As fans of the Toronto Blue Jays, we want our team to compete and we’re excited about the prospect of them finally making the playoffs after a 21-year absence.
We were told to expect a World Series appearance last season and to begin planning the parade route right away, but the baseball gods had different ideas so we’re also a little skeptical about the team’s current makeup. If they couldn’t do it last year, why would they be able to do it this year?
Jul 13, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes (7) in the dugout against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
This bipolar combination of excitement and skepticism has put tremendous pressure on the Jays to do something, anything so that the possibility of another wasted season can be erased. We’re not completely happy with the starting rotation; we’re not completely happy with the bullpen; we’re not completely happy with the positional players or the batting lineup. We want one more piece to push us over the top – we need one more piece to allay our concerns.
In other words, we want a trade simply for the sake of seeing something done – a trade for its own sake.
There’s the infamous “payroll parameters” factor to consider. There’s also the asset question to consider: who are we will to give up and at what cost? Are we willing to bank the future for a chance to win today? On both these fronts, the Jays appear to hold a conservative stance and I can’t really blame them. It makes sense given the team’s current circumstances.
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Beyond these two critical factors, however, there are a number of other things that suggest the Jays will stand pat today.
First, they’ve already gone some way towards addressing their lack of depth in the outfield and the infield. Claimed off waivers from the Baltimore Orioles, Nolan Reimold should provide the Jays’ the fourth outfielder they so desperately need (Anthony Gose just doesn’t cut it, sorry) while the acquisition of Danny Valencia from Kansas City gives the Jays another infielder off the bench. In addition, both players are decent options at the plate against left-handed pitchers, which is another area where the Jays desperately needed improvement.
Are Reimold and Valencia enough to bolster the Jays’ lineup and put them in position to make the playoffs? No, but they aren’t expected to provide the missing ingredient. This might come from a slew of internal players – Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind, Brett Lawrie and Brandon Morrow – who should make their individual returns to the lineup soon.
Apr 26, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Brandon Morrow delivers a pitch against Boston Red Sox at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
When these guys finally return, their added presence will have the effect of a trade anyway. Why waste real assets and money when quality help is already on the way?
Finally, the Jays are hot right now and look like the team that rocketed up the standings in May. Whether this lasts for the remainder of the season or ends sometime later this month, it may be enough on its own to ensure the Jays make the playoffs. Over the past few days, the Jays have already padded their lead for the final Wild Card spot and they’ll soon get the chance to makeup ground on the Orioles.
That’s quite impressive for a team battling several major injuries and one who’s fate in July looked bleak.
In an ideal world, the Jays would be able to add pieces as needed, but here in the real world, they might already have enough pieces to win anyway. This is why I expect the Jays to stand pat today.