Lack of Blue Jays representation in Hank Aaron Award voting sends grim message

What does it mean when no Blue Jays were nominated as finalists for the Hank Aaron Award?
Boston Red Sox v Toronto Blue Jays
Boston Red Sox v Toronto Blue Jays / Vaughn Ridley/GettyImages

The Toronto Blue Jays have been highly noted for their struggle with offence throughout the 2023 season. In one way or another, it had certainly affected the team with regards to their overall success. In particular, it played a huge role during the playoffs, leading ultimately to their early exit from the postseason. But apparently, their struggles have now affected another item of significance.

In the recent release of the nominees for the annual Hank Aaron Award handed out by MLB, the Blue Jays surprisingly find themselves completely absent from the list of finalists.

Every season since 1999, MLB has handed out the Hank Aaron Award in recognition of the best overall offensive performers in both the American League and National League. The chosen winners are determined by a panel of Hall of Famers, along with a collection of fan votes, which is currently done online. This year’s fan voting has already started and can be found here, with the voting set to close this Friday, October 13th at 11:59:59 PM ET.

The Jays have won the award in multiple occasions in the past, with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. being the most recent recipient with his MVP-caliber season in 2021. Previous Jays winners also include Josh Donaldson (2015), José Bautista (2010, 2011), and Carlos Delgado (2000). Even in the seasons in which they did not win the award, very often they had good representation among the nominated list of finalists.

However, for 2023, not a single current member of the Blue Jays squad made the cut. Considering that their lineup consisted of big guns capable of producing solid offensive numbers in Guerrero, Bo Bichette, George Springer, and Matt Chapman, one would figure at least one of them would make it into the final list of candidates. The fact that the league failed to recognize any of the current Blue Jays as strong offensive contributors this year is a troubling indication of what the team’s current state is with regards to their offensive output and run production overall.

As a result, their main goal for this upcoming offseason should be to focus on addressing their offensive needs. Otherwise, there could potentially be a grim outlook on the future of the team, as forget about trying to win any offensive performance awards, they could even end up having trouble trying to win baseball games if their issues aren’t resolved.