Toronto Blue Jays: How Did Management Evaluate the Roster?


Toronto Blue Jays: How Did Management Evaluate the Roster?

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What a rough patch it has been for the Toronto Blue Jays both on and off the field as of late. It’s been tough watching the Blue Jays lately, but at least there is a glimmer of hope offensively, with the return of Jose Reyes on the horizon. In Reyes’ Minor League assignment on Saturday, he had a couple of hits and a two RBIs, so it seems that he is ready to go, and boy is he needed.

Watching the Jays series against Houston recently really outlined a lot of problems they have. From depth issues with the starting rotation, bullpen and in the outfield, there are really a lot of issues that need to be shored up in a short time, if Toronto wants to right this ship and have a chance to head into the All-Star break at .500.

Before the season I noticed there were a lot of available discounted options in free agency that the Jays chose to ignore. They made some good deals in getting Josh Donaldson and Russell Martin, and I’m very glad they have both, but it is a bit ironic they chose to improve two positions that were relatively stable at the moment.

Brett Lawrie was very injury-prone in Toronto and that was a good deal considering Donaldson still only makes just over $4 million a year after his arbitration case. However, it was surprising to me for them to sign Martin to such a long-term deal with so much money attached to it, considering Dioner Navarro just had the best season of his career. Sure, they thought that was as good as it was going to get for Navarro, and Martin really is a great catcher, but if you’re going to sign these two players, you have to complete your roster or you’re really just spinning your wheels.

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Right now in the outfield we have Kevin Pillar, Chris Colabello and Ezequiel Carrera. Pillar is a great depth piece who is a real gamer, and Collabello looks very confident at the plate. Carrera is simply himself, a guy who has been around and has experience, but is by no means a game changer. Pillar has cooled off from the start of the season and Collabello has made some recent mistakes that show his inexperience in the outfield.

Before the season, most people were expecting to see Michael Saunders in left field, but he currently has a bone bruise on his surgically repaired left knee, that will keep him out another 3 to 5 weeks. Dalton Pompey was in centre field, which I thought was laughable, and then obviously Jose Bautista was in right.  Neither are currently in the lineup, and now Bautista needs a few days after a cortisone shot in his right shoulder to be back as the DH.

Many people knocked Colby Rasmus for his time in Toronto and this made no sense to me. Here we had a guy play solid defense – though many would look at advanced stats and disagree – but he is a big, strong, fast guy who makes good reads and has a pretty accurate arm. Meaning he is pretty good. When playing a full season with 500 at bats, he also hits around 20-25 home runs with 60-70 RBIs.  Sure he hits for a low average in the .220-.230 range, but was hitting in the bottom of the order in Toronto!

Sep 6, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pinch hitter Colby Rasmus (28) is congratulated by third baseman Danny Valencia (15) after hitting a two run home run during the seventh inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

After signing a one-year deal for $8 million in Houston, Rasmus is sure showing his worth.  So far this year in 39 games, he is hitting .236 with nine doubles, one triple, eight home runs, 17 RBIs and 19 runs scored, while hitting fifth for a team that is 5.5 games up in their division. Considering his so-called replacement isn’t even in the big leagues at this point after hitting .193 with two home runs and six RBIa in 23 games, it’s clear to see this was an obvious mistake in not re-signing Rasmus to a one or two-year deal.

Ichiro was also a cheap option who had some interest in joining the Blue Jays. He signed with the Miami Marlins for $2 million on a one-year deal, and is currently hitting .290 in 42 games played. This also would have been a good depth piece that would be helping us at this present moment. He plays solid outfield while putting the ball in play and swiping some bags. Not bad for a 41-year-old.

We also passed on some pitchers who could have helped our bullpen, like Francisco Rodriguez, who has a 1.20 ERA in 15 games, with eight saves on a bad Milwaukee Brewers team. There was also cheaply-signed John Axford, who is now in Colorado, sporting a 0.90 ERA with six saves. Both would have been good closer’s on our team and would push Brett Cecil up in the bullpen to be a more effective set-up guy.

This is a team that honestly is a mess right now. It’s early and there is definitely a lot of time left. However, with injuries and problems all over the board they need a lot of things to come together. Couple that with the fact the Blue Jays inquired about Cole Hamels in Philly, but he has informed people that he has no interest in waiving his no-trade clause to come to TO.

Hopefully in time we can have a healthy Reyes, Bautista, Saunders, Devon Travis and so on, but we have what we have due to managements sheer terrible evaluation of their current roster, so they have to dig deep.

It is time for the big guys to step up and for the rotation to straight up steal a couple of games. Sanchez put up a great effort in the series finale against the Seattle Mariners and hopefully the ball can get rolling. However, when looking at the Jays’ roster, fans should be pretty upset with how the guys running the show have gone about their business and evaluated this team. Alex Anthopoulos said the team, “was set and ready” before the season. I wonder which team he was looking at, because it wasn’t the one he runs.

I also want to give Ryan Goins some props on his good game on Sunday.  I have given him some heat, but he was integral in winning yesterdays ballgame and breaking the Jays slump.