It is fair to say that this season has not been one to write home about for the Toronto Blue Jays. The team who won back-to-back World Series titles in the early 1990s are set to have one of the five worst seasons in franchise history based on games lost and that probably won’t come as a surprise to their fans. This team is noteworthy for being a young group but there have been few teams to have mustered a worse record than the one GM Ross Atkins has put together.
There have been a number of commentators in recent weeks suggesting that this is the worst Blue Jays team in franchise history and, although they are wrong, they are not far wrong. They have been saved by a decent performance in July and August which saw them stave off the inevitable post-season elimination until early September.
The fact that it took so long is probably more of a surprise to fans than the fact that it has happened at all. The Blue Jays are going through a rebuild and have been trading assets whenever they get the chance. Kendrys Morales, Kevin Pillar, Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez have all been shipped this season and the priority now lies in getting the young team prepared for the challenges ahead.
The Atlanta Braves, a side that are +600 to win the World Series in the outright MLB odds on bet365, made light work of Toronto in the recent encounter at the start of September. They won the first game in the double-header 6-3 before notching the second game up at 7-2. The markets clearly like the Braves and this is a team that the Blue Jays need to be aspiring to emulate.
Speaking about the plans for the group in the coming months, President of Baseball operations Mark Shapiro was clear about what should be expected from the young roster.
“The next step is to move from competing to winning,” Shapiro said during an appearance on Baseball Central on Sportsnet 590.
“We’ve got young players and when you transition young players all at once – which you ideally don’t want to do but circumstance has us doing that – you’re going to have some challenges.”
The lack of experienced veterans has been an issue right through the 2019 season but Shapiro thinks this has given the front office a chance to see what their young players are made of.
“Young players need to be surrounded with players who are in their prime and veteran players who can kind of help them balance, but we’re moving towards that and right now we are learning about our young players.”
Fans will be encouraged by his positivity regarding the future. It is hard to see the light sometimes when a team is going through a poor season but Shapiro is clear about how he sees the future. It will be another season of looking in on the post-season rather than being involved in it for the Blue Jays but with a bit of patience and a little faith, the good times should not be as far away as some people think.