2) Health– The Blue Jays will be getting their lead off hitter back soon. Many will question the glove and range of Jose Reyes as he advances in years. But, what he brings to the table offensively cannot be easily replaced. We’ve seen that first hand. Instead of Reyes, we’ve watched the likes of Ryan Goins get at bats. Without offending Goins, he’s not the type of player that should be getting this many regular at bats. Thankfully, that will change with the injection of Reyes after he gets some game action at AAA.
Jose Bautista looks to be starting his throwing again. This may not seem like a big deal, but the ripple effect it has on this team is going to give a boost on par with picking up an extra bat. Think about it. With Bautista moving back to the outfield (a time line hasn’t been determined, mind you), the lineup gains more flexibility. Justin Smoak will be given more at bats. In fact, there will be more rest for Edwin Encarnacion with Bautista leaving the DH spot. That will benefit EE. As well, it provides more flexibility for the use of guys like Danny Valencia. Right now, John Gibbons has very few lineup options to run out there. A full, healthy squad will help.
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In the run of a season, there will be plenty of injuries to contend with. Every team goes through these issues. The Blue Jays are no exception. But, if they can put all of this behind them early, they’ll be primed for a strong run with lots of baseball ahead of them.
3) IT’S EARLY! Yes, I know that this term gets thrown around too often. But, it is true. Regardless of their record, the Blue Jays sit just 4.5 games out of first place. It is only the back side of May. There are still over 4 months of baseball left to play. Just as easily as they’ve slipped to last place in this division, it could go the other way. Given the things mentioned above, this club is perfectly capable of running off a few weeks of winning baseball and climb the standings.
Let’s remember that the American League East is a mess. The first place Yankees are only 3 games above .500. And, can we really say that any of these teams looks primed to run away with the division? 4.5 games out in May is not the end of the world, or the season. Again, I appreciate that the way things have gone so far, it is difficult to see this team gaining ground. But, as frustrating as it is watching them spin their tires, things could be much worse. They are within striking distance of a playoff spot with lots of time remaining.
You can call me a homer, if you like. I’m OK with that. These days, it seems like there is nothing but negativity to write/talk about. I choose to believe that this team is not as bad as our frustrations would indicate. They are not going to win 100 games. Even if they did, that means they’d lose 62 times. The good news is that they do not need to win 100 games. And, I haven’t even touched on the individual performances that on any given night make this team exciting to watch.
All is not lost. The Toronto Blue Jays are a good team that will not play to the level with which they started the 2015 season. You can bet on that.