What letter grade does the Blue Jays front office deserve for first-half performance?

The Blue Jays sit bottom of the AL East and look likely to sell at the Deadline.
Detroit Tigers v Toronto Blue Jays
Detroit Tigers v Toronto Blue Jays / Mark Blinch/GettyImages

It's fair to say the 2024 Toronto Blue Jays season simply hasn't gone according to plan so far. They have a record of 41-49 heading into the final week before the All-Star Break which is their worst record at this stage of the season since 2019. The front office has received plenty of criticism for the team's underperformance so far, but what grade do they deserve at this point in the season?

In the offseason the front office acquired free agents Justin Turner, Isiah-Kiner-Falefa, Kevin Kiermaier and Yariel Rodriguez. They also exercised the two-year, $21 million option on Chad Green. The brightest spot out of this bunch so far is Kiner-Falefa, who signed for two years and $15million, which is beginning to look like a steal. He leads the team in WAR, has 7 home runs, 33 RBI and a batting average of .292 which is second on the team to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. He's also been outstanding on defence with 11 defensive runs saved good for 5th in the majors. Unfortunately for the Blue Jays, IKF just landed on the injured list with a sprained knee which is set to keep him out of action until August.

Another bright spot has been Yariel Rodriguez, who picked up his first MLB win on Saturday against the Mariners. He has stepped up in Alek Manoah's absence posting a 3.68 ERA in 7 starts with 29 strikeouts. Although he hasn't pitched a full season since 2022, the five-year, $32 million contract has been worth every cent thus far.

On the other hand, the decision to bring back Kevin Kiermaier simply hasn't worked out. In 68 games this season he's batting .187 with 3 home runs, 13 RBI and an OPS of just .522. He's seen his playing time reduced significantly and although he has eight defensive runs saved in center field, it's unlikely the Blue Jays would get a huge return for Kiermaier if they were to ship him at the deadline. Yet, it's possible he could be designated for assignment if his offensive struggles continue.

Sadly, the pitching hasn't been as effective as it has been in recent years. Kevin Gausman and Yusei Kikuchi owe ERAs over 4.00 and the bullpen is ranked 29th in the majors in ERA, (4.80), only the Rockies bullpen is worse. They've lost their three best relievers from 2023, Jordan Romano, Yimi Garcia are currently on the injured list and Tim Mayza was recently released due to his inflated ERA of 8.03. Not to mention, Erik Swanson who is now pitching in Buffalo. Yes, Chad Green and Trevor Richards have been solid yet Ryan Burr, Zach Pop and Nate Pearson haven't been good enough replacements.

Overall, whilst the front office can be praised for the acquisitions of Rodriguez and IKF, bringing back Kiermaier and expecting him to repeat his 2023 antics has simply backfired. The front office didn't expect Mayza to be released or Romano and Garcia to suffer injuries, but they've failed to find suitable replacements. It'll be interesting to see which approach they'll take at the deadline but they still aim to be competitive in 2025.

Overall Grade: D