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"A Reckoning Is Nearly At Hand" - Ken Rosenthal Believes The Blue Jays Are Teetering On Disaster, With Franchise Altering Decisions On Deck

The Toronto Blue Jays are about to embark on quite the conundrum regarding their future. Since the 2020 Covid season they've put together a roster loaded with talent and potential, only to experience limited to no positive results behind it: two 90 win seasons, three Wild Card round appearances, zero playoff wins. The beauty of having amazing young talent is that it makes competing and building a roster all the easier. Adding veterans (Gausman, Springer, Turner, Bassitt) to take you to the next level becomes painless because you don't need to worry about paying the stars under team control. We call that a contending window. Eventually though, you need to pay those guys and that time is coming soon for Toronto. 

Right now the Jays are bolstering the highest payroll in their franchise's history at $228M. They are off to a 15-17 start to the year with a -31 run differential. Bo Bichette, Vladdy Jr, and George Springer have all posted an OPS below .700. While Jose Berrios and Yusei Kikuchi have more than held their own on the mound, Kevin Gausman and Chris Bassit have done the opposite. Once again, this team is underachieving. 

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As a man who can't figure out if he despises the Blue Jays fanbase or players more, it pains me to bring up Ken Rosenthal's words in The Athletic from today. 

Firing the manager would be an option, except the Jays already tried that in July 2022, replacing Charlie Montoyo with John Schneider. Selling, meanwhile, would be a concession that team president Mark Shapiro (signed through 2025), and general manager Ross Atkins (through 2026) have essentially failed at their jobs.

The Jays, then, will not give up on the season easily. But they have yet to sign Bo Bichette or Vladimir Guerrero Jr. long-term, and might not even want Guerrero on such a deal at this point. Their free agents after this season include Yusei Kikuchi, Justin Turner, Kevin Kiermaier and Danny Jansen — mostly complementary parts. But their free agents after 2025, hoo boy. Chris Bassitt. Bichette and Guerrero. Jordan Romano and a number of other relievers.

A reckoning is nearly at hand.

The sand in the hour glass is dwindling by the second for this core. If the same "stuck in the mud" results continue to transpire, what do they do? A new manager is probably not going to change much, considering they already tried that move by bringing in Schneider. Their payroll is already sky high and their minor league system isn't much to admire. It's so hard to come to grips with a roster that's good enough to sneak in as a Wild Card team, but not much else after that. Again, they have not won a single postseason game together, which includes getting swept by the Twins last year, a team that had no won a postseason games in two decades prior to that series. 

I'm gonna guess they fire Schneider if the script doesn't flip by mid-June, in what would be a desperate attempt to switch up the vibes. If the front office decides the extensions for both Bichette and Vladdy aren't worth it, I could see one of them being dealt this offseason. You kinda have to decide this offseason what you're doing for the future with them if you're trying to get a decent haul in return. 

Is it crazy to say Vladdy Jr. doesn't have the most value in the world right now, though? Yes he's still young (25), but since his monster 2021 season that saw him be the runner up for the MVP, every season has been worse than the previous. In 32 games so far he's slashing .231/.336/.347 with three homers and 11 RBI. Not great. Possibly great time to buy low on him if you're another team? George Springer has virtually zero trade value at his age with his contract, injury history, and lacking production. Bo Bichette would hold the most trade value from a position player perspective. Yes he has the worst numbers of the bunch right now, but nothing in his career so far has shown he'll fail to end up with an OPS north of 800 and an OPS+ above 120. That'd also be the one dude you wanna lock up for the future. Jose Berrios has looked all the parts of the guy the Jays signed a few years ago and is currently locked up under an extremely team friendly deal through 2029. You'd get a king's ransom for him if you decided to pull the cord. 

The one man it seems no one wants making these big decisions is current GM Ross Atkins. I think you absolutely gotta overhaul the front office and get a new perspective and plan in place. I see a lot of people wishing Alex Anthopoulos was stilling calling the shots. Well, he's been busy over in Atlanta holding their star players at gun point, forcing them to sign deals for pennies on the dollar.  

The Blue Jays are one of the more fascinating operations going on right now and they clearly have big decisions to make in the coming months that'll shape the course of their franchise. Their fanbase was led to believe Shohei Ohtani was coming over this past offseason. The moment they whiffed on him, they kind of froze when it came to improving the roster outside of adding Justin Turner. Now that things aren't turning with what you have, it creates one giant headache. Do you pay everyone? Trade the stars that haven't won you anything? Is a front office overhaul the answer? Or does the script magically flip soon to the joy of my Canadian enemies? I can only hope the worst finds them and their fans.