We’re getting into the real ugly, dark, depressing days of winter here, scrouging for baseball-related content, so MLB.com went ahead and fired up a crystal ball and predicted the World Series Champions for the 2020s.
First, they have the Yankees, fresh off of signing Gerrit Cole to a record-setting contract, beating Alex Anthopolous’ Atlanta Braves, marking the Evil Empire’s first World Series since 2009. They then have New York beating the San Diego Padres in a 1998 rematch, giving them back-to-back World Series wins since the turn of the century. In 2022, MLB.com is predicting a So Cal World Series, with the Dodgers beating the Angels in a world in which Major League Baseball intervenes and forces Anaheim into the playoffs so Mike Trout can finally experience what that’s like.
Then it gets good! The Blue Jays are apparently going to win the World Series in 2024 by beating the Dodgers…
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will be 25 years old in October 2024, right in his prime, and all his fellow “Juniors” — Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio — will be ready to take over the AL East. (Until the Yankees reload again.) The Dodgers are as likely as any team in the NL, and maybe in baseball, to be competitive every year of this decade. As a frame of reference, by the way: 2024 is the first season the Tigers won’t be paying Miguel Cabrera.
None of this means absolutely anything, of course, because it’s impossible to predict that far into the future. Baseball is random as hell and things can change astronomically over the span of a couple of years. Remember when the Cubs won in 2016 and it was supposed to open the door to a dynasty that would see multiple championships for long-suffering Cubs fans? And then what happened?
Anyways, it’s nice to see the Blue Jays mentioned in a fun filler piece like this simply because it’s a casual reminder that the future is bright.
And speaking of the bright future, Travis Shaw officially signed his contract with the Blue Jays a few days ago and cited his excitement over Toronto’s young group of players as a reason he decided to come here…
“They bring a lot of energy … And (NL Cy Young runner-up Hyun-Jin Ryu) signed just a few days after I signed, so I think the horizon is really bright in Toronto and … the idea of playing with a young team and a team that has a lot of potential in the next year or two was something that stood out to me about the Blue Jays.”
I mean, it’s not like his agent’s phone was ringing off the hook after he posted a .157 batting average last season. Despite last year’s struggles, Shaw is confident that he can rebound from his miserable season, which was largely the result of a change he made to his swing…
“I made a swing change going into last year, a minor little swing change, it didn’t work itself out obviously. It kind of backfired on me, so I fought my body and I fought myself all year trying to get back to where I was the two years prior to that.”
Hopefully, that works out!
Moving along, the Chicago White Sox have continued on with the trend of locking up pre-arb players to long-term deals well before they’ve established themselves at the Major League level. They did this last year with top prospect Eloy Jimenez (signing him to a team-friendly six-year deal with a couple of team options) who went on to slash a .267/.315/.513 line in his rookie season.
Last week, they signed another top prospect, Luis Robert, to a similar six-year deal with a couple of team options. Robert slashed a wicked .328/.376/.624 line between Single-, Double-, and Triple-A last year and it’s a fair bet to assume he’ll follow Jimenez’s lead and hit the ground running at the Major League level this season.
So, at what point do the Blue Jays get Bo and Vlad signed long-term? For an even more similar situation, Alex Anthopolous got two of his young stars, Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ozzie Albies, locked up to long-term deals last winter after the two of them had breakout seasons in 2018.
Vlad will be arb eligible after the 2022 season and he can become a free agent after the 2025 season. Bo is one year behind him. The clock is already ticking and the Jays know these are the two players they want to build their teams around for the next decade and perhaps more. Why not invest in them long-term now? If you wait until they win the 2024 World Series, it’s just going to cost more and more, right?