It’s hard to believe but the Blue Jays currently stand only 5 games behind the American League East leaders, the New York Yankees. That fact coupled with back-to-back upcoming series’ against division rivals’ the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox, positions the Jays with an opportunity to make some hay and get back into legitimate contention.
With that in mind, how the Jays come out of this week’s crucial home stand could help determine whether the club will be in buying mode, especially as the midseason point is just around the corner.
If the Jays will indeed be buyers, there are potentially plenty of options available. We already know the Marlins are allegedly listening in on young controllable talent like OF’s Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich, but if those players require too much in prospect capital, perhaps the Jays can look to the New York Mets, who according to recent reports are ostensibly putting up major pieces on the trade block.
The players that would be of obvious interest to the Jays would be Jay Bruce and his current tally of 20 homeruns, 52 RBI,.270 average and.882 OPS. For potentially a little more versatility in player profile Curtis Granderson is an option, a cheaper option one would think given his rather mediocre.235 batting average.
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I can’t emphasize enough though how much a Jay Bruce would extend the Jays’ lineup and provide protection to whoever he could be slotted behind. Quite frankly, it makes sense: it’s kind of too late to reinvent this current 2017 version of the Blue Jays: it lives and dies by the long ball. You don’t have to go further than the skipper, who on more than one occasion has acknowledged this fact.
The other big piece that could really help reinforce the Jays is Addison Reed who has been K’ing batters at a steady clip, boasting 39 strikeouts over 38.1 innings while collecting 11 saves, filling in for Mets closer, Jeurys Familia, who has been, and will continue to be, on the disabled list due to surgery on his pitching shoulder to remedy a blood clot.
Addison Reed could provide much needed reinforcements to our late-innings’ arms, especially with the continuing precarious state of the starting corps, and need to keep Joe Biagini and Francisco Liriano in the rotation.
With the Mets 10 games out of their division’s lead, and a completed fractured starting rotation, it doesn’t come as a surprise that they will be sellers.
Whether the Jays will be able to capitalize on the Mets’ misfortune and other teams’ woes, such as the Marlins or even Padres (see: Brad Hand), really comes down to the team’s on-field performance and where they stand at the end of this week and in the weeks after the all-star break.
I would also be remiss not to respond to those of you that believe a “rebuild” is inevitable. There are some serious flaws in that presumption as the likes of Russell Martin and Troy Tulowitzki, for example, would not fetch much on the open market, given their lack-lustre play this year whilst also lugging around heavy contracts – not exactly enticing to other clubs.