What a difference one year makes. If you were to take the temperature around Blue Jays Spring Training camp last year, you’d get a vastly different tone compared to this year.
Entering the 2015 season, the underlying feeling was one of hope, but it was also one of apprehension. In 2016, the vibe the surrounding the Toronto Blue Jays is one of confidence and expectation to perform. Yes, there’s nothing quite like an AL East division title and a decent playoff run to boost morale.
If ever there was a player who personified that confident demeanor on the Blue Jays, it would be Jose Bautista.
This time around, things are much different around the Blue Jays clubhouse. Whereas before there might only be one or two outspoken people in the locker room, now there are several.
As evidenced by this interview below with the MLB Network during their “30 Clubs in 30 Days” feature, Bautista makes one very interesting statement about the culture change from within the organization.
“I was telling somebody the other day; we’re a team full of generals and commanders, not just great soldiers. We just got another great general when he (Troy Tulowitzki) came on board.”
Just go through the Blue Jays roster and it’s littered with players who would be worthy of that status: Donaldson, Bautista, Tulowitzki, Encarnacion, Martin, Colabello, and even Stroman. These are all guys which have displayed leadership qualities at one point or another.
Bautista also addressed his looming contract status with the club, and reiterated his intentions to stay with the club.
“I’m most valuable to this organization than any other. I would like to stay here; that’s what I’ve been saying since day one. I’ll let my agent do his job and the front office take care of that.”
Although funnily enough, later on in the interview, Bautista may have made a bit of a Freudian slip, referring to the Blue Jays in the third person, saying “they have a good team”.