Blue Jays: What the Wild Card picture really looks like
Just outside of the playoff picture
Seattle Mariners (1.5 back of the 2nd WC spot)
The Mariners are the first team in this article to sit above .500 (57-56). and are just a game and a half behind the Royals. With a veteran core including the likes of Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz, Kyle Seager, and plenty more, they should be in the playoff picture.
The problem for the Mariners has been health in their rotation. James Paxton has had a breakout year and will likely get some down ballot Cy Young consideration, but the other key members of the rotation have struggled to get on the field for any extended period of time. Drew Smyly is lost for the season to Tommy John surgery, and both Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma are currently on the DL as well.
They have the offence to remain competitive, but they’ll need an improved performance from their rotation outside of Paxton, in order to be serious contenders. Fan Graphs gives them a 20.3% chance of qualifying.
Tampa Bay Rays (0.5 back of the 2nd WC spot)
The Rays always find a way to be competitive, and they’ve been quietly contending all season long. They’ve been in and out of the Wild Card positions throughout the last month or more, and are positioned to be legitimate contenders for one of those two spots.
They did some rare buying prior to the trade deadline, swinging a deal with the Marlins for Adeiny Hechavarria, and with the Mets for Lucas Duda, added some talent on both sides of the ball.
They’ve been bitten by the injury bug like many other teams around the MLB, but they’ve also had career years from the likes of Logan Morrison, Steven Souza, and Corey Dickerson as well, so that doesn’t hurt anything. Fan Graphs gives them a 33.8% chance of making the postseason, and at just a half game behind the Royals, it may not take long for things to swing their way.