It’s abundantly clear, this is not working for the Blue Jays

It’s presumptuous to write off a team not even halfway through a major league season, but after 74 games, it’s become abundantly clear — this is not working for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Their latest uninspired performance, a 7-3 loss to the Red Sox, capped off a series sweep where the Blue Jays went a combined 4-for-32 with runners in scoring position and stranded 24 men on base in three games against the Red Sox.

But it’s not just a blip on the radar, it’s a microcosm for the Blue Jays’ season: decent starting pitching, a complete lack of offense, and a leaky bullpen. And despite their attempts to shake things up, nothing seems to work.

It’s like the Blue Jays went to therapy, got a new job, have their own place now, and started living a cleaner life, but they’re still the same damn narcissist inside. That’s in their DNA, and that won’t change, at least not anytime soon.

This isn’t the 2022 or 2023 seasons where a careful lineup reconfiguration for a player like Bo Bichette or George Springer would re-ignite their potential and shift them back into the superstar players everybody expects them to be. With several players on this roster, it feels like this is all they’ve got, and it’s not getting better.

Springer, Justin Turner, Kevin Kiermaier and Alejandro Kirk all have career lows in slugging percentage and extra-base hit percentage this season. In a season where the Blue Jays needed at least two of their big hitters to bounce back, everyone save for Daulton Varsho has taken a step backward.

Despite John Schneider’s adamant reinforcement that Springer is still an everyday player, it feels like the beginning of the end of Springer’s tenure in Toronto. Especially if someone like Addison Barger surpasses Springer’s production, the Jays may have a difficult decision to make about their veteran outfielder sooner rather than later.

Vladdy is having an okay season at the plate, but he’s on pace to hit 15 home runs this season. If you’re looking for a comp, Guerrero might match the output of DJ LeMahieu’s home run total from last year. At least Springer hit 21 home runs last year, but Vladdy might not even reach that threshold this season.

It’s frightening when your franchise “guy,” all of only 25 years old, has turned into the world’s best hard-hit singles hitter in the game. Guerrero’s extra-base hit percentage is down to 6% this year, a career low, which is a common tale among many Blue Jays hitters.

The analytics department can spit out whatever numbers they want to optimize the lineup, but at some point, it’s a personnel problem, and it’s the best output this roster is going to provide. The potential of this lineup is playoff calibre, but after nine consecutive months of a lacklustre lineup, this core of players has shown who they are.

Just think about how many configurations the coaching staff and front office have attempted this season to spark the lineup. They booted Springer out of the leadoff spot, they moved Bichette down in the lineup, Davis Schneider was plugged into the leadoff spot, Danny Jansen bumped up to hitting second, and now Spencer Horwitz is hitting leadoff.

Did we mention that in a feeble attempt to maximize the offensive output, the Blue Jays moved Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to third base for a game to get both Daniel Vogelbach and Justin Turner into the lineup? That may have been the most desperate sign of all that the Blue Jays will try anything.

Whatever transactions happen from here on out feels like rearranging deck chairs. The Blue Jays can fiddle with the lineup configurations all they want. This is a problem that’s much bigger than any lineup card shakeup can fix.

It says a lot when a veteran like Kevin Gausman, who spoke his mind to the media last week, said the quiet part out loud when it comes to the lack of production from the hitters this season. And that can’t be a good feeling for the starting pitchers who feel like they have to walk the tightrope every five days.

This is not a fait accompli on the Blue Jays’ chance this season, but through 74 games, they’ve shown who they are. When it comes to the starting lineup, this is the same team that didn’t have enough firepower last year, and then they doubled down on defence again last offseason and didn’t properly address the lack of offense.

We’ve reached the point in the season where this team will live or die by the Buffalo boys: Schneider, Horwitz, Clement, Barger and maybe Orelvis Martinez. At least their ceiling has some room to grow, whereas, with many veterans on this Blue Jays team, their ceiling is shrinking by the day.

While it’s a great organizational success to see many of these players in the big leagues and thriving, it says a lot when the team is relying on their org guys to get the job done, not their high-paid veterans or superstar players to deliver.

By the grace of the third Wild Card spot, the Blue Jays are still on the periphery of contention, but if things continue on this path, we should know by the All-Star break what route the Blue Jays will take the rest of the season.

Go to Source
Title: It’s abundantly clear, this is not working for the Blue Jays
Author: Ian Hunter

You May Also Like