Scuffling Blue Jays hold players-only meeting after tough series loss to Rays
By Eric Treuden
You likely do not need me to tell you this, but the Toronto Blue Jays are having a hard time right now. Nothing seems to be going right for a team that entered the 2023 season with sky-high hopes and expectations.
The Tampa Bay Rays have been the very best team in baseball all year long, and they showed why in the latest four-game set against the Blue Jays. Minus the huge 20-1 blowout victory by the Jays on Tuesday, things did not look great. Here is how the club has looked in the past three series they've played, all against AL East opponents.
- Lose three out of four to the Yankees.
- Swept in a three-game series by the Orioles.
- Lose three out of four to the Rays.
After Thursday's loss, Blue Jays players held a players-only meeting to discuss what has got this team in a funk. While the specifics are not known (and may never be), all we know is that Matt Chapman played an integral part in leading the conversation.
Chapman offered the following to reporters after the game, including Sportsnet's Shi Davidi.
"We’re all grown men here. It’s up to us. We’re the ones on the field. Our coaches can’t hold our hands. We have to go out there and find ways to win games. We have to communicate with each other and help try to make each other better. We are a team and we want to win. If we want to win a division or play in the playoffs, it’s up to us to find ways to get back on track. It’s up to nobody else but us."
Packed with talent from top to bottom on the 26-man active roster, a serious lack of organizational depth seems to be high on the list of things holding this team back right now. Position players like Alejandro Kirk (who finally had a nice offensive game on Thursday), Santiago Espinal and Cavan Biggio have been dreadful; while star-caliber players such as George Springer and Daulton Varsho have been slow to start the year. The fact is, there are little to no reinforcements down on the farm either, so what you see is what you get with this club.
So here we sit, with 51 games under our belt with the 2023 Blue Jays. There doesn't seem to be one specific cause for the disconnect and negative vibes around the clubhouse, but it certainly doesn't stop at the offense. Alek Manoah continues to struggle and look like a shell of the man he once was, while multiple relievers on the staff have become unreliable options as well.
The silver lining here, is that the season is still young. We are, after all, still in the month of May. It hurts to be 10.5 GB of the Rays right now, but the fact of the matter is, there's a possibility that teams like the Rays and Orioles are just performing past their capabilites while the Jays are doing the opposite. We've seen crazier things happen in the past, so do not count the boys out just yet.