Each week, Jays Journal will take a look at the bigger picture of the AL East to help frame not only where the Blue Jays are in the standings, but why they are there. (Standings entering play Tuesday).
Baltimore Orioles: 59-45
Boston Red Sox: 58-46
Toronto Blue Jays: 59-47
New York Yankees: 53-52
Tampa Bay Rays: 42-62
It was an eventful Monday for the Toronto Blue Jays. Despite losing in extras to the Houston Astros on Monday night, the Blue Jays stealthily managed to address their biggest concern for the season.
The Blue Jays struck early in the week swinging recently DFA’d Drew Storen and some cash for Joaquin Benoit of the Mariners. Just moments before the deadline it was announced that the Blue Jays had traded Jesse Chavez for Mike Bolsinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Immediately after it was announced that the Blue Jays had sent a prospect to Houston in exchange for reliever Scott Feldman. This effectively meant the Blue Jays had upgraded the swing man role that they had envisioned for Chavez. This appeared to be it for the Jays.
Yet, nearly 30 minutes after deadline it was announced that the Blue Jays had finalized a deal for Pirates starter Francisco Liriano. The trade saw the Jays saying goodbye to Drew Hutchison, but netted two top prospects in addition to Liriano.
The Blue Jays now appear well positioned for their stretch run. While Liriano has not had his best season, he is teaming up with former battery mate Russell Martin, and their stats together are something to see. Liriano will take the 5th position in the rotation and allow Sanchez to slide into the bullpen, further shoring up Toronto’s weakest link. The Blue Jays look like they avoided further set backs as it is expected that Troy Tulowitzki will miss minimal time to a bone chip in his hand.
While backup outfielder Ezequiel Carrera was placed on the DL, the Blue Jays have Melvin Upton Jr to fill in as back up. While there is no doubt that the Blue Jays rotation has been downgraded by taking Sanchez out if it, he beefs up Toronto’s bullpen quite well.
The Blue Jays did more than just add the pieces they needed, they upgraded their bullpen significantly. Liriano is also not a rental, meaning the Jays seemingly have a replacement for R.A. Dickey as he hits free agency at season’s end. If the Jays can stay healthy, they may just make another playoff run.
Next: O's Shore Up Their Starting Rotation