SIMMONS: Atkins wants Ray and Semien: But what do Ray and Semien want?

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Ross Atkins started speaking casually to Robbie Ray and Marcus Semien previously month or so, simply to get a way, a really feel, to try to perceive what they have been eager about now and what their ideas are about subsequent 12 months.


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He has no actual solutions but — not even an intuition apart from the same old Atkins optimism.

However the Blue Jays query of the day, the query as this semi-spectacular season ended, the query president Mark Shapiro and normal supervisor Atkins should wrestle with as fall turns into winter is: How do the Jays discover a option to get free brokers Ray, Semien, and even Steven Matz, to return to Toronto?

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And in the event that they don’t, the place do the Jays go from right here?

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had a MVP-like season with the Jays as did Semien, the shortstop turned record-slugging second baseman. Ray had a Cy Younger-like season, particularly as Gerrit Cole stopped profitable in September and October. However Shapiro and Atkins, mixed — and it’s by no means sure who does what on this baseball couple — had their very own MVP winter, which translated fairly properly to summer season.


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And now, they must do it yet again.

Ray was the primary free-agent signing of the final low season, for what turned out to be bargain-basement cash at $8 million a 12 months. He signed earlier than the financial institution was thrown at George Springer, who sadly missed extra video games than he performed. But it surely was these seven days of January final winter that modified a lot for these Blue Jays.

They signed Springer. They signed Semien. They traded three minor leaguers for Matz.

Of the principle acquisitions of winter, Semien was sensational as was Ray. Matz was considerably higher than marketed. When Springer performed wholesome, he regarded particular: He simply didn’t play sufficient.

Had he missed 50 video games as an alternative of 84, the Jays would have been within the wild-card sport Tuesday evening. After which after that, who is aware of?


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And now loads of ‘who is aware of’ because the low season has formally begun. Of the free brokers they wish to return, Ray would appear to be the almost certainly to be loyal to the Blue Jays. He had hit virtually all-time low as a significant league pitcher when the Jays traded for him final summer season.

However one thing occurred, one thing clicked between pitching coach Pete Walker, who had advisable Ray.

He went from virtually completed to celebrity in little greater than a 12 months. That occurred as a result of he modified a lot about his personal routines. But it surely occurred as a result of no matter it was Walker noticed and altered with Ray, will make the pitcher someplace within the neighbourhood of $100 million. That appears the going fee for late-blooming stars.

Ought to Ray select to go away Toronto — his name — he gained’t have the choice of taking Walker with him. Athletes don’t at all times view the world this manner however he owes one thing to the Jays, one thing to Walker, one thing worthy of loyalty.


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It’s totally different with Semien. He needs to play shortstop. That’s how he views himself. Bo Bichette is the Blue Jays shortstop at this time and would be the Blue Jays shortstop tomorrow. If Semien needs to stick with the Jays, he’ll be staying as a second baseman. It’s not his place of alternative.

However what number of main league hitters would like to be in a lineup surrounded by Springer, Guerrero Jr., Bichette, Teoscar Hernandez. Semien isn’t going to get that anywhere else.

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Ought to he resolve to remain, he could also be prepared to sacrifice some defence for some offence and for an opportunity to play with a crew that ought to contend for the World Collection from the primary day it takes to the sphere subsequent season.

There will probably be every kind of curiosity in Semien in free company. Ought to the Jays not retain him, they lose a bat, a frontrunner, a ton of energy, an infielder who performs daily. Irreplaceable, actually. But it surely’s Semien’s name right here as it’s with any free agent.


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And in Atkins’ view, it “bodes exceptionally properly for us,” no matter meaning.

He isn’t saying sure. He isn’t saying no. Generally it’s important to hear carefully to know what precisely Atkins isn’t saying.

They’ve constructed an incredible baseball crew right here — partially with the items they inherited coming in. Partially with the event of Alek Manoah, Jordan Romano and Tim Mayza, with the guile they’ve demonstrated, buying and selling for Hernandez, for Santiago Espinal, for Jose Berrios, for Matz.

Ray makes them higher, as does Semien as does Matz. The primary two greater than the third one.

This was essentially the most entertaining Blue Jays season in years, essentially the most enjoyable actually, this free crew that smiles its means by way of video games. Ray, not a smile man, turned a part of it. Semien, a captain-serious sort, fortunately wore the house run jacket.

The Jays can’t presumably be as aggressive with out Ray and Semien as they’d be with them. That’s the issue for Shapiro and Atkins because the low season begins. If they will’t preserve one or the opposite, or can’t preserve each, they should change them with gamers of comparable skills.

And after hitting for the cycle final winter, how can they presumably do this once more?



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