Ottawa Citizen

Blue Jays GM sings praises of the team’s farm system


Staying true to the rosy, glass-half-full vision of profession­al sports executives, Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins thinks he knows pain.

But rather than Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock’s famous declaratio­n that great pain lies ahead when he took over the most celebrated sports job in the city in May 2015, Atkins feels the worst is behind him.

“You certainly sign up to win. What we think about all the time is jumping up and down on mounds and watching other teams do that. As happy as I am for the people, it is painful to watch when it’s not us,” Atkins said Tuesday in his season-ending session. “We want to expedite (the return to competitiv­eness) as soon as possible.”

The Jays believe a return to contention is based on a loaded farm system, one that has developed more quickly than expected.

“I can tell you this: I’ve never felt as confident working in baseball as I do now about the future of an organizati­on,” Atkins said.

With players such as Vlad Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, Nate Pearson and more, there is reason to be optimistic.

As for the disaster of the last two seasons, Atkins makes no apologies. The intent was to squeeze what was left out of the veterans who took them to the ALCS in consecutiv­e seasons while beginning a bottom-up rebuild.

That was accelerate­d when injuries and under-achievemen­t quickly sank the 2018 season.

“We came into a unique situation where we tried to build upon the success of ’15,” Atkins said. “It was successful in ’16, it didn’t work in ’17 and ’18. Fortunatel­y we committed to ... (making) our system better and it is better.

“We feel like we’ve weathered some of the storm.”

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