world series

Blue Jays Travis, Colabello May Deal With Odd Man Out

The Toronto Blue Jays are trying to get to the post season for the second straight year and with a slightly different makeup, they have had to rely on multiple players to keep them competitive. The pitching rotation has a different look losing stud ace David Price to free agency and Marcus Stroman to athletic limbo. There have been key injuries to Jose Bautista and Troy Tulowitzki and the strange PED suspension of Chris Colabello.

That being said, the depth of the Jays roster has produced some interesting, surprising and somewhat relieving results. The loss of Colabello was a shock and angered many fans and at the same time confused them. Regardless, they had a hole they needed to fill. In 2015, the man with the soft drink likeness batted .321, had an OBP of .367, 54 RBI and 15 dingers. He was a regular fixture and important cog in the Jays machine.

Colabello then was suspended 10 games into this season and thus created a void.

Toronto has used Edwin Encarnacion mainly as a DH and that seems to suit everyone just fine (see David Ortiz). Justin Smoak has proven to be a suitable replacement and moving to base number 2 the emergence of Devon Travis has made the Colabello’s insertion back into the lineup slightly murky and not just because of the suspension.

Travis, thru 151 AB has a .272 AVG, a .315 OBP and 6 HR. He is 2 HR back of his season high last year, slightly off his pace of getting on base and realistically if the Jays continue to trend upwards, so will his average. DT is a young, valuable part of this offense and isn’t a liability at 2B. Adding to all this is the fact Travis has only been a starting fielder for 35 games this year.

Depth late in the season will doubt be key for the Jays and realistically the pitching will be their major concern. Looking at the infield though gives Toronto options at the trade deadline. Do they move Colabello/Travis for a depth starter on the mound? What will Jose Bautista look like by season’s end? What kind of bird food does EE’s parrot eat?

All important questions that need to be answered.

Recently signed Justin Smoak gives the infield a very secure look and triggers the trade rumours that much further when it comes to Cola. The Jays can only use one of these guys at a time and if they aren’t screwing up, its pretty tough to pull a guy like Travis or Smoak out of the lineup.

Looking at Bautista, he’s still an elite talent but the Jays have been relatively fine without him. Sure, they could use his bat and he still has a laser from right field but the maturity up and down the lineup gives the Jays options to move a roster player for a starter they know they need to advance past the regular season and deep into October.

Not having a veteran hurler like David Price may cost Toronto and Marcus Stroman is not even close to his electrifying self from a season ago so using the assets they have will again be important.

The Jays spent big last year to get as far as they did and the clutch Troy Tulowitzki gave them stability around the horn with Josh Donaldson at 3B. Darwin Barney has spent a lot of time in the lineup which just further cements that infield as stocked.

Moving guys to the outfield is basically a conversation ender as Captain Canada, Michael Saunders, isn’t going anywhere, Kevin Pillar is a bear trap and again Jose Bautista is still quite reliable. Not to mention Ezequiel Carrera has faired nicely in Joey Bats absence.

What direction do the Jays go as the season carries on? It seems that Chris Colabello being suspended not only cost him 80 games but it may have cost him his job in Toronto. The moral of the story is don’t do drugs and if you’re gonna do them, make sure no one can take your place.

Did I just say that, I meant don’t do drugs ever they are bad.

Your Toronto Blue Jays are 3.0 games back of the division lead and currently hold a wild card spot. I like the chemistry they have right now and I wouldn’t want to rock the boat too much.

This team can still get it done and they have gotten it done without a guy many would have thought they would struggle without.

Funny sport that baseball.

photo: thestar.com

Will Blue Jays Feel The Love In October?

Is it World Series or bust for Jays fans this year? Will they still feel the love in October? April 2016?

As Canadians, we tend to like a winner and if you look through all the Canadian sports franchises, there isn’t much to celebrate once the post season begins. The Stanley Cup hasn’t been awarded north of the U.S since 1993; despite the game being created by a Canadian, the NBA championship has never come to Canada, not even close, the NFL and the CFL well….. and of course the Jays won back to back titles in 92/93.

When the Blue Jays last won it all, I was 10 years old and Joe Carter hit a home run that still is vivid in my mind to this day; I don’t need hilites to remind me. Since then, September has basically meant NFL is here and NHL training camps are gearing up. Baseball fans tune out their emotions and watch Boston and New York duke it out.

Toronto has made strides to get back to glory but never all at once. Roberto Alomar, Carlos Delgado, Roger Clemens, Vernon Wells, Roy Halladay, Frank Thomas, Troy Glaus, Scott Rolen B.J Ryan and AJ Burnett; all names that bring both good and bad memories but they played for Canada’s team.

