As the MLB offseason progresses, various free agents have begun exploring new deals ahead of the 2021 season. However, the Toronto Blue Jays have been tasked with an unlikely disadvantage.
According to reports, pending free agents are unsure about where the Blue Jays will play next season and have been hesitant to consider them as a destination. The team is still attempting to figure out whether home games will be played at Rogers Centre, their spring training facility in Dunedin, Florida, or somewhere else.
Manager Charlie Montoyo backed up these concerns for looming free agents.
“The No. 1 question is if we’re going to play in Toronto, and that’s rightly so,” Montoyo said. “Our answer is, ‘Yeah, we’re hoping so, that we do play in Toronto.’ Then they also ask about the border and their families and stuff.”
Last June, the Blue Jays were forced to close down their facility due to COVID-19 concerns. As a result, health officials denied a request for the team to travel back and forth between Canada and the United States for games.
This problem has translated with other leagues as well. In November, the Toronto Raptors were forced to play a portion of their regular season games in Florida due to similar concerns.
During the abbreviated 2020 MLB season, the Blue Jays finished with a record of 32-28 and clinched a Wild Card spot. It marked the first time the team had made the postseason since 2016; a year in which they reached the American League Championship.
There is plenty of reason for Blue Jays fans to be excited about the current roster, but the free agency period is opportunity for teams to grow. With the current disadvantage, the “what if’s” Toronto could be facing is concerning.