Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays: Trying to tactfully sum up the first half of the 2018 season

TORONTO, ON - MAY 23: Josh Donaldson #20 of the Toronto Blue Jays reacts after being called out on strikes in the third inning during MLB game action against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Rogers Centre on May 23, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - MAY 23: Josh Donaldson #20 of the Toronto Blue Jays reacts after being called out on strikes in the third inning during MLB game action against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Rogers Centre on May 23, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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BOSTON, MA – JULY 14: Lourdes Gurriel Jr. #13 of the Toronto Blue Jays is checked out by the trainer after colliding with Eduardo Rodriguez #57 of the Boston Red Sox in the bottom of the sixth inning of the game at Fenway Park on July 14, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA – JULY 14: Lourdes Gurriel Jr. #13 of the Toronto Blue Jays is checked out by the trainer after colliding with Eduardo Rodriguez #57 of the Boston Red Sox in the bottom of the sixth inning of the game at Fenway Park on July 14, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images) /

The Negative

This section will be understandably longer, and I’ll break it up into a few more specific parts. I could likely write a novel here, but I’ll try to do a neat little summary of what’s gone wrong for the Blue Jays in the first half of 2018.

Injuries

Let’s start with the biggest blow the team has dealt with this year, missing their best player for all but 36 games thus far. Josh Donaldson has been the undisputed best hitter in Toronto for a few seasons now, as long as he’s been healthy. Unfortunately I don’t think we’ve seen a healthy version of the “Bringer of Rain” yet this season, which has not only hurt the team’s ability to win games, but has also devastated his value on the trade market.

There are many, many others to include on the list, and I’m not going to cover everything that’s happened throughout the organization. However, if we’re talking about the rotation, Happ is the only member to have been healthy this year. Marcus Stroman missed significant time after badly struggling, and Aaron Sanchez is still on the DL with a confusing “finger contusion” injury. Those two were expected to anchor the rotation along with Happ, but haven’t been healthy, or consistently effective. We’ve also watched both Marco Estrada and Jaime Garcia land on the DL as well, leading to the opportunities for guys like Borucki and Gaviglio.

Back to the offensive side, they have been without Troy Tulowitzki for the entire season, and fellow shorstop Aledmys Diaz suffered an ankle injury and missed a good chunk of time. Lourdes Gurriel Jr.also finds himself on the DL at the moment with potential concussion issues, so shortstops haven’t fared terribly well this year in the health department.

In the outfield, Kevin Pillar landed on the DL for 4-6 weeks when he got injured diving for a ball a few days ago. He’s been the healthy one this year, as we watched Steve Pearce spend quite a bit of time on the sidelines before he was traded, and also missed quite a bit of time without Randal Grichuk, who was also injured while diving for a ball.

That’s not an exhaustive list, but it’s already a pretty good list of reasons why the team hasn’t operated at the top of their game. That can never be used as an excuse, but the reality is they’ve missed a lot of games from their best players, and that’s difficult to overcome.

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