3 reasons the Blue Jays still have what it takes to contend, 2 why they do not

With the trade deadline now in the rear-view mirror, we look at three reasons why the Blue Jays are still in contention and a couple of reasons why they will fall by the wayside.
Los Angeles Angels v Toronto Blue Jays
Los Angeles Angels v Toronto Blue Jays / Mark Blinch/GettyImages
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We're just past the two-thirds point of the season and with the trade deadline now out of the way, the Blue Jays essentially now have the roster which will pursue a playoff place. Entering Saturday's slate of games, they hold a 2.5 game advantage for the third and final wild card spot in the AL.

It's a nerve-racking time for everyone concerned with the Blue Jays, with four teams within 5.0 games of them in the standings. Anything could happen over the final two months of the regular season.

This leads to the question of what it will take, for the Blue Jays to secure qualification for the playoffs? Here are three reasons why they will continue to contend, along with two reasons why they won't:

NB - All statistics up to and including August 4.

The bullpen

As the saying goes, nobody is perfect. However, you only have to take one look at the Blue Jays' bullpen, to be convinced it's pretty damn close.

To start off with, we're talking about the likes of Tim Mayza and Erik Swanson. There's also Jay Jackson, whose been lights out this season and has just been activated from the family medical emergency list.

How about Jordan Romano, Trevor Richards and Chad Green? All three are currently on the injured list, but are expected to be fit to return sooner than later. (Admittedly the Blue Jays have to be more cautious with Green, who is working his way back from Tommy John Surgery.)

There's also the recently acquired Jordan Hicks, who was one of the best available relievers on the trade market. Hicks arrived in Toronto not long after his teammate from the Cardinals, Génesis Cabrera, a left-handed pitcher with a lot of raw talent and potential.

There's Yimi Garcia, who while not as lauded as some of his fellow relievers in Toronto, has proved to be a reliable and durable member of the bullpen. And if Nate Pearson can get over his recent blip after an outstanding start to the season, the Blue Jays are set.

Statistically speaking, the Blue Jays bullpen is ranked seventh-best in ERA so far in 2023. They are also tied-sixth in WHIP, 12th in batting average, 11th in strikeouts and third-best in walks.

As much as this collectively sounds good, you know the bullpen is capable of more. Aided by the shot of new blood on the roster and players returning from injuries, this unit should indeed perform even better down the stretch.