Always typical with any sports franchise on the cusp of doing something great: have a plethora of talent in one area but not the other. Pitching goes south and the bats catch fire, bats go dead and the pitching is lights out. You’d think because there isn’t a salary cap that the Jays could buy there way out of trouble.

They did. But never more than one star at a time.

Their other problem was that as soon as they developed a star, they traded him away because they weren’t in a position to win and felt they could just keep flipping and building, flipping and building. Why not struggle like the Rays did and eventually have a plethora of talent at your disposal?

Well, it looks like Rogers Media has pulled out all the stops and wunder GM Alex Anthopoulos has put together a dream team of sorts.  Anchored by some original talent like Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, the Jays have definitely put their money where their mouth is this year.

Trades bringing in Josh Donaldson for oft-injured Brett Lawrie, David Price and Troy Tulowitzki; big name signings like R.A Dickey, Mark Buehrle and Russell Martin have all put the Jays in contention to not only win the AL East for the first time since Full House was a staple of my Tuesday night viewing, but a chance to win the World Series and maybe keep some of the big stars around for a few more years.

But what if the Jays lose out to the Yankees by game 162 and slide to the one game playoff spot? Where will the Blue Jays fan base be? Can the bottom fall out that quickly? These are some pretty big questions that will be asked if it all falls apart.

The MLB post season is an enigma. Teams that run the table all year can be upset in one game or run into a hot team at the wrong time. With Toronto’s recent success, there have been struggles as well. Mark Buehrle has been less than perfect lately and Marcus Stroman is ready for return. R.A Dickey can knuckleball his way to a Cy Young but can he do it to the World Series?

Are the Blue Jays faithful going to be just that as this gets closer and closer? Hockey season is getting close and the immediate market Maple Leafs will be vying for the whole pie as will the Raptors. Winning fixes everything so maybe now IS the time for this to happen.

Sellouts and Blue Jays haven’t been said in the same sentence for many many years and now you take a look in the stands and seats are hard to come by. The nice thing about the real baseball fan and I believe there are tons in Toronto, is that they don’t appear corporate.

When Air Canada Centre opens for business in October, the suits will take over and the real fans will be stuck up top. Here’s where the Jays can really put a stranglehold on that cold month. If they are winning or assured a playoff spot the fans will be there.

Over the final month of play, the Jays have just over 24 games left. Seven of those are against the Yankees, a quick set against the Braves and the rest against the Red Sox, Orioles and Rays. I venture to say it will basically be playoff baseball here on out.

Even though the Jays have made their amazing push, the only let down for the Yankees was their series awhile back vs. Toronto. They haven’t let up. Its going to be a “who flinches first” race to the finish and if the Jays can hang on, they have the fire power both in their starting rotation, bullpen and their batting order.

Winning will make this all very sweet but even in defeat, Toronto has managed to keep even the most casual fan interested. Josh Donaldson’s season long heroics have been things of legend even on the wrong side of the score as have Edwin Encarnacion’s hit streaks and yard balls.

The addition of Tulowitzki and Jay killer David Price have put the Blue Jays over the top and only a monumental collapse could derail this train. The Jays are for real this time and every dollar has been spent to ensure they get a proper chance to succeed.

Fans are coming out in droves, new fans are being created, bandwagoners are buying merch and the thought of watching post season baseball on Sportsnet with Buck and Pat gets me excited.

Hoisting the World Series trophy is rarely done with a home grown team, ok aside from the St. Louis Cardinals. The Blue Jays won with some pretty big splashes back in the 90’s adding Roberto Alomar, Joe Carter and a few other notable players, so this isn’t the first time they’ve struck it rich.

Cash is king in baseball and winning it all by drafting, developing and making a run is practically impossible. However, just because you spend the big bucks, doesn’t mean you’ll win it all. It can be done on a shoe string budget, just ask the famous “Moneyball” GM Billy Beane.

So even though the Blue Jays spent their money a few times in the last year or two, the clubhouse they have right now is producing wins, fans and if they have it their way: a third World Series Championship. But if for some reason it all falls apart and they come up short, don’t expect this revitalized fan base to simmer down.

The fans are pulling for this team and the belief is real. No more let downs come mid September. The Blue Jays have what it takes to endure the marathon that is the MLB. AA has put together a winner and confidence has never been higher.

I wouldn’t mind seeing 1993 replay itself with a walkoff Bautista dinger.

This may be the start of something truly special. #thehuntforblueoctober

Follow me on twitter: @always90four