After being traded to the Houston Astros before the trade deadline, Roberto Osuna will make his return to the Rogers Centre on Monday. What kind of reception should we expect from the fans?
The Blue Jays have just six games remaining in their 2018 season, with their final home series starting later tonight against the Houston Astros, followed by a three game set at the vaunted Tropicana Field with the Rays.
As things are winding down for the Blue Jays this year, there are still a few storylines to follow, even for a team with just 71 wins. How does the John Gibbons situation resolve/who will be the new manager in 2019? Which minor leaguers will stick at the big league level next year? How many more veterans will be traded this winter?
The answer to those questions are all down the line for the Blue Jays, even if they’re coming up relatively quickly. However, there is one storyline that will be right in front of our faces this week as Roberto Osuna returns to the Rogers Centre for the first time since being traded to Houston in July.
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There was a time in the recent past that Osuna was one of the most popular players in Toronto, and one of the most important building blocks to a competitive future. Still just 23 years old and having become the youngest closer with 100 saves in MLB history, there was plenty of reason to think the Mexican flame-thrower could be a part of the immediate future, as well as the long term plans for the Blue Jays.
That was, of course, before May of this year, when everything changed.
Without completely re-hashing the whole thing, Osuna was arrested back in May due to allegations of domestic abuse. He was placed on administrative leave by the MLB office and was never seen in a Blue Jays uniform again, as he was traded a few days before his suspension was set to expire. Even though he was technically still a Blue Jay for almost three more months, the whole thing felt like it happened very quickly.
It’s been a polarizing issue for Blue Jays fans, and will likely remain that way at least until after his court case has been settled. Despite the fact that it’s no longer immediately relevant to the Blue Jays’ concerns, Osuna’s legal battle is still ongoing, and there is a section of the fan base that feels that Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins acted too hastily in jettisoning him out of town. On the other hand, there is another big group of voices that feel the Blue Jays made the correct, and only decision they could have by trading him.
That mixed sentiment will be an intriguing storyline this week as Osuna comes back to Toronto, and even more so if he is used in a game against his old team. The Astros have a 4.5 game lead over the Oakland A’s, so barring an epic collapse this week they should take the division title.
With that in mind, they may elect to rest Osuna in preparation for the playoffs, or maybe to avoid the drama of having him appear on the Rogers Centre mound again this year. There’s also the issue that his court case has been shuffled again, with things scheduled to pick up again on the 25th. The two teams square off that evening as well, which makes the idea of putting him on the mound seem even more unlikely.
Regardless of whether he actually competes directly against the Blue Jays, unfortunately fans will be reminded of the disappointing circumstances around his exit from Toronto. That could lead to boos, or maybe some mixed cheers, but I’m hoping that the overwhelming feeling will be indifference.
That’s about all the energy I have left to give to the whole thing.