Just like that, the Blue Jays season ended with a whimper, and they’re out of the playoffs. While many pundits will point to the analytics-driven decision to remove $131 million starter José Berríos from the game in the top of the 4th inning after only 47 pitches, the Wild Card exit was a microcosm of all that ailed Toronto this season: baserunning blunders, only one run on a combined 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position, an inability to hit elite pitching, and lack of attention to detail.
For a season that started with so much promise - preseason predictions of postseason success, a top ten payroll, and the 30th anniversary of the 1993 World Series champs, Blue Jays fans had high expectations for 2023. Those hopes were dashed, with the Minnesota Twins sweeping Toronto 2-0 in the ALWC, and extending the Blue Jays postseason losing streak to seven games.
After another early exit from the postseason, its time for the Blue Jays ownership to change the direction of this franchise. The Jays are 0-6 in Wild Card games since the current competitive window with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette opened in 2020; they cannot squander the final two years with that core under team control.
In the interest of continuity, it’s time to promote current Blue Jays Vice President of Baseball Strategy (and former Houston Astros General Manager) James Click to GM, and quickly. Too many important decisions need to be made early this offseason to wait.
Current GM Ross Atkins hasn’t built a successful World Series contender in Toronto. All he’s built are pretenders. As hard as it is to admit, the 2023 Jays had a flawed and mediocre offence: they ranked 16th in baseball on home runs and RBI, 14th on runs scored, and 11th on OPS.
Their regular season run differential of +75 was the lowest of any AL postseason team, only better than Arizona of the 12 MLB playoff teams. Which should also lead to offseason questions about hitting coaches Guillermo Martinez and Hunter Mense, as well as hitting strategist Dave Hudgens.
They had the 4th most grounded into double plays (GIDP) and the 4th least sacrifice flies; and, after a season where they ranked 12th with a .260 batting average and 20th in terms of OPS at .730 with runners in scoring position, they didn’t hit when it counted most in the postseason, going 2-for-9 with RISP in game one, and 1-for-5 in game two, only scoring one run in the two losses.