The addition of Chase Anderson seemed like a smart, if not uninspired start to the Blue Jays offseason. Now, with Atkins revealing he’s willing to sell Lourdes Gurriel Jr. for pitching, the bullshit train is back in Toronto. Toot, toot, all aboard!
Here’s an interesting one: Heard from multiple people lately #BlueJays could be open to moving Lourdes Gurriel Jr. this winter, especially if it brings the right rotation arm back.
Signed through 2023 and heading into his age-26 season, the contract is nice and so is the bat.
— Scott Mitchell (@ScottyMitchTSN) November 11, 2019
On this week’s episode of “How will Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro alienate the fanbase further” the GM (Atkins), likely under direction from or approved by President (Shapiro), has let it leak that they are willing to shop Lourdes Gurriel Jr. for starting pitching. Before anyone gets their back up about this let’s get things straight.
Yes, I understand that with Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio, and Rowdy Tellez the starting infield is set and Gurriel, if cast as an INF would be a depth guy. And, yes I understand that if you want something good you have to give something good. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s continue shitting on the front office for this piece of news.
Reclamation Project Turned Gold
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is the Blue Jay’s best outfielder. The Cuban former infielder was demoted to AAA Buffalo last season when a case of the yips had him unable to throw across the diamond, costing the Jays more than a few outs. After some reclamation time, Gurriel returned to the big league team… a solid outfielder.
His transition to left-fielder was a tactic to simplify the game for him; track pop-flys, chase down more athletic plays and throw harder from a longer distance. Instead of transitioning this back to the infield the Bisons’ coaching staff let him marinate in the outfield and in a true form of alchemy turned a good offensive/iffy defensive infielder into a high upside/ strong defensive outfielder – exactly what the Jays lack.
Why the hell would you trade one problem area to fix anther problem area?! As it stands, the Blue Jays outfield should stack up as follows LF: Gurriel Jr., CF: Grichuk, RF: McKinney/Fisher. That is far from elite, but Atkins and Shapiro acquired both right-field options and they do have a good eye for young talent (both brought in from the Astros, too).
This team needs a Lorenzo Cain or Dexter Fowler to legitimize the group and shore it up defensively with a captain-esque player. The front office can address this by dipping into the free-agent market. Forget Yasiel Puig for his hot-headedness, or Nick Castellanos for his high price tag; the Jays should add in Avisail Garcia (29), Cole Kalhoun (32), or Corey Dickerson (31), veteran players who can still contribute at an elite level while also being a part of the leadership group for this young core.
Control, Control, Control
We as Blue Jays fans fully understand how much Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro loooooooooove to pinch a penny. Cut ties with big-name players still able to help a team and meltdown the team and bring in fringe players to fill out the roster all to save some money. This has been the strategy for the Jays and it’s been hard to stomach for the most part.
On the other hand, these frugal guys should be all over keeping Gurriel Jr. due to his unreal contract and control. In 2017 he signed a seven-year deal that takes him to 2023 with value increasing from $2.93 million next season to $5.83 million in his final year of the deal.
If not for his refound form, the Jays need to keep a hold of Gurriel Jr. for his control and value deal. The hallmark of the Blue Jays team is similar to that of the Cubs a few seasons ago. They are young, extremely talented, have grown up together, and are primed to make an impact together on a major league roster. Don’t fuck this up, Shapiro and Atkins, just open your wallets for pitching instead of hemorrhaging the already thin outfield.