Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Atkins Opens Up About The PTBNL And The Future

So Ross Atkins opened up a bit to Arash Madani on Saturday and he said some interesting things about the PTBNL that the Jays will be getting back in this Donaldson trade. He also discussed when he thinks that this future team will actually compete. He was pretty clear and revealed to the fans what to expect moving forward. 2019 might have some growing pains, which…of course. But, moving forward is going to be fun. And leaving 2015 and ’16 in yesterday is the only way to do that. Here’s some stuff Atkins said…

About the player to be for JD…

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This player, ya know, unfortunately because of the process we can’t name today. I think fans are going to realize who it is pretty soon. He’s an exciting upper level talent that will line up and impact our Major League team in the near future with guys like Vladdy and Bo and Biggio and TJ Zeuch and the guys that are here. So, we’re excited about where he is on his timeline and felt like that was much more valuable than the potential of something that we might just be considering.

So, it’s all said and done and it sure wasn’t exciting-upper-level-talent pretty. And it sure didn’t end well for Donaldson. But, I don’t need to get into that narrative right now, or use any purple prose to pay homage to one of the most talented players to ever don a Jays cap just yet.

I hope to hell that if he plays in the Cleveland series at the Rogers Centre next weekend that Jays fans give the man the proper sendoff that he deserves – I’m sure they will.

The whole thing smells like an alleyway in Toronto on a hot AF summer afternoon. And I’m sure Donaldson will be opening up about everything sooner than later. But, life goes on and Atkins says this ‘impact’ PTBNL prospect that the Jays are getting in return seems to fit the Jays’ timeline – so there’s that.

I’ve noticed some Cleveland writers saying that it’s hard to imagine it being a big time prospect because, ya know, the fact that he is a free agent after this season and has had a serious calf injury. But, man what a great 1-million-dollar-contract-pick-up-plus-a-PTBNL gamble by Chris Antonetti.

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I also read in the Cleveland Plain Dealer that the player the Jays are getting in return is 6-4, 200 pound flamethrowing righty hurler Julian Merryweather, who, unfortunately fell victim to the villainous Tommy John this year, as he underwent surgery during Spring Training.

In 2016, he had a breakout season with the Lynchburg Hillcats in the Carolina League where he went 8 – 2, had a 1.03 ERA, and 58Ks while walking only 15. Baseball America said that he has one of the best fastballs in Cleveland’s system and can touch 97 with ease. But, at the end of the damn day, who knows if this is the player or not, right?

Whoever this PTBNL is, Atkins and company like this prospect more than the idea of QO-ing JD and more than the potential draft pick they could’ve received if JD rejected the QO, walked, and signed somewhere else.

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About when the team will be competitive…

We feel as though we’ve weathered a great deal of the storm with our farm system that we’ve talked about at great lengths. We’ve made really big strides and have near term talent that will impact the Major Leagues, and there’s a lot of evidence in and around that. When you have one of the better farm systems in the game, it usually turns into near term success at the Major League level.

The 2015 storm and all the migraines Anthopoulos’ moves created for them? I mean, I wouldn’t trade 2015 and the bat-flip for a thing. But, I get where Atkins is coming from here. And I am very happy with how the regime has rebuilt the farm system.

And here’s the future 2021 money quote…

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So, ya know, I think it would be overly optimistic to say that those guys transition smoothly, and we’re beating up on the Red Sox and Yankees next year, but I think a year after that the expectations will be higher. And, I think, the third year removed from that, we absolutely believe that we should be in that mix.

So it’s 2021, but we already knew that.

And it seems that this is when Atkins believes that they can get in it and win it, too. It will be interesting to see what happens to Sanchez and Stroman, as well. A lot of fans already think that the organization will move on from Stroman and trade him when the time is right. I think so, too. Now, what they do with Sanchez is a whole other thing. I think a lot is going to ride on both of their 2019 performances – that’s for sure.

Now, this 2021 future Vladdy team that will compete in the AL Beast is most definitely a coffee table puzzle right now and who knows who will be on that 25-man roster. When 2021 rolls around, the front office will have some serious cash-rules-everything-around-me CREAM to spend on free agents and add to the young promising core that is about to begin its future Jays journey.

The organization is going to have enough pieces in the system to trade prospects, and they will have enough cash to spend in free agency. Watching what this front office does moving forward and what free-agents-to-be they will trade is going to be interesting. I’m sure there are more howls to come with every future move this front office is going to make.

  • Oz Rob

    Atkins needs to learn how to speak in a way that is at least partially relatable to fans. He seems incapapable if speaking in non-corporate cliched hyperbole. Anyone see the interviews with JD today? He was legitimately upset, almost close to tears I thought.

    • Nice Guy Eddie

      I’m sure JD is very upset. He was offered an extension in February and turned it down’ because it didn’t. pay him to age 40. He complained about analytics finding that performance declined during a player’s 30’s. He said he had a nothing soft tissue issue (calf) that caused him to miss 50 games. And after turning down about 80M I suspect, he then spent the season on the DL. He’s spent 140+ games on the DL last year and this. He’s never going to make the money he turned down. But it’s our FO’s fault. Right.

