The Chicago Cubs are world champions!!! The Cubs went out and broke the curse of the goat and a 108 year drought going from start to finish as the best team in baseball. We were treated to one of the best World Series finals in as long as I can remember with the Cubs coming back from a 3-1 strangle hold by the Indians and winning a wild game 7 in extra innings. What a year! Now with all that out of the way and about a week to digest, it’s time to talk about next season. With the Blue Jays coming off their second straight exit in the American League Championship series expectations remain high. The team is left with some possibly significant changes though. With Bash Brothers Jose Batista and Edwin Encarnacion’s future relatively up in the air the Jays will be forced to make some big decisions with their pocket books. Both sluggers have been offered qualifying offers but it is fairly unlikely that they will sign those contracts. It remains to be seen what kind of dollars these two may conger up in the open market but you can bet the price tags will be pretty high. The Jays will also have Saunders (who was not given a qualifying offer) and Cecil looking for new contracts. I must say with all the players in jeopardy of signing elsewhere Brett Cecil is right up there with Edwin near the top of the list that the Jays seriously need to sign. Yes he had an extremely rough start to the season but he was back to his old self by the time the playoffs rolled around and you can mark my words he will come back to haunt this team if they let him walk. With that being said let’s take a look at what contracts the Jays do have coming back next season. The Blue Jays still have a dynamic nucleus on the books for 2017. 2015 AL MVP Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitski and Russell Martin are all set to come back and lead the infield. Travis will look to stay healthy and be the teams top option at 2nd with Barney and Goins fighting for time if he falters. Smoak just signed a long term deal but I believe they’ll look to upgrade at 1st if they don’t hang on to EE.
Now the outfield is where it can be very intriguing. Word has it that the Jays are looking to be a much faster team next year and generate runs by other means than the long ball. As of right now the Blue Jays have Pillar, Carrera and Upton set to return and Dalton Pompey poised and ready to make the jump there is a ton of speed in the outfield. Everyone of these guys has top tier speed and the ability to swipe bases. It could be very interesting to see what develops there. Now probably the most exciting part of the 2017 season is that the Jays have their AL best starting rotation (likely minus R.A Dickey) coming back. Everyone of the 5 returning starters have the potential to be aces for this team. The front runner for that honour will definitely be Aaron Sanchez who lead the AL with a 3.00 ERA. J.A Happ looks to build off his Cy Young type season. Estrada and Liriano have the experience and stuff to be high end starters again and Marcus Stroman will look to push Sanchez for the top dog spot. So with all that the Blue Jays look to be in a pretty decent spot for the up coming season but the off season is long and lots can happen come spring training. We’ll see what Atkins and Shapiro have in store.