Blue Jays Morning Brew: Is This Team For Real?


Welcome to today’s Blue Jays Morning Brew. Today we look at whether or not this Toronto Blue Jays team is for real. Are they legit? Do they have enough to really contend? Or, has this current level of play just been luck? If they are good enough to contend, what is going to need to be done to be playoff material?

Richard Griffin gives us a good old fashioned reality check as Blue Jays fans have been getting caught up in the recent winning streak and possibly dreaming of October baseball. Before we start planning the parade route in Toronto, Griffin reminds us that the playoffs are not guaranteed. Remember back in 2013 when this club won 11 in a row and bottomed out the rest of the way? That was supposed to be the year the “Miami deal” and the “Dickey Deal” led us to glory. It did not.

While this Debbie Downer reminder kills the buzz, Griffin also points out that this year’s club is certainly different than the club that sent out a rotation that included Chien-Ming Wang. While some of the lineup remains the same, this year’s edition also features early MVP candidate, Josh Donaldson as well as Canadian boy, Russell Martin.  The feeling is different with this group of players. So says John Gibbons. Griffin points out that even in 2013, no one really believed such a streak was possible. This year, we believe. 

Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto Blue Jays /

Toronto Blue Jays

In order to really compete for a playoff spot, the Blue Jays are going to have to do something before the July 31st Trade Deadline, likely to improve their rotation. Christina Kahrl of ESPN says that they should strike now.  Kahrl examines the latest winning streak and uses it to point out that their is a glaring need for improvement with this team. The winning streak has come against the Marlins and the struggling Red Sox. Kahrl asks a valid question: What happens when this Blue Jays squad faces a more challenging assignment?

Through their streak, the biggest challenge came via Max Scherzer who they beat and is no slouch. But after that, the level of competition (according to Kahrl dropped off. In order to compete, they’re going to need to do more. She points out that Alex Anthopoulos has done a good job of building his roster with pieces like Danny Valencia and Justin Smoak, who are not starters elsewhere, but great compliment pieces in Toronto. But, the rotation hasn’t been as good. And, Aaron Sanchez is heading for a (hopefully brief) DL stint. The time might be now to grab some help. But, as Kahrl asks, what is AA comfortable parting with?

If you doubt (not sure why you would) that the Blue Jays need pitching help, here’s some interesting evidence for you to consider. Jesse Spector of Sporting News says that the pitching situation in Toronto dictates that this club will not make the post season. Given the Blue Jays’ high run differential, you would think that they would be much better in the W/L column. But, Spector brings up good points about the team’s performance in certain types of games. For example, in blow out games, the Blue Jays are 15-4 as of Monday afternoon. 

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Their run differential has a lot to do with their potent offense. In these games, the run differential is +73. In all other games, they are -2. Add to that the fact that they are -6 in one run games, you get a very unbalanced squad. When they score a ton of runs, they win. When the games are closer, they don’t. Spector blames the pitching. He goes in to much more depth, but the one fact he points out sums it all up. The Blue Jays have the same ERA as the Phillies. ‘Nuff said.

Sticking with Sporting News, Ryan Fagan says the Blue Jays are actually the best team in the AL East. While that is not exactly saying much, Fagan says that they are the team to win the division. He cites the offensive juggernaut that is this lineup as the reason they’ll win. And, while many above have heaped doubt on the pitching staff, Fagan says that the offense is string enough to allow for a lesser staff. That may not exactly be comforting to Blue Jays fans, he does have a point. In the past, when a Blue Jays starter gave up 4 or 5 runs, it seemed insurmountable. That is not the case this season. It’s a good point, but it is probably better not to let AA read this. Let him operate under the belief he needs pitching help.

Jeff Sullivan of also thinks this team is good enough to contend with the offense it has. They’re good enough as is, he says. He points out that if the club were to actually land the package of Aroldis Chapman and Johnny Cueto form the Reds, this very well could be the dominant team that could go even further. He doesn’t get into what it would take to land such a package. But, Sullivan does say that they’re getting by with this offense and OK pitching. Imagine what would happen with good pitching.


The Blue Jays are going to need a lot of help if they are going to be voted into this year’s All Star game. Josh Donaldson is on pace for an MVP season. Let’s help him, Russell Martin, Jose Bautista and the boys out. VOTE HERE.

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