Offseason Review Chat Transcript: Toronto Blue Jays By Mark Polishuk | April 1, 2023 at 7:27pm CDT In association with MLBTR’s Offseason In Review post about the Blue Jays, we held a Toronto-centric live chat with readers. Click here to read the transcript.
Agree with Mark on the “shaky” pitching being the stumbling block for the Jays. Don’t know about – “but it feels like the Blue Jays will have to augment the rotation, pen, or both by the deadline”.
First off, no one knows how any teams pitching is going to hold by by the trading deadline…or after. Just about every MLB team is going to have at least 2 starters and 2 relievers either suffer an injury that at least hurts the pitchers effectiveness, or simply have a bad season for any number of unforeseen reasons.
Bullpenners are usually the most traded players doing into the deadline as they’re so volatile from year-to-year. A reliever having an unexpected good season for a team out of the race will often cash him in for a prospect or two. But the fact is this – Teams have to develop their own pitchers….starters and relievers. Not just in the minors, but during the season as well. If a team can’t work with their own, they aren’t going to do well taking on a pitcher that’s having an unexpected good year – unless that pitcher is self-sufficient and will recalibrate himself when he hits a skid.
Mark Shapiro never worked with pitchers well. Cleveland established their pitching system after he was moved out of baseball ops, and spent years developing their pitching strategies. Houston develops their own pitchers and bullpen. The Rays. Braves. Dodgers. Now the Angels, Cubs, DBacks. The Phillies last year along with the Orioles. Example….
Cleveland beat Seattle the other day, 10-4. They started a rookie that was pushed around some, giving up 4 runs in 3.2 innings. But they had one reliever pitch 1.1 shutout inning, and 4 pitch 1 shutout inning each. None of them came to Cleveland as name relievers that other teams had developed.
Nick Sandlin – Drafted by Cleve. Developed as a reliever. Called up in 2021.
Eli Morgan – Drafted by Cleve. A starter turned into a relief pitcher in his 2nd ML season
Enyel De Los Santos – A reliever for the Phils and Pirates. Cleveland got him as a FA in 2022 and reworked him. Had his best season.
Trevor Stephan – Rule 5 draft from Yankees. Worked with him in 2021. He broke out in 2022. May well be one of the best 5 set-up pitchers in MLB today.
Emmanuel Clase – Was a so-so prospect with Texas. Cleve was in a rebuild on the fly. Saw him as a potential future closer along with James Karinchak. Was criticized for taking him as the main return in their trade of Cory Kluber. Worked with him. Has been one of the top 3 closers in MLB the past 2 years (and Karinchak has been a bullpen mainstay).
The Jays try to buy pitchers. Same as Theo Epstein, Mike Rizzo (Nats) and others have. Teams that want to push through in what is now a Playoff League have to be sustainable contenders for a number of years – because who can foresee breakouts from opposition contenders. A team may luck out and break through for one year trading for pitchers at the deadline (but even then it’s other players that kick it in that get the team over the top). Every team has to stay within a payroll limit set by ownership. Teams can’t keep paying retail for pitchers every year sending out prospects and taking on salaries. At some point they have to develop their own that play for reasonable salaries.
I wrote the long response because the questions in this chat were overwhelmingly similar to posts from Jays fans the past 2-3 years here in the comment section…..
Who can we sign as a FA? Who can we trade for?
There was only one question about an in-house player that can get better and play a role:
“Is Barger our starting 3B in 2024?”
One guy wants to replace the SS or move him to 2B (I see him as a future utility player). OK. Did he ask about getting a player up from the farm system? Someone that will do a good job in 2024 for a reasonable salary and can get better at the ML level for years? No.
MBL is not Rotisserie League. Even the friggin’ Yankees and Red Sox have learned the lesson that a team can’t continuously bring in older players with large salaries year after year and expect to do better. Older players get injured more often and take longer to heal when they do. Their salaries are higher. If that have any addition to the ceiling of their game left, it’s minimal…meanwhile, their future productivity has large potential downside.
No team has a great future with rosters full of guys making large salaries that are going to get larger in coming years, while their productivity is going down.
Best Screenname Ever
Yup. I see a 4th place team built on overpaying for what guys did in the past. That’s what their fans scream for every year but the club is supposed to know better than Toronto fans how to build a team. Every other club does.
I agree. At some point, you have to develop your own players, period. The Jays developed Manoah. They got better results from Robbie Ray, Steven Matz, and Ross Stripling than others had. I think Toronto has some ability to “coach up” or “work with” pitchers. But they aren’t confident in their own ability to consistently produce them, or they wouldn’t take the approach they have.
The AL East is an interesting experiment. The Yankees continue to try to buy wins, the Red Sox are trying to thread a tiny needle, the Jays are trying to decide if they are big market spenders, the Orioles are committed to youth, and the Rays remain the same disciplined, value-oriented approach that makes them the smartest run team in MLB.
Toronto has some quality names… Belt, Gausman, Jay Jackson…
First in the division seems plausible. Healthiest team likely wins it.
There are 2 areas the Jays need to upgrade, the 4th OF spot and MiLB starting depth. The 4th OF is a need, starting in the minors would be nice.