Estrada, Liriano, Bautista, and Joe Smith in order to make a run at the post-season much like they did the past two years. The less than ideal first half the Blue Jays are having is by no means an excuse to blow the team up completely. But it does provide a convenient opportunity for Toronto to try and part with several players who likely won’t be back next season, and receive something in return that should hopefully help down this road.