There’s one AL East team with a young core that’s been secretly in on several marquee free agents this offseason — and, despite the narrative that many insiders are pushing, it’s not the New York Yankees.
Sure, there’s still time. Things have fallen plainly into the Yankees’ lap on Matt Olson, Carlos Correa, Trevor Story, and even Freddie Freeman. The pre-lockout signing of exactly one (1) free agent (Joely Rodriguez) didn’t breed enthusiasm for the post-lockout period being flush with cash, especially since the Red Sox and Dodgers will also be prime spenders.
You know what else didn’t exactly breed enthusiasm? The fact that not only did the Yankees not close the deal with anyone who was available prior to the lockout … but they never even seemed to show up listed among the finalists.
Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Starling Marte, Robbie Ray, Kevin Gausman, Max Scherzer … why, not since the days of Justin Verlander back in mid-November, have the Yankees even seemed to give it the old college try?
You know who’s been there every step of the way, though? The “Mystery Team” Toronto Blue Jays.
They got Gausman. They passed on Ray. And, apparently, they tried for Seager harder than the Yankees ever did, despite employing both Cavan Biggio and Bo Bichette. Huh! Interesting! Good teams can try to get better!
MLB Rumors: The Blue Jays got closer to Corey Seager than the Yankees did.
How tightly did they pursue Seager before his astronomical contract in Texas? Jeff Passan calls Toronto “very much in”; he also implies that they may have finished ahead of the Dodgers in the running.
The Dodgers. And we never even heard about it!
We’re not sure why, if Toronto chose to be in Seager’s market, that they didn’t simply pursue a return engagement with Semien at a slightly lower salary level instead of letting both apparent targets walk to the desert.
Instead, we’re living in a fantasy world where the Blue Jays are the AL East power that blends limitless pockets with a superstar young core, and the Rangers are building some sort of megalith in Dallas that may or may not include Clayton Kershaw, too.
Back in 2017, when the Yankees seemed to have the baseball landscape at their fingertips and an unblemished payroll, would you have ever believed that, just four years later, Toronto would have the beastlier lineup and the youth factor and the heftier wallet?
Of course you would. Because things somehow always go wrong for the Bombers, and it’s usually of their own doing.