Despite belief in Blue Jays, GM Ross Atkins says he’s ‘prepared for any angle or pivot’

Photo credit:Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Cam Lewis
1 month ago
Though they sit dead last in the American League East with a 19-24 record — an overachievement based on their 155 to 203 run differential — Ross Atkins still believes in his version of the Toronto Blue Jays.
“We believe in this talent. We believe there is a time left,” Atkins said. “But there is a massive sense of urgency and we need to get it turned around soon.
If it doesn’t?
“We’ll see. You always are prepared for any angle or pivot you have to make.”
It was largely the same message from Atkins when he addressed the media on the Saturday of May long weekend that he had all winter, though there was considerably more emphasis on urgency this time around.
Following the team’s second of back-to-back sweeps in the Wild Card round of the post-season, Atkins said multiple times over the off-season that internal progression would be the driving factor in the Blue Jays doing better this year. That’s why the only additions made to the lineup of a team that finished below league average with 4.60 runs scored per game were utility player Isiah Kiner-Falefa and 39-year-old Justin Turner.
You can’t really complain about those two players, as IKF ranks fifth on the Blue Jays with 0.7 fWAR and Turner is one of five Toronto hitters with a wRC+ over 100. The trouble is that the internal progression that the Blue Jays needed — and banked on — from their core players hasn’t arrived.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. sports a mediocre on-base plus slugging percentage of .743, while Bo Bichette and George Springer have struggled to .591 and .558 figures, respectively. Daulton Varsho, Danny Jansen, and Davis Schneider have hit well, but the lack of production from Toronto’s core hitters has the team in second-last in baseball with 3.60 runs per game.
The Blue Jays badly needed to add an impact power bat for the middle of their lineup this winter and it didn’t happen. There apparently wasn’t urgency at that time, but there is now.
Atkins acknowledged that teams need to pay a premium if they want to make a trade at this point in the season, so the only way for the Blue Jays to climb out of the hole they’ve dug for themselves is with the group they have. That could involve the aforementioned Vladdy, Bo, and Springer finding better results or potentially a call-up or two from the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons making an impact.
There’s also the possibility that the Blue Jays won’t turn things around and that they’ll be well out of the playoff race by the time the All-Star break rolls around in mid-July. If that happens, Atkins says he’s ready to pivot and look towards selling rather than buying ahead of the trade deadline.
But if the Blue Jays find themselves in that situation, should Atkins really be the one to guide the team through any sort of retooling process? Nobody wants to see Danny Jansen get traded for Derek Fisher and Socrates Brito.

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