In episode 1156 of the FanGraphs podcast Effectively Wild, the host, Ben Lindbergh, and two guests, Joe Sheehan and Rany Jazayerli, predicted the outcome of teams over the next five seasons — five teams who they expected to win a World Series, and five teams they expected not to make the playoffs.
When it came to Sheehan, he listed off his five teams that wouldn’t make the playoffs, one of which was the Toronto Blue Jays.
Sheehan said it was 2018 or bust for the Blue Jays, and that it wasn’t so much the lack of talent in Toronto but rather the abundance of talent elsewhere in the division that was to blame — namely, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.
I disagree with a few things.
I don’t think the Blue Jays will compete in 2018. Although it remains the front office’s plan, it seems far too unlikely to occur. With the inevitable dominance of the Yankees and perhaps the Red Sox (even though a managerial change leaves me wary on their 2018 potential), I don’t see a path by which the Blue Jays can reach the postseason this year. (Oh, yeah — Happy New Year!)
Past that, however, the future looks bright.
Toronto’s farm system, although largely mediocre after Alex Anthopoulos’s ravaging in 2015, is strong on the account of two players: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette. With the two expected at the major-league level in 2019 or 2020, it’s almost impossible for the Blue Jays not to improve.
The future looks equally dim for the Red Sox after Dave Dombrowski sold most prospects for big names prior to last season.
Let’s hope that doesn’t happen to the Blue Jays.
Some other stuff:
- Devon White will remain with the Buffalo Bisons in 2018, but he won’t be the hitting coach. Bob Elliot reports that White is moving to the role of outfield and base-running coach.
- 26-year-old free agent first baseman Ji-Man Choi has received an offer from the Blue Jays, per his agent. Choi has also received offers from the Yankees, Los Angeles Angels, Tampa Bay Rays, Oakland Athletics, Milwaukee Brewers, Miami Marlins, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Baltimore Orioles, Minnesota Twins, Atlanta Braves and Chicago White Sox. In Choi’s Yankees debut on July 5th, 2017, he homered against the Blue Jays.
- In response to a tweet about his ability to mess with hitters’ timing, Marcus Stroman tweeted yesterday, “Wait until you see the new variations and arm slots this year.”
- Ian Hunter of Blue Jay Hunter spotted Troy Tulowitzki at a Toronto Maple Leafs - Las Vegas Golden Knights game... wearing a Golden Knights jersey.
Follow Mark Colley on Twitter @MarkColley. Mark can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.