Within a short span, the Toronto Blue Jays will be getting a huge haul of reinforcements to help out with their recently struggling lineup in their quest for a postseason berth this year. These won’t be just any ordinary reinforcements, as we are talking about the returns of Bo Bichette, Kevin Kiermaier, Trevor Richards, and Chad Green to the Jays everyday lineup to be exact. As a matter of fact, each and every one of them could potentially be difference makers for the ballclub down the stretch.
But will this be enough to propel the Blue Jays into a playoff spot by season’s end?
The Jays have been desperately missing the offensive punch that a superstar like Bichette provides to the ballclub. Ever since his injury back on July 31st, the Jays have averaged only 4.2 runs a game, and in particular in their recent nine-game stretch, down to 3.3 runs a game. Prior to Bichette’s injury, the Jays actually averaged over 4.5 runs a game with Bichette in the lineup. For the season, he has posted a .321 batting average, with an .847 OPS, 134 OPS+, 25 doubles, 17 home runs, 59 RBI and remains ranked among the team's top 3 in each category despite missing playing time.
In addition, the return of Kiermaier will allow the Jays to field once again one of the best defensive outfields in all of baseball, along with providing some added speed and production once again to the bottom of the lineup. For 2023, he has hit a solid .274 with an OPS of .750, 41 runs scored, 13 doubles, five triples, five home runs, 27 RBI, 11 stolen bases, along with a .985 fielding percentage and 13 DRS. The key part now is the Jays certainly hope Kiermaier can stay healthy for the rest of the season so that they have the best chance at winning.
Richards has been one of the Jays most trusted arms this season, especially in recent months prior to his injury. He has certainly performed well in whatever role he was asked to do, whether he was called upon to be an opener, for long middle innings relief, or in late innings to help setup or close off ballgames. This season, Richards has compiled impressive stats across the board, with a 2.98 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, giving up only 18 earned runs with 23 walks and an astounding 83 strikeouts in just 54.1 innings of work. His multi-role flexibility will sure come in handy in the final few weeks of the season when all hands are on deck to make sure the Jays secure important victories.
In the case for Green, there was a reason why the Jays invested in him despite knowing prior to the start of this season that he will be out for the most part due to Tommy John surgery. They knew that when he returns, he could potentially become one of the top dominant arms in their bullpen if he manages to regain his form prior to his injury. In his career, Green boasts a 33-22 winning record, along with a 3.17 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, with a whopping 494 strikeouts in just 383.2 innings pitched. In addition, his breadth of postseason experience dating back to when he was with the New York Yankees should play well for the ballclub as they head towards that destination.
So if everything goes to plan and all of them perform to expectations and beyond, there is no doubt that by adding back four star players to the Jays roster within a short time interval, it should provide the necessary boost to the ballclub down the stretch. In a way if you think carefully about it, it kind of works out to be equivalent to a huge deadline blockbuster trade in getting these four impact players suddenly back to help the team in the playoff chase. Nevertheless, it would also be nice if the rest of the Jays can step it up a little, especially from the offensive side of things, to complement these four key cogs to make sure they do make it in the end.