“The Toronto Blue Jays organization has most of the pieces necessary to not only field a playoff-caliber team but to also build a dynasty if it plays its cards well,” says FanGraphs at the conclusion of their explanation for the Jays’ possibly-low but still outstanding 9th place ranking among MLB franchises. “The minor league system is strong and should be able to sustain a steady stream of talent, although the new restraints on acquiring amateur talent will offer a challenge to the club. The organization also has stable ownership and, theoretically, the money necessary to acquire some star talent to supplement those currently on the 25-man roster.”
They actually ranked eighth in 2011.
The rankings are based on a broad criteria, some of which the Jays do very well in– “2013+ outlook” (5th) and “baseball operations” (2nd)– and, I think more interestingly, some of which they’re kind of middling at.
Under “2012 outlook” they ranked just 15th, and while that’s not horrible by any means, given the division they play in, or at all indefensible, it’s still a little disappointing to see the ranking explained away mostly on the fact that “the club made very few (significant) changes to the 25-man roster, outside of the bullpen” over the winter. They, of course, are a very different team from the one that took the field on Opening Day a year ago– which isn’t at all to say they’re good enough to be ranked more than a spot or two higher, being realistic about it, but I bristle at the notion that the fact they didn’t do much in the off-season means it’s the same team they ran out during 2012.
The club also places 15th in the “financial resources” section, which is understandable, given the fact that Rogers hasn’t really flexed their financial muscles the way that we know they’d be capable of if they actually wanted to– not to mention Paul Beeston’s absurd five-year-max policy when it comes to free agents, which rules them out on any big ticket player who wasn’t developed internally.
Still, with only the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, Rangers, Tigers, Phillies, Braves, and Cardinals ahead of them– the Rays placed tenth– the Jays are in pretty good company once again. Yes, it’s pretty easy to think highly of a franchise that, for several years, hasn’t had any real onus on them to produce results, but receiving this kind of praise is obviously a lot better than being at the bottom of the list.