Blue Jays Still Face Questions Down the Stretch

The Toronto Blue Jays have been on a tear since Troy Tulowitzki joined the team.  On most nights they win, or they lose by a hair, it’s been fantastic baseball to watch for the fans and the baseball world. There is so much going on around this team that instead of focusing on one major topic, we will look at a few things going on right now and with the team’s future. Despite their recent stretch of strong play, the Blue Jays Still Face Questions Down the Stretch.

Marcus Stroman is magic and he will bring the Blue Jays to the promise land! That is the way many fans have been behaving, there is the idea that Stroman will come and shore up the rotation, the problem is there are five spots on the rotation already taken. David Price, Mark Buehrle and RA Dickey are locked in and will not be replaced, while moving Marco Estrada would be a mistake. All that is left is Drew Hutchison and although many fans might think he is expendable, he is not. When he pitches at home, he is one of the best and he went from July 8 to last night without losing a game. If they want Stroman to pitch that is one thing but they should not tinker around with any of the starter’s confidence. If the Blue Jays weren’t in any kind of playoff position, or push the sure play would be to have Stroman as a starter, but it is too risky to mess with a rotation that is working.

The Blue Jays will have to make a decision, to keep David Price, or to not keep David Price, the easy answer is to keep Price and pay him what he wants. The Blue Jays have the potential to flirt with 3 million fans for the first time since 1993. If Rogers wants to make money with this team, they need to spend money on the team. What the Blue Jays need is a top of the line ace that will bring the fans out to watch, just like they did when Roy Halladay was in town. Stroman and Sanchez have the potential to become that guy, but that is in a couple of years. If the Blue Jays want to keep up the post season runs every season, while they have Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki, then they need a way to keep Price. Only time will tell if the Blue Jays try to keep Price, but if they keep him, they will help their team for years to come.

The Blue Jays will have to make some decisions after this season with their sluggers Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. Both players have team options for 2016, Bautista has a 14 million dollar option, while Encarnacion has a 10 million dollar option. They will most likely bring back both players next season as they are top guys in the organization. If the Blue Jays managed to pay Price the big bucks then they might need to scrape off some salaries and moving one of these guys could be an option. The question is which player do you keep, ideally it would be Encarnacion because he’s younger, cheaper and not as injury prone as Bautista. If they move Bautista, they could help restock the farm, or add younger pitchers, or another potential power bat down the line. This is a topic that could be given a bigger look, but that will be down the line in the off-season, it’s just an idea, but at one point we will see one, or both players leave the team and that is inevitable, whether it is through trades, free agency, or retirement.

Last but not least, there is Josh Donaldson. He should be the 2015 AL MVP and he has been one of the driving forces on the Blue Jays this year with their playoff push. Game in and game out he is always playing hard, never taking his foot off the pedal. With 131 games played this season, he currently has 104 R, 157 H, 36 HR, 111 RBI, .961 OPS and a 7.6 WAR. His closest competition will be Mike Trout, but he has been cold as of late and has slowed down in some offensive categories, while Donaldson keeps playing like a man on a mission. The ultimate goal is to make the playoffs and win the World Series, but a cherry on top would be a Donaldson MVP. There is a month of baseball left and if Josh Donaldson keeps playing this way, he should be a unanimous MVP winner this year.

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