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Toronto Blue Jays' Robbie Ray pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sept. 20, in St. Petersburg, Fla.Chris O'Meara/The Associated Press

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. should not and will not win the American League most-valuable-player award.

Everybody likes these sorts of guessing games, but this year the winner, Shohei Ohtani, is a mortal lock. Until Connor McDavid starts playing in net, Ohtani is the MVest MVP in all of sport.

But in any other year, Guerrero would be the AL’s top player. As of Friday afternoon, he leads the league in just about every offensive statistic.

This is the fullest realization of the Toronto Blue Jays’ rebuilding plan. There were a lot of moving parts in that years-long process, but the master cog was Guerrero. As long as he turned out, everything was going to be okay. That’s what we were meant to understand.

Now that the Jays star generator has produced stars, the next question is, ‘Did everything actually turn out okay?’

Right now, the Jays have the best hitter in baseball and, arguably, the best starting pitcher (Robbie Ray) and a top-five-in-the-game position player (Marcus Semien) and another infielder who’s just outside that bracket (Bo Bichette).

Ray will probably win the Cy Young award. Guerrero and Semien will probably finish second and third or fourth in MVP voting. Bichette will also get a few votes, maybe enough for a top-10 finish.

It’s been 30 years since the Jays had this many players this good. But does that add up to the same sort of team those 1990s stars played on?

No. Close, but not close enough.

As of this writing, Toronto sits fourth in the AL East. It’s not a disaster (yet), but it’s also not the Cinderella story the Jays would prefer be written about them. They’re a fun team and an exciting team, but they are not yet a great team, or even a good team. Good teams are consistent. The Jays still fail that test.

First proposition – with players this good playing this well, you have to make the playoffs. That is non-negotiable.

If the Jays fall out of the wild-card race, this season is a bust. If the Jays lose the wild-card game, this season is a missed opportunity. If they only make it as far as the division series, you might be able to call it a learning opportunity. But people will know it’s still a bust.

This is the difference between roster building and brand-name accumulation.

Toronto Blue Jay George Springer celebrates scoring in the dugout against the Minnesota Twins on Sept. 18.Mark Blinch/Getty Images

In baseball, it’s easy to get an all-star. You just have to pay for one. The Jays did that with George Springer. As it turns out, the money they paid Springer is money they can’t give to Ray or Semien, both of whom may be playing their final few games in Toronto.

Springer might go on to light up the league for 162 games a year for the next five seasons and this is all moot. But let’s just say things aren’t trending that way.

Betting the life savings on Player A vs. Player B is a mug’s game, but this is why team presidents and GMs get paid so much. Their only real job is guessing where someone else’s money should go.

Have the Jays put their money in the right place? We’re about to find out.

It’s poetic that the success or failure of the season will come down to the three-game series against the New York Yankees next week.

The Yankees pioneered the great players/mediocre team model. But they had to. The roster calculus is different in New York than, say, Cincinnati.

The first job of the Yankees GM is stars. His main task is keeping all that House That Ruth Built mythology current. If the Yankees were already winning championships with a roster full of nobodies, they’d still go out and sign a couple of $200-million guys just to say they had.

Right now, the star model isn’t looking so hot in New York. The team has huge names – Gerrit Cole, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton – but its performance is all over the place.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. follows through on his ninth inning home run against the New York Yankees on Sept. 9 in New York City.Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Does that sound familiar?

It hasn’t been a great season overall for the star model. The most star-laden team since Murderers’ Row, the Los Angeles Dodgers, may suffer the indignity of a play-in game before their title defence can begin. The Mets got the most can’t-miss player on the market, Francisco Lindor, and he’s done nothing but miss.

The three most consistently good teams this year – San Francisco, Milwaukee and Tampa – are anonymous collections of very good but not particularly well-known players. There are no holes in their rosters. They don’t play in spurts. They hum along.

That’s the Jays’ holy grail – consistency. Well, that and a bullpen that doesn’t leak leads like a cardboard canoe.

The good news is that the consistency that creates regular-season winners doesn’t feature in the playoffs. What you need in the postseason is a streak. That’s when stars really matter. One great pitcher and one hot hitter may be enough to ride to a World Series.

The Jays have the stars now. But unless their business model undergoes a radical rethink, they will be shorn of a couple of them (Ray and Semien) by next year.

The way the Jays are selling it, this team is ahead of schedule. In fact, it may already be behind. If Toronto doesn’t win now, then what?

Can Guerrero and Bichette be better next year than they were this year? That’s hard to imagine. Can another starter replicate Ray’s 2021 performance? Almost certainly not. Maybe Springer fills in the production Semien gave you, but who replaces a half-seasonlof Springer? No one obvious.

So while this run is a lot of fun, it could go sideways in a hurry.

This is the problem with trying to be like the Yankees without spending like the Yankees. If you miss your chance, you can’t buy another the next year.