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The continued decline of Blue Jays minor league signings

We have develop into used to significantly quieter offseasons under Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins — primarily in comparison to very active offseasons that typically occurred in the to start with 50 % of this 10 years. This has been accurate throughout free agent action, trades, waivers, everything. Two a long time ago, I wrote about how it was extending to signing minimal league free agents as well:


(I’ll forgive any individual who missed it the to start with time, given that there was some even larger things going on at the time — it was posted 23 minutes right before the inauguration of a specific somebody).

Even amidst this a lot less active track record, a little something that has really trapped out to me this offseason was the just about entire complete of action in including minimal league free agents. For the longest time, the only new addition to the corporation was infielder Eric Sogard. To some extent, this dearth mirrored the slow broader industry with gamers and teams waiting for issue to shake out, but there was nevertheless a steady stream of gamers signing.

With the Jays revealing last weekend their list of Spring Training invitations, we identified out they had introduced in couple of pitchers as well, righties Willy Ortiz (from Tampa) and Javy Guerra (2018 with Miami). They had re-signed a couple of their 2018 free agents in catcher Pat Cantwell and RHP Josh Almonte, and have another couple in catcher Alberto Mineo and RHP Shawn Morimando who didn’t develop into free agents when they’re further than their 6 renewals so agreed to 2019 contracts.

Most broadly outlined then, that is just 7 free agents (or free agent eligible sorts) for 2019. With nowadays being February 1st, I have up-to-date the above chart to update for the last couple offseasons (some of the former info has been a little bit revised):

MiFA 2019

Not only are a larger amount/share of signings coming afterwards in the offseason, but there’s a very very clear pattern in direction of much less minimal league signings in the Shapiro/Atkins a long time. Some of that is surely unique managerial follow than under Alex Anthopoulos, given that a person can see a very very clear spike in the quantity of signings just after he took above and that was maintained.

But the broader rationalization is almost certainly the maturation of the farm method. When Anthopoulos took above, the farm method was pretty barren and for most of his tenure the AAA group was mostly crammed with “itinerant” gamers — minimal league free agents, waiver promises and the like — as opposed to internally developed gamers pushing upwards. To a lesser extent, that utilized to New Hampshire as well.

That is transformed in the past couple a long time as the remains of the significant 2010-12 higher school draft courses and 2010-11 IFA courses have created their way up the method, along with the extra well balanced courses that adopted. Primarily on the pitching side, there’s even now a want to fill out some roster places yearly, but there’s a much less places with extra crammed internally.

In truth, hunting at the several positional groupings, it is very clear why there’s minimum want for free agents presented the inventory of organizational possibilities. At catcher, the major league side is pretty significantly established, with Reese McGuire and Max Pentecost as upper amount minimal league possibilities. The eight outfielders on the 40-guy fill out the Toronto outfield, but Buffalo’s as well, and even further possibilities these types of as Roemon Fields and Forrest Wall.

Likewise, Buffalo’s infield appears slated to crammed internally, with Rowdy Tellez, Cavan Biggio, Bo Bichette, Richard Urena figuring slot in for most of the starts off as of now. Ordinarily, the rotation has demanding exterior bolstering, but there seem to be at the very least as many candidates as places — Thomas Pannone, Trent Thornton, Julian Merryweather, Sean Reid-Foley, Jacob Waguespack, Sam Gaviglio, David Paulino, the aforementioned Morimando, possibly Jon Harris and T.J. Zeuch. Some of individuals will end up in Toronto, but it is just about inevitably some end up backed up down to the Fisher Cats.

The a person location exactly where the depth is sparser, each at the major league and upper minimal league amount, is in the bullpen. That also takes place to be an location of late offseason free agent deal building, so I’d surely count on some signings right here, as has took place last year with Seung-hwan Oh, Typer Clippard, John Axford, Jake Petricka and Craig Breslow.

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