Blue Jays Rogers Centre- Credit: DaveMe Images

Blue Jays Pass Imaginary Milestone, Needs Clear

The Toronto Blue Jays have played over 50 games and their needs have become rather obvious and specific as they prepare for the Trade Deadline


Featured Images Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase


 


The Toronto Blue Jays entered Sunday’s game with a record of 31-21, putting them in second place in the AL East. Overall, they’ve played below expectations in those 52 games. We have heard many front office folks say that it takes 40-50 games for a team to know what they have. For Ross Atkins & Co, there has been an element of their squad playing poorly in comparison to how they can and should play, so patience is likely the general approach. However, after 50 games, it has become clear that there are specific areas on which they should focus.

 

JFtC’s Bob Ritchie has already highlighted the need for a lefty bullpen arm and he is absolutely correct. Tim Mayza has been an effective piece for the Blue Jays, but his absence has been felt. Thankfully, his elbow doesn’t require any kind of surgery and he should be back soon. We’ve seen Ryan Borucki step in and attempt to fill the role, but he was ineffective and will now ply his trade in Seattle after being DFA’d. Bob narrowed down his list of targets to Amir Garrett, Daniel Norris and Joe Mantiply.

 

Pitching Role — Game-Level
Split W L ERA G SV IP H R ER HR BB SO BF WHIP SO9 SO/W
as Starter 19 9 3.60 52 0 275.1 264 119 110 31 62 260 1140 1.184 8.5 4.19
as Reliever 12 12 4.04 193 21 185.0 161 90 83 23 68 178 778 1.238 8.7 2.62
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/5/2022.

A healthy Mayza could go a long way to improving Toronto’s bullpen. Jordan Romano, Adam Cimber and Jimi Garcia are doing their jobs, but a 3-man bullpen will not get you far. That is especially true if these three are the only ones upon which Charlie Montoyo can rely. We’ve already seen Romano face 85 batters in the just over two months. How much longer can he continue to be called upon this often before his arm falls off? It says here that the Blue Jays need to add at least one more top tier reliever and the quicker they do so, the better. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a lefty, but they need to add.

Another area of need continues to be the addition of a left handed hitter. Maybe Cavan Biggio can be that guy, if he can find his old form. But, if your goal is a championship, the sit and wait approach is a risky move. Perhaps, supporting the patient approach, there is also the idea that a baseball team doesn’t necessarily need to have batters from specific sides of the plate. Good hitters are good hitters. Perhaps the offensive struggles of the good hitters Toronto has is causing the belief that a lefty is needed. But, consider the following: the Blue Jays are hitting .243/ .311/ .414 against right handed pitching. That might not seem so bad, but when you look at how left handed hitters are hitting against righties, the need becomes more obvious. Their line against righties is .206/ .279/ .326. Could a Josh Bell help with this? Being a 1B/DH makes him a less than ideal choice. Or maybe Andrew Benintendi is a good idea.

 

What has become obvious is that the Blue Jays cannot rely on Raimel Tapia and Bradley Zimmer to round out their outfield core. They both have been exposed in the longer stints this season. They are very good late game defensive replacements, or a day here and there, but if Toronto is going to cover for injuries and/or using the DH spot to give days off to George Springer et al, they will need replacement options that are closer to everyday players than Tapia or Zimmer. So, it would behoove Atkins to consider an upgrade of his outfield bench pieces.

 

Depending on the extent of Hyun Jin Ryu‘s arm issues, the need for a starting pitcher could very well come to the forefront. Though, if Ryu is out for a short(er) stint, Toronto will likely be OK with using Trent Thornton and others like him to cover the innings as opposed to trying to find an effective starter on the trade market. So, while it may seem like the rotation could use some help, it is not as dire…at least right now.

 

The belief that a team needs 40-50 games to really show what they are may or may not be accurate. However, over the first 52 games of the season, we have seen what this team could be. With their regulars living up to their abilities, all this team needs is a couple well focused additions and they will be in good shape to live up to the lofty expectations with which they started the year. And, the sooner they do this, the better.

 

 

 

 

*Featured Images Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.

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Shaun Doyle

Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.