Are The Toronto Blue Jays Pretenders Or Contenders?

Are The Toronto Blue Jays Pretenders Or Contenders?

By Mark S.

Brief Bio:

I’m an 18 year old sports broadcasting student attending the College of Sports Media in downtown Toronto. I’ve had a passion of sports all my life and look forward to sharing my passion writing for TSM. Hope you enjoy!

Are The Toronto Blue Jays Pretenders Or Contenders?

After back-to-back World Series titles, everyone around the world thought that the Toronto Blue Jays were destined for success.  After missing the playoffs in the ’94 season with a 55-60 record those thoughts changed. How could a team go from two straight winning seasons and not make the playoffs?  Fast forward 21 years, the Blue Jays are still in that conundrum. This season however has some hope for this baseball club, it seems that they’ve found the recipe for success. Last season when General Manager Alex Anthopoulos made the blockbuster deal with the Miami Marlins, the success should of started last year. After finishing another disappointing season with a 74-88 record, you would think that some sort of change was going to happen. Anthopoulos and management thought otherwise and came in with virtually the same team into this season. A decision that has seemed to work, for now.

Everyone knows that winning is a key contributor to success, nobody has fun losing thats simple logic. When the Blue Jays got rid of Catcher J.P Arencibia and added Dioner Navarro in the offseason, Arencibia’s negative ego around the media was gone. When you see the Jays club house this season compared the last season there’s a huge difference. You know when you see Jose Reyes’ contagious smile nothing but positive energy is going through this club.

With the club once again leading the MLB in home runs, the offence has been there. With sluggers Edwin Encarnacion leading the AL in home runs and RBI alongside Jose Bautista’s .300 AVG with his 15 HR’s and 49 RBI the offence isn’t their concern. Their biggest concern that’s hurt them in the past has been the amount of injuries and the lack of consistency of their starting and bullpen pitching.

Let’s start with the pitching. This year the Blue Jays are 22nd in the league with an overall team ERA of 4.12. Besides Mark Buehrle’s 10-4 record and Drew Hutchison’s strong return from Tommy-John surgery, the pitching has been all over the place. With last year All-Star relievers Brett Cecil and Steve Delabar struggling, who else could this club look to? Last year at this time Cecil had an ERA of 1.59 while Delabar was throwing out a 1.76 ERA along with 48 strike-outs in only 33 innings. These two players had a combined 118 innings of work all of last season. This year in only 52 innings, they have a combined 4.33 ERA sending Delabar on a trip to the AAA Buffalo Bisons and Cecil to the 15-day DL. These two players need to step it up and when healthy, could possibly send this team into the postseason.

Now to the injuries. It looks like it’s hit them again, literally. With everyday starters Brett Lawrie breaking his index finger against the Cincinnati Reds, Jose Bautista being out indefinitely with a hamstring strain, Brandon Morrow and Maicer Izturis being out for the year and with Jose Reyes and Adam Lind dealing with minor injuries, the bug is back. With a 3-7 record on their recent road trip, it’s showed that these injuries are hurting this team once again. You could say the Jays have walked under too many ladders and stepped on too many cracks, they’ve just been unlucky. Especially with Lawrie and Bautista out for a considerable time, players like Juan Francisco and Anthony Gose need to be consistent on the field and the plate, this team depends on it.

With just under a month until the All-Star break, so much more baseball has yet to be played. Anything could happen, it’s still very early in the season. With the Jays leading the American League East, we may not understand how they’ve been successful so far this season. When September comes you never know, this team might be contending for their first playoff berth in 21 years.


  • comment-avatar

    “After missing the playoffs in the ’94 season with a 55-60 record those thoughts changed. ”

    Miiiiight want to fact check that. Who did make the playoffs in 1994, for instance?

  • comment-avatar

    In terms of the 1994 season, we don’t actually know if the Jays would have made the playoffs because the season was cut-short in mid-August due to a lockout (same with the Expos possibly winning a World Series that same year – we just don’t know) but yes, the Jays have not been in the playoffs since 1993. Depth-wise, this might be the strongest Jays team in years in that department especially if Gose and/or Pillar hit right now to bridge the injury to Bautista. The same can be said for Francisco, Tolleson, Kawasaki, maybe eventually Goins to fill the void left by Lawrie both offensively and defensively. Bullpen-wise, yeah…Cecil and Delabar are the keys there. If those guys don’t return from injury and AAA respectively in top-notch form, the Jays could be in trouble.

  • comment-avatar
    Another Steve 7 years ago

    When the strike was called in August 1994, the Jays had a record of 55-60 and were 16 games behind the Yankees. Pretty safe to say that the team wouldn’t have made the playoffs.

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    John in Bolton 7 years ago

    Nice effort on the column, Mark. As a fellow journalist, let me offer some advice. First off, work on your punctuation and grammar. For example, it’s not “should of” it’s “should have” and “that’s” rather than “thats”.

    Also, wouldn’t you say that winning and success are the same thing? To me, winning consecutive World Series titles equals success. What could be more successful, in fact? When you say that “winning is a key contributor to success”, it is like saying water is a key contributor to being wet.

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    Sam in Scarb 7 years ago

    It is hard to think that an everyday line-up that includes offensively challenged players like Francisco, Tolleson, Kawasaki, Gose and Pillar can do no better than tread water and play 500 baseball.
    That being said,this week the Jays have actually increased their first place lead.
    So,bottom line,who the hell knows.

  • comment-avatar

    You need a proof-reader for some very basic English grammar and punctuation
    mistakes. Also, your title asks the question of whether or not they are contenders, but you don’t offer your own opinion as to whether you think they are or aren’t.

    This is just constructive criticism. Keep putting your stuff out there.

  • comment-avatar

    They’re probably the best team in a bad division. That alone should see them win it – which is what will be required because I don’t see a wild card spot coming from the AL East.

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    Aaron 7 years ago

    Not bad. Although citing pitcher wins, RBIs, batting averages and “clubhouse culture Re Arencibia/Reyes” doesn’t really say much.

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    How about trading Mr.Hotdog,Reyes for a starting pitcher,that would help,this guy throws curve balls to first base,on second thought maybe he can pitch

  • comment-avatar
    Pudge72 7 years ago

    Nice trolling, roy…you can go back to the TSN website to make dumb comments like that.