  • Hentgen

    Can always count on a favourable take on the FO from you, Ryan.

    For all the good they did rebuilding the minors, imagine what they could have accomplished if they picked a lane. They were indecisive and it backfired horribly.

    And you forgot to mention that Merryweather posted an ERA over 5 in AAA last year.

    But — hey — gotta put lipstick on this pig, huh?

    • Ryan Di Francesco

      So do you think they should’ve blown it up after getting to the ALCS in ‘16? That’s a tough sell to the fans…Why wouldn’t they kick the can in ‘17? As for this season, more shit has happened than anyone could’ve predicted. And I think this Donaldson thing is the worst possible scenario that could’ve transpired for both sides. And trading him for a PTBNL – if Merryweather – makes no sense to me because what’s one-year 18 million. As for this possible prospect, I mean, yeah you could look at his shitty ‘17 stats, but Tommy John can do that. There’s no denying that this JD thing is shit and that it has been mishandled though.

      • AD

        If you dont want to blame the FO for 2017, fine. But after 2017 you could clearly see this team was far from competing unless significant upgrades were made( and they werent) JD and the other vets should have been traded last winter instead of selling false hope to the fanbase( fuck you rogers) now it will take longer till this team is competitive again. Atkins even said 3 yrs and this was suppsed to be a quick retool/rebuild but handled VERY poorly.

        • Paul Beestons Grass Surface

          Well, you would be the only one who could “Clearely see this team was far from Competing”. I think a lot of us were happy with the upgrades. No one knew Donaldson would have an absolute shit season to date. Tulo, sure, you could have predicted an injury and you’d have been believed. But other than that, this team generated some excitement with incoming players, and expected health JD and was expected to compete. Fangraphs had them as one of the teams in the mix, for the 2nd WC spot. So your observations (In hindsight as usual) put you ahead of just about anyone and everyone in Baseball, in that you alone saw the flaws. The experts, and the rest of us, we had our blinders on right? Seriously, how can you claim the Jays were selling false hope. So, how about letting us know what you really think. Give us some tangible evidence to back up your claims and then tell us what you would do to improve the jays, and teach the rest of us, and especially the FO, how things should have been and should be done. Your move buddy!

        • The Humungus

          They had nothing in the farm system and two contracts that took up 1/4 of available payroll handed to them by AA.

          2017 was worth taking a shot with most of the team back from 2015-16.

          2018 was about acquiring more assets. They signed guys who were able to help them acquire assets that, in a perfect world, could have put them into playoff contention. If you think this season was about anything but exactly what it has been, then you were kidding yourself. They stated as much in the offseason. They were going to try to compete, but if it went sideways, they had guys who they hoped could get them some more assets.

          Considering they’ve turned over 30% of their top prospect list during this season without trading anyone and with only Gurriel and Borucki graduating from the pre-season list, I’d say it’s been pretty successful.

          But, I mean, maybe I just work in business and can read between the lines of what they were saying in their corporate speak.

      • Hentgen

        I get why they didn’t blow it up after 2016, but it’s pretty clear that not blowing it up after 2017 was the wrong decision. This one last kick at the can was unwise and it’s the front office’s job to make hard decisions. They were indecisive and it cost them. I’m legit worried that they won’t learn from this mistake. Atkins is not some thirty-something wunderkind and he’s supposedly backed up by a seasoned baseball man in Shapiro — this is who they are, probably.

        • Paul Beestons Grass Surface

          You could also argue, that although Atkins may be in over his head somewhat, that Shapiro is letting him learn and stepping back a bit. I’m sure they have plenty of conversations and direction from Shapiro. But at some point, Atkins has to sink or swim and I think that may be what we are seeing. That being said, I agree that he has made some blunders. But who knows, maybe it was Shapiro having the final say. I can’t say I would have traded everyone away after 2017. They had, on paper some good players and brought in some great depth. I think the idea of trying to transition to youth, while also winning, was a good idea at the time. If it worked, there would be no complaining. Worked for the Yankees, didn’t work for us. So now, we are are starting a rebuild. Plus, let’s not ignore the elephant in the room. The FO maybe have been told to try again by Rogers. Who knows. Either way, so many were crying for a rebuild. Well, it’s here. Nothing we can do about the past. Let’s just hope that the growing pains in the FO subside quickly and this team starts to grow. Next year, we are going to probably see this team struggle a lot. But here’s to patience and the players growing. I doubt many in Houston and Chicago are remembering how bad their teams were. At least we aren’t going into a rebuild like that. Let’s see how the kids play. And hopefully, they learn and grow, and this whole thing turns into that slow burn that the Jays were in the early 80’s as they ramped things up for a long run. There, I’m done. Ok Ad, go ahead and trash this. The rest, love to hear your thoughts, rebuttals, and why Beer always tastes so damn good on a Sunday summer afternoon, when you know you shouldn’t have anymore, but life just rocks at the moment, and Monday morning and work be damned!!!

