The Toronto Blue Jays should sell everything they can, as quickly as they can. Period.
While talking to Jays fans, there are a couple arguments that they seem to make for why they must either be buyers or stand pat this trade deadline. They’ll tell you that they don’t want to suffer through millennia of tragedy like either Astros or Cubs fans have, partially because it’s not fun and partially because of a general sense of fear that the fans won’t return. Or they’ll tell you that the Jays are really REALLY close and all we need is a better LOOGY and are a defensive replacement away from winning the second Wild Card slot, technically counting as a playoff team.
The Astros and Cubs were that bad for that long because they didn’t sell when the writing was on the wall. If you take this team – a talented, but aging one – and you add an extra year and a couple of middle relievers, next year you can’t sell and you finish last in the division. However, if you trade these players, you could be stocked with prospects from Buffalo to Dunedin. Houston and Chicago didn’t have the benefit of hitting the reset in a smart, efficient manner.
Look at what the Yankees did last year. Look at what Chicago did in the off-season. They had players, even though they weren’t winning, and they turned those players into practically a quarter of the top hundred prospects in baseball. That is the sentiment that has yet to be considered by the fans arguing for some version of holding and going for it. If we sell, which we should, it will not be a tank. It will be part of a plan that sparks a shorter turnaround; hopefully one where we acquire some young 0-3 players that we can fall in love with in the long run instead of a bunch of grizzled, graying mercenaries that spend more time tying down their disconnected limbs than playing baseball.
Furthermore, if you are trying to sell a rebuild to this city from a marketing perspective, look at what just happened to the Leafs. Here in Toronto, we pretend that the city as a whole cares about the Jays, Raptors, and that weird sport with eleven guys who can’t pick up the ball. And some of us do. But after seasons like 2016-2017, and in a world where Auston Matthews exists, it become increasingly clear that the city is centrally focused on the Maple Leafs. In a press conference announcing the trades, talk about how the Leafs have Marner, and Nylander if you have to. The fans will understand and back it.
As for the next argument. I get that this team has flirted with .500 and had stretches where they look like they’re competitive. I get that it is mostly the same bones that made it to the playoffs in back to back seasons. I get that this team really is talented enough to be an 85 game winner over the course of any given season, but it’s not talented enough to beat the Red Sox, Yankees, Indians, Astros or Dodgers in a playoff series. And that isn’t even counting the fact that most of those guys will be buyers at the deadline. The Blue Jays would have to buy just to keep pace; if they hold they’ll get wrecked and be committed to paying millions of extra dollars, while also failing to benefit from the minor league face-lift a sell would provide.
There are only two realistic options, buy or sell, and they’re not good enough to spend the prospects they have on the sort of players needed to carry the team to the ALCS, let alone the World Series.
To anyone that can hear me, I think that it’s time for our version of a letter writing campaign. Tweet the team that you’re fine with a rebuild, #wellbeback. We’ll be back with shiny new prospects and enough free payroll to scare some other teams to death in the 2019 free agency. Let’s find Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. some teammates and have the Jays come back either next year or the one after as the sort of team that really strikes fear into the hearts of opposing pitchers. They can be the sort of team that makes batters walk up to the plate defeated, and the sort of team that has, I don’t know, maybe one of the top 70 fastest players in the league, and maybe fewer than three of the ten slowest?
If you want to know what the Jays might be able to yield in a such sell-off, here’s a piece that I wrote about just that.
Comment, tweet, and embrace the pain. It’s gonna be worth it in a couple of years.
Lead Photo: Butch Dill USA TODAY Sports