Blue Jays Morning Brew: Baseball’s Continuing Importance, Johnson Jokes, and Wishes


Sep 14, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Casey Janssen (44) throws a pitch in the ninth inning in a game against the Baltimore Orioles at the Rogers Centre. The Toronto Blue Jays won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

September can be an important time of year for baseball fans. The heat of the pennant races can be utterly captivating. However, for those teams out the pennant races, like our Toronto Blue Jays, there is a certain amount of depression involved in the change of seasons. But seasonal affective disorder doesn’t need to ruin what little baseball we have left, right?

For instance, Mike Wilner of Sportsnet likes to remind us that loving a losing team in September can still have its rewards. While it may not always lead to catching a foul ball in the stands, baseball still has a special place in our hearts, which is why we still show up year in and year out, and why we pass along our love for the game to our children.

Speaking of children, it is the special moments like this one, highlighted by April Whitzman at the MLB Fan Cave, that speak to why baseball continues to be a prominent part of our culture. The Blue Jays as an organization have a strong belief in helping the community, and the Make A Wish Foundation is another example of that. April captures the wish of Kelsey Panton, a 16-year-old with Lymphoma that wished to throw out the first pitch at a Blue Jays game and do so to her favorite player, Brett Lawrie.

That brings us to another wish, this one a little less inspiring. MLB Trade Rumors held a poll on Sunday in regards to the Blue Jays and whether or not they should make Josh Johnson a qualifying offer. Now, I’ve seen the arguments for the offer, often supported with his high strike-out rate and relatively decent xFIP. However, in my book, the risk involved in the offer doesn’t revolve around his ability to rebound from a horrid 2013 season, it revolves around his health. After all, we’re talking about a pitcher who has made 30 starts in a season just twice in a 9-year career, and only once has started 28 or more games in back-to-back seasons. $14 million is an awful lot to throw at a broken arm.

Injuries are a funny thing. We’re sort of held captive by them in this game, and the Blue Jays seem to suffer from an unfair amount of them. Earlier this weekend, we got to see the return of Colby Rasmus to the fold and he rewarded our patience with two home runs in his first two games back. Unfortunately, his strained oblique may have reared its ugly head again, as Gregor Chisholm reports in his latest notebook. Rasmus sat out Sunday’s loss to the Orioles with “general body soreness”, which may or may not be code for the oblique still bothering him. Still, if we can get him even on occasion over the last two weeks, it will give Jays fans one more reason to stay tuned.

Speaking of the aforementioned loss to the Orioles, Evan Peaslee recounts for us another game where the Blue Jays offense was once again missing in action. How much of that had to do with Rasmus not being in the line-up is up in the air, but outside of an Adam Lind solo shot, the Jays couldn’t put much together. Overall, they were 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position, a problem the team has had all season.

Now to close things out, we turn to, well, the closer. Scott MacArthur of discusses the performance of Blue Jays closer Casey Janssen, who has put together a solid campaign under the radar. The Blue Jays will have an interesting choice to make on Janssen this winter. The team holds a very affordable $4 million option for the 2014 season, which they undoubtedly will pick up. That said, they also have Steve Delabar in the mix and could take over the closer role, making Janssen a very trade-able player this winter.