There has been a lot of displeasure recently within the Blue Jays community about speculation articles. Here’s my two cents.
Dear frustrated Blue Jays fans,
It’s that exciting time of the year when free agents are signed and trades are made! Enough of the season that just passed, it’s about the future. Unfortunately, if you’re a Blue Jays fan, you will probably have to wait for the future a little while longer than others – it’s rebuild time.
Moving on to the topic of speculation, or “click bait” articles, I believe that a lot of displeasure stems from the misconception of what a rebuild really is. Many fans think that a rebuild is a phase where teams have to wait 3-4 years for prospects to develop and find success at the Major League level. They’re right, but only to a certain extent.
While the basic premise of a rebuild lies within the theory of developing home grown talent, it’s really just a part of a bigger picture. A rebuild does not mean that a team should avoid trading or signing big name free agents. Rather, it’s better to look at a rebuild as a period of time where you look for controllable assets that fit the team’s needs and timeline while considering the overall balance of the roster.
A lot of the negative reaction I have been seeing from frustrated fans is something along the likes of “why would you trade a young, controllable prospect when the team is rebuilding?” This frustration makes sense when a rebuild is considered to be a time of aqcuiring and developing as many quality prospects as possible.
However, acquiring and developing quality prospects only works to a certain extent. Sometimes, it may be better to trade prospects for other players that are young, controllable, and fit better into the overall structure of the roster.
And that’s exactly the situation the Blue Jays are in right now. They have a surplus in the infield and a desperate need for starting pitching. Hopefully, after refining your definition of a rebuild, it makes more sense to explore a trade.
Obviously, unrealistic trade proposals or free agent signings should be maligned. Yet many are well thought out and make sense if you’re willing to throw away the mindset that “prospect-hoarding” is not what a rebuild really is.
For example, including Cavan Biggio in trade packages makes perfect sense. Seriously, give me a chance to explain. The Blue Jays already have Aledmys Diaz, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Brandon Drury, and even Devon Travis to play the middle infield in the present. Looking a little ahead, and the picture widens to include Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, Kevin Smith, and even Jordan Groshans. Realistically, Cavan Biggio is at best, a consistent 2.0 WAR type of player (50 grade prospect) – valuable, but not a necessity considering the wealth of options that the Blue Jays have. If the Blue Jays could package Biggio for a controllable starter, the benefit of acquiring said starter would very much outweigh the cost of trading Biggio.
This is just one example of a topic that makes sense, but is scorned by fans. I’m not saying all “should” articles are realistic. In fact, a lot of them aren’t. But they’re important because Blue Jays fans should know of the possible options that the team could explore to improve the chances of winning in the future. Looking at an even bigger picture, it’s even crucial that these articles are published because the discussions that stem from them allow the fan base to broaden their knowledge and grow as a collective group.
Thoughtful, realistic content are not just articles on prospects and news hits. If those were the only articles that were allowed to be published, many readers would gradually get disinterested in baseball (and the Blue Jays) because the pieces lack creativity. Journalism should be a way to spark discussion, attract interest, and empower through information. Provided that they are realistic and well thought-out, this is the very reason as to why thought-provoking “should” articles should not only be accepted, but embraced.
P.S. Always feel free to share your thoughts on articles. I, personally, have learned a lot from reading comments and we always appreciate the feedback!
A passionate Blue Jays journalist and fellow fan