By: Brandon Tucker
Well, here we are. The 2018 season is coming to a close and to be honest, it can’t come any faster for the Toronto Blue Jays. Don’t get me wrong, I wish baseball season would never end, but this season? Let’s just say it has been overwhelmingly “bleh”.
Realistically the Blue Jays haven’t been in contention for a playoff spot since Stanton ended up as a Yankee, but let’s at least let them play the season out. That didn’t go as planned. I’m not here to talk about the lack of good pitching performances from our 5.40 ERA starters or our team OBP of .313 or our… you get the point.
Let’s talk about the future! Everyone can be positive about that! Well, we should be atleast. However, let’s not get in to these narratives that I’ve seen over the course of the season:
“Blow the whole thing up!!”
”We need a new stadium”
”Put the entire future on a 19 year old!”
”Have 18 rookies on the 25 man roster next year!!”
These things are just not reasonable. Yes, in my head I love the idea of starting fresh. New GM, new President, new manager, new players, new grass, new concession ideas (salmon on a stick? Nope.) These things aren’t going to happen all at once. Except maybe the last thing, get lost with that.
The most important part of this year was to get some young players for our older expiring players. The JA Happ trade, was fantastic. A player like Billy McKinney is a great addition to the outfield here and for years to come. The returns do not always need to be potential superstars. The Blue Jays are not going to have an average age of 23 next year, it isn’t going to happen.
What fans need to understand is that in order for your younger players to develop properly, you need veterans around them to help them do that. Having guys like Martin and Tulowitzki and Smoak around the clubhouse is imperative for a rebuild and for guys like Vladdy and Bo Bichette and even Teoscar Hernandez. While two of three may not be high caliber ball players anymore, they are high caliber professional people.
Learn from the best, and you may become the best. Would I have loved for Vladdy to learn a thing or two from Josh Donaldson? Yes. But that was never going to happen. Should we have traded JD last offseason? Hindsight is a terrible thing.
The best outcome here is for the Blue Jays to rebuild with a strong foundation of capable young kids and a few great leaders in the clubhouse. Instead of looking at trading away those guys, look at moving some pieces that don’t fit with the future plans. It’s not a secret that our biggest need is pitching. Let that be a focus. We all should be very comfortable with our position players up and coming.
To be fair, our pitching prospects are quite possibly capable major league arms, but let’s not be fooled in to thinking everyone will pan out perfectly. Borucki, Pannone, Reid- Foley, Pearson, Zeuch, are all close to being full time major leaguers, but the Blue Jays need veteran arms to teach the young kids life in the major leagues. Whether that will be Stroman or Sanchez or an outer source remains to be seen, but I think this will be the most important offseason in Blue Jays history. It may not be the biggest, but it is absolutely the most important.
This starts with naming a new manager quickly. Define your leader. It is most likely going to be Eric Wedge, and that’s great, but let’s make sure that we get that out there as soon as possible afternoon the season. The management staff needs to get together and have a concrete plan. Whether it’s a 3 year or 5 year plan and a course of action. It’s no secret that a rebuild is happening. Fans are going to come to the ball park if you be open about it and market the future.
Finally, as a message to fans, let’s be reasonable in our expectations with this team. It’s ok for you to think we will have rookie roster, but don’t expect 75 wins with that team. Don’t hold the team to impossible standards. We need to understand that with the prospects and players that the Blue Jays have and are GOING TO GET, that this team will be a successful baseball club again, and it may not be as far away as you may think.