Toronto Blue Jays: No More Excuses Moving Forward
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If the Toronto Blue Jays do not make it to the postseason it will be hard for the team to expect the same old “maybe next year” approach. While I am not saying the team will ask for sympathy if it fails to break the 22 year long drought, but there should not be any excuses for why they could not get it done.
The team needed to find a way to improve the starting rotation, so they went out and got David Price. They own the league’s best offence and added to that by acquiring Troy Tulowitzki, while younger prospects like Aaron Sanchez and Roberto Osuna have occupied prominent roles in the bullpen.
However, even with all of that, the team still manages to find itself at around .500, with the critical stretch of the season looming. At the All-Star break, I wrote how the Blue Jays needed to make a deal and they did do that – while it was not what many were expecting, it symbolized what the team’s stance is at the moment.
Jul 17, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson (20) and first baseman Justin Smoak (10) slap hands with manager John Gibbons (5) and assistant hitting coach Eric Owens (L) after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 6-2 at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
The Blue Jays are six games back of the New York Yankees in the AL East race, but just two games back of the Minnesota Twins for the second wild card spot. With two weekend series against the Yankees in August plus a four game home series against the Twins, there is no better time for the team to make a push.
The Blue Jays had to get over some unfortunate injuries to pitcher Marcus Stroman and outfielder Michael Saunders, but luckily Devon Travis, Josh Donaldson, Marco Estrada and Russell Martin have stepped in and made a positive impact. While the team has improved their rotation and bullpen, there is still some concern moving forward with the depth in the outfield.
Normally in years past, the Blue Jays have taken a back seat to higher profile teams like the Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and St Louis Cardinals, but this season has been much different. Donaldson showed that when he received the most votes for the All-Star game and now, with the acquisitions of Price and Tulowitzk, the team is now among the elite in terms of relevance.
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What cannot happen is another collapse, which has become the norm with Toronto sports teams, since the Blue Jays last won the World Series in 1993. If the team is unable to make up any ground in the playoff race, it will not be because Alex Anthopoulos was unwilling to make a deal to help the team.
He shipped out prospects Daniel Norris, Jeff Hoffman, Miguel Castro, Matt Boyd, and Jairo Labourt in order to put this team on the map among the other playoff contenders. While some may not agree with the number of prospects dealt, there comes a point where the team has to finally make a big push, and it looks like now is the right time to do so.
Blue Jays fans have waited a long time to see this team in a position to “go all in”. However, if it does not work, the players will be short of excuses, along with skipper John Gibbons and Anthopoulos, who will probably be shown the door.
For now though, Blue Jays fans need to buckle up and be prepared for whatever August and September have in store, because for the first time in a while, they are in serious contention. Hopefully this time it does not end with a list of excuses.
At this point, the team still has pieces moving forward, but the moves made now were to address the present. Three to four years down the road, the Blue Jays will look back and see this time as either a great triumph or one of the biggest blunders in recent memory – it is up to the players to decide which will happen.