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Blue Jays vs. Rays vs. the Future

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Who is better positioned for 2019 and beyond?

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Atlanta Braves
Rays manager Kevin Cash
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday we started a discussion about the American League Eastern Division, looking at the New York Yankees vs. the Boston Red Sox for 2019 and beyond, then talking about the intense rebuilding projected needed for the Baltimore Orioles.

Let’s focus on the AL East again today (we’ll start on the NL West tomorrow) with talk about the Toronto Blue Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Rays currently stand at 80-65, safely above .500 but trapped in third place 19.5 games behind the historic Red Sox. The Blue Jays are mired in fourth with a 65-90 record, not very good but nonetheless 24 games ahead of the woeful Orange Birds.

The question for today: the Rays are better right now but which team would you rather be for 2019 and beyond?

Toronto Blue Jays v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images

Who has the better farm system overall? The Jays have Vladimir Guerrero Jr., future superstar, plus premium prospects Bo Bichette and Eric Pardinho, but the Rays have Wander Franco, vaulting up prospect boards extremely rapidly, and a host of other fascinating prospects.

How soon do the Jays get back to .500? Can the Rays sustain their strong ‘18 in ‘19? Can either of these clubs challenge the Red Sox and Yankees directly in the near future, or will they be looking for wild card spots?