There's Always Next Year: Toronto Blue Jays Part 1

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Well, there’s always next year. That’s what many Toronto Blue Jays fans were saying Sunday as the team finished out the season by losing 1-0 to the Baltimore Orioles. The loss officially closed out an up-and-down year, during which the Jays’ playoff hopes were ultimately dashed a few weeks ago when the Jays lost seven of eight games against the O’s and Yankees. Once again there will be no postseason in Toronto, and that makes 21 seasons now without October ball for Toronto. With the Royals making it this season, the Jays now hold the longest postseason drought not just in Major League Baseball, but in all major North American professional sports.

This season was a roller coaster for the Blue Jays. On June 6th the Jays were 38-24 with a 6.0 game lead over the Yankees and a 6.5 lead over the now division-winning Orioles in the AL East. They even had a winning road record and were losing more at home then on the road. Slowly, the Blue Jays started to falter and ultimately lost the division and never got it back from the O’s. Of course, they still had a chance to take a wildcard spot, but they somehow managed to have a terrible month in July and only woke up in the middle of August. The Jays still had a shot in September, but they faltered against the O’s and Yanks, and the three game winning streak against the Seattle Mariners was too little, too late. This season had all the markings of being the Jays’ year, and they let their shot at the playoffs slip away.

This Blue Jays team had so many flaws this year; they were streaky at best, losing way too many critical games. Their fielding wasn’t what it could have been, their bench failed to provide the necessary boost, and the bullpen was disastrous and lost many games that the team should have won.

So, with whom does the blame lie? Is it the coach, the GM, the players, or the ownership? The truth is that each and every one of them are at fault in some way.

John Gibbons is not a great manager. I have made that clear in the past and he made more awful decisions this year which did factor in some of the games lost. His benching of Colby Rasmus in September when they still had a chance; he brought more power to the plate than Kevin Pillar and Anthony Gose combined, and could have made a bigger difference in the long run. And game after game Gibbons would pull a pitcher too early. Rehiring John Gibbons was a bad idea, but this season wasn’t just his fault.

The GM, Alex Anthopoulos, the guy who made one pretty good signing in Dioner Navarro was a great addition to the team, but I will get back to that later. The fact is AA didn’t get the pitcher the rotation needed although you can’t blame the starters this season they were all great, but he didn’t upgrade the team in anyway at the deadline and it was a disaster. It had a negative effect on the team for weeks and the players had been begging at that point for someone, he would add John Mayberry in August, but it was almost to late at that point for a positive impact. He has made the same promise after Sundays game about how he will upgrade the team, but personally don’t get excited until something is done.

The ownership is another factor, they are making money with this team, they once again had more than two million people show up to see the Jays play and yet they wouldn’t budge with their money to make this team a contender, I’m pretty sure if they had help and won the division somehow all that post season revenue would have made up for some money lost on the extra moves made. If this ownership wants to prove they care about this team and want them to win, they need to put their money where their mouth is and do it, because at one point or another attendance will drop again and maybe this time they won’t come back.

Last, but not least the players, the fielding was bad that’s no lie, they would get cold at the worst times possible and what really bugged me was they almost seemed like they gave up after the trade deadline for a bit. As professional athlete that’s pathetic when a team gives up, and yes it sucks that no trades were made, AA blew it that way, but you try as hard as you can even if there is nothing help coming. Of course there is no proof that this team gave up on some games, but the way they played for a bit after the deadline says they may have had their minds elsewhere.

Everyone had their reasons for failing this year its hard to pick one person to blame, but trust me in this case they lost it as a collective group. This team also couldn’t win on the road when it mattered and had a losing road record this season, not so fun fact the Jays haven’t had a winning record on the road since 2003 that’s a big eye opener. However the stat that opens my eyes the most is that the Toronto Blue Jays in 2014 had five pitchers win 10 or more wins, in fact they all have 11, or more. Now look at all the teams that made the post season in the AL, none of them have 5 pitchers who won 10 or more games, most of them have 4 guys that have on 10 or more. Shouldn’t a team that has five 10 plus game winners be in the post season? Yes a team like that should be in the post season, but once again thank the bullpen on that one and those cold offensive days to be a factor. For those wondering about the NL, out of all the 5 teams in the post season, only the Nationals have five starters with 10 wins or more.

This season was really disappointing, with the Yankees, Rays and Red Sox not being that great this year, the Jays had a huge chance of making the playoffs. They might have a chance next year, but don’t expect the Sox or Yankees to both be terrible again. Once again the Toronto Blue Jays have missed the playoffs and for the twenty-first year in a row we must say there’s always next year.

I understand that there is a lot of negativity that has come out from this season, but I like many of you am disappointed at how this season ended for the Toronto Blue Jays. there were many positive things for this teams future and in my next Blue Jays article we will look at some of the positives that came out for the Blue Jays and how bright Toronto’s future could be.

 

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