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Olney: Jays likely to decide direction after All-Star Break, but options difficult

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Toronto Blue Jays Vladimir Guerrero Jr. - The Canadian Press

The Toronto Blue Jays are unlikely to make any decisions about their future until after the All-Star break roughly one month from now, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.

Olney joined TSN 1050 Toronto’s First Up Tuesday morning and said he’s hearing any major changes on the horizon for the Blue Jays are likely to wait a few weeks.

“There is an expectation that when we get to the All-Star break, that’s the time when they think the Blue Jays will make a decision and determine – or at least if the team is not playing well, they’d be more open-minded to hearing trade offers, to having conversations, to determining, let’s face it, what’s going to be a major direction course change for the team as they go forward,” Olney said.

“The options in front of them are all difficult. There’s not a great option out there.”

Olney also said the renovations at the Rogers Centre over the past two off-seasons and expectations of a contending team from the fanbase also play a part into the front office’s decision making and could make it harder to overhaul the team’s core if their struggles continue.

“One hundred per cent it is. Because on one hand, when you have those sort of renovations at that cost, you’re going to want to back that up with a strong team performance. That’s not happening,” he said.

“And so, as you sit here, the comparison I made last week was that you are kind of like the captain of the Titanic, and you can just ignore all the information you’re getting and say, ‘Full steam ahead and we’ll be fine.’

“Or you can say ‘Okay, we now have a year and a half of information almost and this offence is not working. And we can either move ahead and add before the deadline and try to patch and fill and try to keep the ship upright, or we need to come up with a lifeboat-type strategy. And we need to change where we are.’”

Toronto opened a three-game series against the Brewers in Milwaukee Monday night with a 3-1 loss, scoring just one run or fewer for the 15th time already in 2024. The Jays rank near the bottom of the league in total runs scored (258), slugging percentage (.367) and OPS (.676).

They now sit two games under .500 at 32-34 and are three games back of the final American League wild-card playoff spot. And the schedule isn’t friendly over the next month. Monday in Milwaukee kicked off a stretch for Toronto that involves them playing their next six series against teams at or over .500.

The clock is ticking on Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette, who are each slated to hit free agency after the 2025 season. Olney wrote on Monday that Guerrero, Bichette and starter Chris Bassitt could shake up the trade market if the Jays decide to make them available. However, Olney suggested Tuesday the Jays may not get what they’re looking for on Bichette or Guerrero in a potential trade if they do decide to make major moves.

“Part of the feedback I got kind of generally the other day when I was making all these calls to executives, was that yeah, if you trade a position player mid-season, the market is going to be very limited because only a small number of teams are going to consider paying the price for someone like Bo or paying the price for someone like Vladdy,” Olney said.

“You’re going to be dealing with very few teams and teams in mid-season are not necessarily going to want to pay big in prospects for a particular position player. So, the conditions are not great.”

Monday also marked an eventful day for Olney, whose account on X, formerly Twitter, was hacked, posting messages about cryptocurrency, fake MLB trades and news, and other obscene messages.

Olney said he was out working in the garden and started receiving message from people alerting him to what was going on.

“I must have gotten 50 messages from people saying, ‘You got hacked, you got hacked.’”

“I just texted back to a couple people, you know, ‘I hope no one takes it seriously otherwise everyone’s mother is in trouble, according to my Twitter account,’” Olney said with a laugh, referencing a post from the hacker. 

The posts on Olney's account have now disappeared and he said he believes the account is currently suspended.