HomeTrending MLB NewsBlue Jays GM wants club to feel 'massive sense of urgency'

Blue Jays GM wants club to feel ‘massive sense of urgency’

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The Blue Jays have had among the more disappointing early season performances in the league so far this season, as they entered play today with a record of just 19-24 that leaves them at the bottom of the AL East, more than ten games back of the Yankees for the division crown. As noted by Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet, club GM Ross Atkins spoke to reporters on the field prior to Saturday’s game against the Rays about the club’s tough start and the path forward. Atkins acknowledged that the club’s struggles can’t continue if they hope to have a successful season, even as he expressed confidence in the club’s internal options.

“We believe in this talent,” Atkins said. “There is time left, but there is a massive sense of urgency and we need to get it turned around soon.”

It’s easy to see why the club has struggled in the standings when looking at the underlying performance of the talent on both sides of the ball. Toronto’s bats rank bottom three in the AL with a collective wRC+ of just 93, which is a far cry from last year’s 107 figure. Making matters worse is a struggling pitching staff that has posted a 4.45 ERA this season that’s good for fourth-worst among all AL clubs. While the club’s rotation has a decent 4.15 ERA that’s within spitting distance of league average, they’ve been dragged down by brutal performances in the bullpen that have left the club’s relievers with a combined 4.92 ERA that ranks better than just the Angels and Rangers among all MLB clubs.

Given the club’s deep struggles in all aspects of the game, there’s plenty of room for improvement both internally and externally all around the roster. That being said, significant trades this early in the season are somewhat rare. While they’re not completely unheard of, as the recent swap that sent Luis Arraez from the Marlins to the Padres demonstrates, notable deals at this point in the calendar typically require the buy-side team to pay a premium in order to convince the selling club not to wait out the market in hopes of a bidding war closer to the deadline. Atkins acknowledged that reality, but even as he did so he refused to shut the door on making a move should it prove necessary.

“If we were to acquire a player at this point, you obviously are paying a premium. We can do that. We have the players to trade for that level of talent,” Atkins said, as noted by Nicholson-Smith. “We [presently] feel that the best contributions that could create that change in run scoring are going to come from within our clubhouse or triple-A, with the players that are here. But the dialogue is steady on the alternatives that that could happen.”

That the Blue Jays believe they have the pieces necessary to get a jump on the trade market is a notable development and it’s easy to see why an aggressive move early in the calendar could make sense for the club. While the team’s performance on the field this year may not reflect it, Toronto is clearly in a win-now mode with catcher Danny Jansen set to become a free agent after the 2024 campaign and key pieces like Bo Bichette, Jordan Romano and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ticketed for the open market the following offseason. Speculatively speaking, acquiring additional talent ahead of trade season could not only give the club the best chance of winning this year, but even potentially allow them to recoup some of the capital spent to acquire that talent later this summer should the team’s struggles continue and the playoffs appear out of reach by late July.

At least for the time being, however, it seems that Atkins and the Blue Jays appear content to rely on internal improvements. That could come both in the form of stronger production from key pieces like Bichette, Romano, George Springer and Kevin Gausman, all of whom have struggled this year, but Atkins also acknowledged the farm system as a potential source of internal production. Outfielder Nathan Lukes, infielder Orelvis Martinez and first baseman Spencer Horwitz are all already on the 40-man roster and have enjoyed success at Triple-A to this point in the season.

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