Oh for the merry old days of May, when life was good, summer was coming, and the Jays were kings.
Those were the days when our band of ballplayers could do no wrong. Edwin Encarnacion was hitting every pitch out of the ballpark. Jose Bautista was reaching base three times a game. Juan Francisco was useful. Even Liam Hendricks was winning.
Those days feel like so long ago.
It’s funny that back then the main question on the lips of fans was “will we have home field advantage in the playoffs?”
Now the main question has reverted to “can this season, that once looked so promising, be salvaged?”
On the surface, the answer is likely no. Coming into the season the Blue Jays five best hitters were Bautista, Encarnacion, Reyes, Lind, and Lawrie. Right now three of them are on the DL for at least the rest of July, and the other two are playing hurt. The rotation is wildly inconsistent and the bullpen has been pretty consistently terrible. Toronto’s most reliable hitter over the past few weeks has been Munenori Kawasaki.
That is not a good thing.
But there is still hope, and here’s why:
1. They will make a trade. I mean, they have to make a trade don’t they? There are superstars out there who could be had in a blockbuster deal, guys like David Price or Troy Tulowitzki or Chase Utley or Starlin Castro or Cliff Lee. But there are also useful major league players who wouldn’t cost as much. Sure the impact wouldn’t be as dramatic, but a guy like Daniel Murphy would be an upgrade to the roster. Even a player like Gordon Beckham – seemingly down and out for years – would be a better addition to the lineup than Ryan Goins. There is no way that Alex Anthopoulos can sit by and idly watch the team that he worked so hard to improve last year, finally succeed, only to crumble in front of his eyes. There is just no way – is there?
2. There’s no denying that the Blue Jays have been one of the worst teams in baseball over the past three weeks. But as of right now they are still 3 games over .500 and only 2.5 games out of first place in the AL East. That alone is why this season can still be saved. The AL East is not only down in 2014 – it is historically down. The way things are going now, there is a good chance that 85 wins may take the division.
Seriously – Baltimore is hot now but has run up-and-down all year long. Boston looks lost. Tampa Bay is making a move, but dug themselves such a huge hole that they are still miles below .500. And the Yankees are extremely banged up, with 4/5 of their rotation out (Pineda, Sabathia, Nova, Tanaka), and Beltran and McCann looking like busts.
The division is winnable. The players will get healthy. And I still believe that a trade is on the way.
We can still do this.