Toronto Blue Jays: Clubhouse Culture Won’t Change


Toronto Blue Jays: Clubhouse Culture Won’t Change

There have been times during the last few seasons when various stories circulated about the negative atmosphere in the Toronto Blue Jays clubhouse. While these types of rumors affect most professional sports teams at some point – normally when they’re losing – Alex Anthopoulos decided to do something about it during the offseason.

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As a result, the Blue Jays brought in the likes of Russell Martin, Josh Donaldson, Justin Smoak and Michael Saunders. Some of the players who left included Brett Lawrie, Colby Rasmus and Brandon Morrow.

The aim – to improve the clubhouse atmosphere in Toronto. However, at least one former Blue Jays player doesn’t believe the vibe will be any different this season.

Adam Lind spent nine seasons playing professional baseball in Southern Ontario, before being traded to the Milwaukee Brewers. Speaking to Bob Elliot of the Toronto Sun earlier this week, he thinks the clubhouse will be similar to previous years.

Listening to what Lind has to say, he actually makes some valid points: “They’re my friends, but the guys who still run it are still there. Jose Bautista is the voice among position players and Mark Buehrle runs the starting pitchers.”

The 31 year old went on to discuss the players who have been brought in: “Do they think that Justin Smoak will change the culture of the clubhouse? Michael Saunders?I don’t know Donaldson, but Martin will make a difference. Martin is awesome.”

Sep 7, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista (19) hits a three run home run during the fifth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Lind finished by having a dig at Rasmus, who was often linked to the bad aura allegedly emanating from the clubhouse during 2014: “There might be a few more smiles with Colby gone.”

The Rasmus comment aside, I was most intrigued by Lind’s reference to Bautista. While there is no definitive evidence, the Blue Jays slugger has also received his fair share of criticism in recent seasons in terms of his influence in the clubhouse.

One of the most prominent rumors surrounded the 34-year old being part of a clique with his fellow Dominican Republic teammates. This extended to them apparently at one point ignoring a Blue Jays colleague who accidently injured a Dominican Republic player on another team.

While it’s tough to quantify how much of the story is true, you have to believe that Anthopoulos would have gotten rid of Bautista if he was that much of a bad influence on the clubhouse atmosphere. Certainly, he has a high trade value which the Blue Jays would have been able to take advantage of.

Overall, while it’s possibly there will be some improvement based on the moves made in Toronto, winning cures all ills. Qualify for the postseason, and everything will be just fine in the Blue Jays clubhouse.