          • Paul Beestons Grass Surface

            I also wanted to add, I think Atkins is a bright guy. I just don’t know if he had the pedigree and experience to be a GM. I truly don’t know. Anyone know what he did before he snagged the position?

          • Paul Beestons Grass Surface

            P.P.S. And let’s not forget, the starting rotation was supposed to be one of the better ones this year. Imagine if we had the pitching, a healthy JD, and a bit more luck. Where would we be then?

  • HNZ

    I don’t see them trading Stro and Sanchez especially of 2019 is good for them. They aren’t going to go into 2020 of 21 with a young pitching staff without guys like that who had a taste of playoff baseball. If they fall off a cliff then yeah and they will spend on vet talent but ionno I don’t see it happening. These finger issues with these 2 won’t stay forever.

    • Jroc

      Selling now for near ready talent would make sense, to a team like the twins or reds who might think they are a mid rotation starter away from being competitive, or the teams in the NL who miss out in a tight race.

    • Paul Beestons Grass Surface

      I think Stroman will get traded. He is starting to wear out his welcome I think. Sanchez, I think next season is going to determine whether he stays as a starter or closer with the Jays. He needs to show he can stay healthy and be an effective starter. Otherwise, they should talk to him about closing. If he doesn’t want to, well, perhaps you shop him. But if it’s gotten to that point we may be selling a bit low. Time will tell.

      • AD

        Stroman is a cocky idiot who thins he is better than he is but he is a pretty damn good 2 or 3 starter. If you are trading him, better get a damn good return back( not like JD or Osuna).

        • Jroc

          I think an osuna package would be his ceiling. Either you are trading him this year after this dumpster fire or you are trading next year after a bounce back but with only 1 year of control left. Top 10ish prospect, lotto ticket and serviceable player with team control sounds right.

        • Paul Beestons Grass Surface

          Cocky Idiot?!!! Really, sounds familiar.
          And it’s a shame that you can’t see the optics of the Osuna trade. Let me spell it out for you. They were trying to get rid of someone who assaulted a women. They were lucky to get anything of value for Osuna.
          As for JD, yeah, he was the man. But he has been seriously hurt for the past 2 years (2nd half not withstanding last year). I don’t know what happened behind the scenes, but it came to the point where the FO was fed up with him. And they got…yeah, a bucket of balls and a PTBNL. But this was done, with what, a 5 hour window to get something done. Was it the right thing to do? Again, we don’t know what happened behind the scenes to lead the FO to just want him gone. We also don’t know if he will ever be the old JD again. Do you want him blocking Vlad next year? Sure, Vlad may end up on first or in the outfield. But with Morales and Smoak, and JD, and…maybe Hernandez, you’ve only got room for 1 dh. I’m curious to see what they do with Hernandez long term. He probably shouldn’t play the field much. We already have that guy in Morales, but hey, he’s having a decent season, maybe he can be traded over the winter…Ok, back from the tangent, still perhaps they felt JD is in decline.
          Would you want to take 18 million from the budget and offer him a QO? There are arguments to be made either way. No doubt. But blindly saying they did not get a good return for Osuna and JD, isn’t correct. We just don’t know at this point.
          What happens if that PTBNL turns out to be something in 2 years. What if JD ruptures his calve again in spring training. What if’s….when it should be, let’s wait and see. You may be right I may be crazy….. Ahh the hell with it, I’m having that beer and putting on the Stones. Ad, I know you are still in Junior High, but they are one of the best all time bands in history. Maybe try googling the Rolling Stones and see what’s what. Maybe you can get into them, and leave us in peace here on the blog 🙂

  • Nice Guy Eddie


    Tulo has lots to say to his L’il Ninjas now that Josh is gone and the Blue Jays have done nothing to extend Tulo. So now it’s time #REUPTULO Ninjas to make sure that we can keep Tulo. Here’s how we can do it!

    First of all, we need a website. Let’s call it GOFUNDTULO.COM were the L’il Ninjas can be like that Great Ninja Alex and get $108 million to Tulo. No more ‘AA Replica Mini-Deals’ we send Tulo 20$ each a year. We can all this the #FULLALEX and get the whole $108 million. Let’s flood Twitter with the #REUP TULO. hashtag! And the #FULLALEX hashtag so that everyone knows we’re serious about spending $108 million on Tulo!

    And let’s start GOFUNDTULO.COM trending in Toronto L’il Ninjas. Time to keep Tulo! Clap-clap clap-clap-clap TULO!!!

  • El Cabeza

    “When 2021 rolls around, the front office will have some serious cash-rules-everything-around-me CREAM to spend on free agents and add to the young promising core that is about to begin its future Jays journey.”

    This is how the fans see it. Rogers board of directors sees it like this: “Great, we can finally win enough games to excite the fanbase without spending big money on all those free agents.”