Unfortunately for Toronto Blue Jays fans, September is a month that is often forgotten and buried under the rubble of disappointment for another season lost. It’s almost become a yearly rite of passage, watching the air leak out of our inflated hopes. With a 20-year playoff drought in place, it’s become somewhat of an art form unto itself.
The 2014 season has some ups and down, and while the Blue Jays are still technically in the Wild Card hunt, the writing is practically on the wall. However, Blue Jays fans, which would normally start trying to find ways to justify the Maple Leafs hopes for the new hockey season, haven’t quite moved on yet and there is a good reason for that.
Unlike the end of the 2013 season, the Blue Jays have decided to make their final stand of the season by showcasing the quality young players that have made their way up through the system in bounds this season.
Unfortunately, this will obviously have an effect on the veterans already in the clubhouse, and more aptly their playing time. We’ve already seen this with Colby Rasmus essentially being benched in favor of the platoon of Kevin Pillar and Anthony Gose, and with Dalton Pompey also on the roster likely going to see at least a few starts this month. We also witnessed a few occasions where the Blue Jays opted to veer away from Casey Janssen in favor of either Brett Cecil or Aaron Sanchez.
Hurt feelings aside, the Blue Jays face the fact that neither Colby Rasmus nor Casey Janssen are going to return to Toronto next season. That makes the decision to move forward 100% the right decision.
Rasmus, despite his struggles this season, will command a multi-year deal greater than the Blue Jays would be willing to give him. Toronto has witnessed the 28-year-old center fielder put up a disappointing .234/.295/.430 slash-line while posting a nearly 4:1 K/BB ratio. His lack of improvement at the dish has undoubtedly frustrated the Blue Jays and truth be told, Rasmus wears it on his face that he isn’t necessarily a happy camper in Toronto either. The Blue Jays would rather use that money to help retain Melky Cabrera.
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The choice to bypass Janssen is a bit different. By all accounts, the Jays love Janssen. However, his second half struggles, where he’s posted a 7.47 ERA and hitters have slashed .323/.371/.971 against him in 18 appearances, have been hard to ignore. Additionally, it was mentioned last week that Janssen may use his impending free agency to get closer to his California home.
That said, Sanchez’s future, unless something goes drastically wrong, doesn’t lie in the bullpen. However the experience of pitching in those situations in priceless for a young pitcher, giving him the exposure to Major League hitters as the season winds down. Likewise, getting Cecil, Aaron Loup, or others into save situations more often in the final month will serve as an audition for next season.
There comes a time where every team has to start making the difficult decisions of whether to move forward or to stand still. It was readily apparent that the status quo just wasn’t working anymore. A shot of youth is exactly what the doctor ordered to cure the malaise of September, both for the Blue Jays and their fans.