So this is where the Toronto Blue Jays are at: sitting at 45-53, last in the AL East, 11 games out of the Wild Card race, and the trade deadline looms a little more then a week away. The question I pose to you, the fan is this: Are the Toronto Blue Jays buyers or sellers?
It’s a compelling question because for the following reasons:
1.) Stranger things have happened in baseball (see 2011 Boston Red Sox September collapse. Also see 2011 Atlanta Braves September collapse.)
2.) Due to this, the Blue Jays aren’t “officially” out of the playoffs… though it sure does look grim.
Despite things looking grim, the Jays continue to tease us fans with glimmers of hope like an 11 game winning streak with arguably not their best group of players on the field. At the same, now the Jays have their best players on the field and are losers of 5 straight.
If the Jays are buyers, who exactly do they buy and with what? Toronto lacks serious immediate prospects besides maybe Marcus Stroman to make an impact trade. It’s more likely Toronto would have to deal from an area strength, which is their bullpen, to get back something of a need.
It’s debatable as to what exactly the bigger need is. Personally, I have always felt a team wins more with a great defense than offense and the offense has shown to be more consistent (READ AS More consistent than Jays’ starting pitching… that doesn’t make Jays’ hitters consistent.) So I would try to make a move for a solid starting arm. The problem with that is the Jays probably won’t get a good starting arm for bullpen pitchers. Typically, teams only make moves for bullpen pitchers if it’s an area of need and the Jays trading partner is in the playoff race. If a team is in the playoff race, you can bet it has to do with good solid pitching of which they’re not willing to part. So, expect prospects or a decent bat for a more than solid reliever such as Casey Janssen. This doesn’t solve the problem however. The Jays are just good enough to be buyers, which keeps us fans just clinging to the hope that maybe they will be.
Given the state of the team currently, Toronto is either more likely to be a seller or just stay neutral and go “ride or die” for the rest of the season. Going into sell mode signals to the fan base that it’s over. I don’t know about you, but I’ll still watch the games, though deep down, I don’t really want to. If or when they sell, the front office may also be showing another shift in organizational philosophy, which generally means heads will roll. So if the Jays sell, fans may get their #FireGibby wish. Other fans should get their #ScrewAAIllDrinkToThat wish and so may start yet another rebuilding period. Unfortunately, around baseball, the growing consensus is that the Jays will be sellers and the most talked about guy I heard of being sold is Josh Johnson. Personally, I think that’s absurd given he’s in a contract year, he’s been awful (don’t argue that point please. 2 innings last night?! just f***ing 2?! That’s from our centerpiece of the Marlins trade?!? I need a beer…), and I wouldn’t expect much back from a guy who’s a big question mark… yet, his name continues to get mentioned.
Staying neutral means the organization feels that with some few off-season tweaks, the team may be able to compete next season. I’m not really sure how I feel about this. I think the Jays are not in the best position to start rebuilding again. I also don’t think the Jays are in a position to compete for even just a Wild Card spot with what they have. Let’s not forget that if the Jays don’t start to jettison contracts of underachieving players that are overpaid in coming years, those contracts will become financial burdens (Known as to Alex Rodriguez a team. Here’s the definition: Alex Rodriguez: Verb: To create team financial hardship and distress by overpaying a player millions of dollars and not getting a result or any result at all) and the players will be impossible to move.
So what do you think? Should Toronto go on another buying spree like that of a 14 year old teenage girl? Should AA pretend his team is like something out of The Sons of Anarchy and “ride or die?” Or is it time to hit the abort button, close this chapter in Toronto baseball history, and start over again?