70 games have come and gone in the Blue Jays season thus far and they find themselves at the bottom of the AL East. The Jays may be in the cellar, but considering what they’ve gone through with injuries they have been playing well. The Jays remain just 2.5 games out of a playoff spot. However, keeping up with the leaders will continue to be a tough task with the Jays having only 2 of their regular 5 starters healthy at the moment.
One of those 2 is Henderson Alvarez who has been struggling mightily in his last few turns. One has to wonder if the consecutive poor starts where he has been hit very hard are starting to mess with the youngster’s long term psyche. If the Jays were healthier in the rotation a demotion to regain confidence would be considered, but with a lack of inning eating arms Alvarez is likely to stay and try to work out his kinks with the big club.
The Jays have about a month to determine their course for the remainder of the season. The end of July is the trade deadline and if the Jays are still in striking distance we could see the Jays brass get bold and make some big moves. If the Jays however find themselves well back of the leaders we could see several veterans such as Edwin Encarnacion, Darren Oliver and Kelly Johnson shipped off for more building blocks. Here’s hoping it’s the former rather than the latter come July 31.
The needs for the Jays are clear: starting pitching and another bat for the middle of the line-up. The Jays have been rumoured in several deals with pitchers on the trade block such as Wandy Rodriguez and Jeremy Guthrie. Either (or both) of those starters just mentioned would be a welcome addition to the Jays. A veteran presence in the rotation has been sorely lacking for years and the youngsters need veteran professionals to help guide them to the next level. Of course almost every team in baseball covets starting pitching and thus to get it you often have to overpay.
In terms of ‘currency’ the Jays have a boatload of intriguing prospects dominating the minors and also some young players on the big league roster that would entice other GM’s. Of their minor league prospects I feel the only untouchables would be Anthony Gose and Adeiny Hechavarria. Gose has rare raw talent, speed, glove, arm and bat, a potential 5 tool superstar. Hechavarria’s defence has always been major league ready, but now his bat has caught up, he looks like the Jays shortstop of the future. Without a doubt Travis d’Arnaud is the Jays top prospect. He has dominated the minors and has nothing else to prove down there. However, he has a roadblock in the name of JP Arencibia in his way to the majors. The Jays will not keep both of these catchers, but which will go. Ideally it would be Arencibia as it appears d’Arnaud has the much bigger upside, but Arencibia likely would not fetch much of a return as he has been struggling at the plate and with his defence. Of course none of these youngsters will be moved if the Jays are nowhere close to a playoff spot.
I have agreed with Alex Anthopoulos’ vision and plan to restock and build a consistent long lasting winning tradition. I do feel however, that now is the time to start putting in the extra pieces in place to push for a wild card spot. If it means parting ways with a Yunel Escobar, Travis Snider, Kelly Johnson, Eric Thames, Deck McGuire then so be it. The Toronto fan base is craving for at least a shot at the playoffs, to feel like management and ownership are trying to win now rather than 3 or 4 years from now. For the last decade it seems like the fans have gone through 2 or 3 of these 4-5 years plans and it has to be wearing thin on the fan base. The fans are likely finished with project or wishing-well pick-ups, they want proven talents that will take this team to the next level…the ‘maybe’s’ or hopefully’s are no longer wanted.
The fans have started to slowly come back to the ballpark, let’s reward them with a playoff run.
– Rant complete