The Toronto Blue Jays have been trying to get back to the World Series since 1993, and it looks like the future is finally here.
Valdimir Guerrero Sr, Dante Bichette Sr, and Craig Biggio, have a combined 6,701 games played, 28,419 plate appearances, and 20 All Star Games between the three of them. That’s a lot more than their son’s Vlad Jr, Bo, and Cavan who all made their major league debuts last season.
Three sons of three accomplished ball players have given the Toronto Blue Jays fan base a lot of hope heading into the 2020 season and beyond.
Living in the city of Toronto, even the most casual baseball fans started hearing the rumblings of the three studs plowing through the Toronto Blue Jays minor league system going back to 2018. Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro had decided to take a very different approach than former Blue Jays president Paul Beeston and general manager Alex Anthopoulos. Beeston and Double A hemerged the future for the now.
Blue Jay fans watched young talents like Bret Lawrie and Noah Syndergaard get traded away for veterans like R.A. Dickey and Josh Donaldson. It wasn’t bad - Toronto had back to back ALCS appearances. Jose Bautista had the bat flip heard around the world, and Donaldson won the MVP as a member of the Blue Jays. The Jays had a core of Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson, and Edwin Encarnacion. They were a great trio, but they were an old trio.
The Blue Jays needed to get younger if they wanted any long term success. The old 2015 and 2016 Blue Jays gave Toronto instant success. The young 2020 Blue Jays are set up to give Toronto sustainability, and managed properly, the Blue Jays should be contenders in the AL East for a lot of years to come.
Guerrero, Bichette, and Biggio have been developing together through the minor league system, and there seems to be a common vision between the three men, even though they haven’t really discussed it
"I don't think we ever really talked about it directly, but we were obviously trying to get better as individual players and work our way up to the big leagues," said Biggio according to Joon Lee of ESPN. "I think we all saw a vision of that when we started playing every level together, and then slowly moving on up. You see the writing on the wall. There was a level of excitement in our work and wanting to get better, and just trying to win baseball games. It wasn't any direct conversations, but there's definitely some excitement."
Excitement there is indeed. This is not a squad of veterans trying for a last push as they approach the end of their careers, these are three young kids with controllable contracts that can be good for a very long time.
Guerrero has already had a special moment when he battled it out during the Home Run Derby last year and made everybody sitting at home in Toronto smile. After putting in an offseason of getting more fit, and working towards being an everyday third basemen, it will be interesting to see if he brings the same power back in 2020. But, Blue Jay fans have a lot to be excited about with Guerrero. He wasn’t just a big story in Canada, his debut was being anticipated all over baseball.
“The sense of optimism at Blue Jays spring training this year is palpable, even if the pundits don't expect the team to compete for as much as a wild-card spot. At this point in 2019, the majority of preseason buzz around the Blue Jays centered around the incoming debut of Guerrero, one of the most-hyped prospects in baseball history, creating a circus only recently matched by Bryce Harper.” - Joon Lee, ESPN
The Blue Jays more than likely won’t be competing for a World Series title this season, and at the very best they are probably a Wildcard team, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to be excited about in Toronto. Vlad, Bo, and Cavan are more than just the present, they are the future. Prior to 1994 the Blue Jays had a long history of being competitive. It started in the mid 1980’s and ran through until Toronto won back to back championships in 1992 and 1993 on the backs of Joe Carter and Roberto Alomar.
The Blue Jays are on the cusp of having that same long term success again. Toronto missed their opportunity in the mid 2000’s when they had Vernon Wells, Alex Rios, and Roy Halladay. But, the buzz around Bichette, Guerrero, and Biggio eclipses that era of Blue Jays baseball.
The future is here, and the Toronto Blue Jays lead by Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Bo Bichette, and Cavan Biggio have the opportunity to put Canada back on the map in the baseball world.