The Toronto Blue Jays are going to win the World Series.
Repeat after me: The Toronto Blue Jays are going to win the World Series. Bold words for a team that has made the playoffs exactly three times in the last 28 years? Definitely. Have I gone mad? You betcha. Nonetheless, the Toronto Blue Jays are going to win the World Series.
The signing of George Springer to a six-year, $150 million contract – beating out the New York Mets – indicates that the bluebirds are done playing. They are no longer messing around. They are here, and they are here to win.
I should clarify: I don’t mean the 2021 World Series – although that is a definite possibility – but by the time that George Springer’s contract expires, Blue Jays fans will have celebrated at least one World Series title.
I’ve definitely lost it.
How they stack up right now:
Forgive my use of fancies here, but they paint a clear picture of why the Jays are in such a good position (plus, baseball analytics are actually useful for predicting future success, unlike *cough* hockey *cough* some sports).
According to Fangraphs’ 2021 Projections, the Blue Jays have the fourth best team in all of baseball. Not bad for a 32-28 team last year. In the American League, they are second to only the New York Yankees. They have the fourth-best lineup in the majors, and the seventh-best pitching staff. As they stand right now, the Blue Jays seem like a lock for at least a wild card spot (according to the numbers).
The big advantage the Blue Jays have is the fact that their young core has yet to play a full season together. They’re still getting acclimated to life in the Big Leagues. In six years, we will be talking about how Toronto has the best infield in baseball, and maybe the best outfield as well. In 2020, the oldest starting position player not named Travis Shaw was Randal Grichuk at 28. 28! Age is simply not going to be a factor for a while in Toronto.
The biggest obstacle for young players playing in big games is a lack of experience. In 2020, the Blue Jays got a gift from the baseball gods in the form of an expanded postseason. Yes, their playoff run lasted less than 48 hours, but the experience of playing meaningful baseball in September is priceless for this young team. They earned their spot in the Wild Card series. They had to beat the Yankees and scratch out a win against Tampa Bay. When they are in the middle of a pennant race this fall, it won’t be new to them. That disadvantage is gone.
Last offseason, the Blue Jays spent $109 million on Free Agents – the 10th highest total in the Majors. So far this year, that number is at $166 million – more than any other club this year, and more than all but three teams spent last year.
Think about that: The Blue Jays have outspent the Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox and Mets.
Gone are the days of not even offering David Price a contract. Gone are the days of losing Encarnacion, Donaldson and Bautista. The Blue Jays ownership have shown that they are willing to take advantage of the current financial climate and invest now. And if you think the Jays are done spending this year, you clearly have not been paying attention.
We thought the Jays locked up Michael Brantley, but now that he is staying in Houston, Toronto is going to use that money to upgrade another position. It might be another outfielder, but I believe it will either be a Number Two starter (maybe Trevor Bauer, but I think Canadian James Paxton is a perfect choice) or a utility infielder that can play second and third base (I’m big on Tommy La Stella).
Here are just some of the top-tier Free Agents the Blue Jays have been linked to recently:
- James Paxton (Jon Heyman)
- Brad Hand (Robert Murray)
- Andrelton Simmons (Jon Heyman)
- Trevor Bauer (Ken Rosenthal)
- Jake Odorizzi (JP Morosi)
Oh, and multiple writers have reported that the Jays are working on a Kris Bryant deal with the Cubs.
I think it’s safe to say that the Blue Jays have entered their championship window, and it’s going to be open for a long time.