MLB Teams that will be buyers ahead of the 2020 season

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 28: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 and Bo Bichette #11 of the Toronto Blue Jays during the fourth inning of their MLB game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Rogers Centre on September 28, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 28: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 and Bo Bichette #11 of the Toronto Blue Jays during the fourth inning of their MLB game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Rogers Centre on September 28, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images) /

MLB Teams: Buyers in 2020

Toronto Blue Jays

The Jays became moderately famous in 2019 for both the depth and lineage of their rookie class. Not only were Dante Bichette, Vlad Guerrero Jr., and Cavan Biggio all sons of former major leaguers, they were all good in their own right.

Now’s the right moment for the Jays to supplement that young core with one or two front-rank veterans that could give them a serious boost in the AL East.

True, the Jays finished only 67-95, 36 games behind the division-leading Yankees. But given the expected natural improvement of sophomores-to-be Biggio, Guerrero, and Bichette, that margin might be deceptive.

Toronto also has as much payroll flexibility as any team in MLB. The Jays project to enter 2020 with only about $30 million in ongoing payroll commitments, a fraction of their normal $140 million payroll range.

That means they could, if they chose to, extend a long-term commitment to one or more of their rookie core and still have room to court a first-magnitude 2010 free agent prospect.

Who might they go after? Toronto’s projected 2020 lineup is laden with youth, including 25-year-old DH Rowdy Tellez, 25-year-old catcher Danny Jansen, 27-year-old Teoscar Hernandez, and 26-year-old Lourdes Gurriel.

They do lose first baseman Justin Smoak to free agency but have the flexibility – if they choose to use it – to re-sign Smoak. Given his 2019 performance decline – his 101 OPS+ was Smoak’s worst in three seasons – they may pass on that opportunity.

Unless the Jays are prepared to give up on some of their regulars, the obvious focal point is the rotation, which needs a workhorse leader to replace Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman. Both were traded away last July.

The Jays aren’t an obvious suitor for Gerrit Cole, but somebody like Jake Odorizzi might – for the right money and term — make a lot of sense.

Chicago first baseman Jose Abreu might be an attractive option to replace Smoak, although that could entail a bidding war with the Sox, who are reportedly interested in retaining Abreu as a stable veteran in an otherwise developing lineup.