Even though the Toronto Blue Jays don’t have much to play for this season, there is still something for a group of players to prove in the month of September.
Welp, it’s official, the Toronto Blue Jays have been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.
Don’t get too down though. There’s still a lot of baseball to be played and a plethora of interesting storylines that have yet to play out. There will be no October baseball in Toronto this season, however, some good September baseball might be just what the Blue Jays need to figure out what direction they would like to proceed in.
Here are five Blue Jays that have everything to play for in the final month of regular-season baseball.
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It’s been a long season for Justin Smoak. Once thought to be a prime trade chip that could net a top prospect or two, Smoak’s pull-heavy approach has caused a drop-off in production.
Smoak was an all-star just two short seasons ago, however, and he still plays a mean first base. If Smoak can rekindle some of that fairy dust he had sprinkled on him during his 38 home run, 90 RBI 2017 season, he could regain some of his value and either make re-signing him (to trade him later, because baseball) a viable option, or just announce to the league that he can still be of service.
Regardless, there is a lot of money on the line. Let’s hope Smoakey can get hot.
Of course, Cavan Biggio is going to be given every chance imaginable to get situated in the big leagues. He represents a cornerstone of the Blue Jays’ infield that is projected to be one of the best in all of baseball in the coming years.
Unfortunately, while Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. have been using this down period of “meaningless baseball” to mash every baseball everywhere, Biggio has been having a rough go of it at the plate.
Currently hitting just .209, Biggio needs to have a good September just to feel good about himself going into the offseason. He knows the position is all his if he wants it. Now it’s just a matter of taking it.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
September will be important to Vladdy for two reasons; one, he will get a chance to face the teams that the Jays will have to go through once they get serious about challenging for a World Series, as the Astros, Yankees, Rays and Red Sox are all on the docket as the season winds down.
Secondly, he needs to not get hurt. With the foul ball off of his foot and the scare he had tweaked his knee while making a play at third, there have been no shortage of near misses with Vladdy in the bigs, let alone his penchant for lower body injuries while he was in the minor leagues.
If Vladdy can finish 2019 healthy and be full strength for offseason workouts (in which he may look to shed a few pounds), the Blue Jays and Guerrero Jr. himself would be all the better.
For the Blue Jays to feel OK about potentially moving on from Justin Smoak, they need to feel OK about Rowdy Tellez being the everyday first baseman. And they might not be there yet. Tellez produced one of the crowning moments of the Jays’ 2019 season when he mashed a Nathan Eovaldi offering a reported 505 feet into the Boston night at Fenway Park.
But just like how that dinger is still being debated, so too is Tellez’s spot on the team. Through 88 games this season, Tellez is hitting .222 and has only managed 15 home runs. When he connects, the ball goes a long way, but connecting in the first place seems to be the issue.
If Tellez can piece together a quality month of baseball, it would go a long way in determining who will be guarding the right field line at Rogers Centre for years to come.
The young rotation: Jacob Waguespack, Sean Reid-Foley, Thomas Pannone, Jason Adam, Wilmer Font, etc.
Alright, this one is a bit of a hack, but bear with me. Basically, if trading Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez didn’t prove this already when it comes to the Blue Jays pitching staff, nothing is guaranteed.
Is better pitching required for this team to quiet opposing bats in the bandbox ballparks that populate the AL East? Yes. Could some of said pitching potentially come from the arms currently in house? Yes. If any of the names listed above could string together a few quality starts/outings, the Blue Jays would have reason to keep some continuity within a staff that will most likely be turned on its head a season or two from now.
I get it. September baseball when your team has already been eliminated can seem like torture. But anytime these pitchers, or any of the players mentioned above, take the field, know that there is still much to play for.
Here’s to this being the last September without playoff implications for a long time. Cheers.
What do you hope the Blue Jays accomplish for the rest of the season? Which players do you think need to end the season on a high note? Let us know in the comments below.