By: Dan Grant (Mark Shapiro steps to the podium. A hush falls over the crowded press conference.) Hello everyone. Thanks for coming. Let’s not sugarcoat anything. Days like this are […]
With Howell and Smith, it’s not really a question of fit. After losing mainstay Brett Cecil, the Jays needed veteran arms, and these are it, for now. Barring injury, they’ll likely be cogs in the Jays rotation for the entirety of 2017. Let’s get to know them a bit better.
Let’s take a deeper look at this Blue Jays off-season. What they’ve done so far, what they need and what their real options are.
Beanballs are a black-eye on baseball. They’re just about the most cowardly and dangerous act that can be perpetrated in professional sports. They’re accepted in baseball culture as a way to retaliate; 1) Because there’s far less opportunity for physical contact in baseball than in football, basketball or hockey and 2) Because they inflict maximum damage and are supposed to be a way for the players to ‘self-police’ the game.
For baseball fans, September is an exciting part of the season. If you’re lucky enough to support a team making a push in a close race, every game is a nail biting, stomach churning affair, and every decision is dissected with the weighted importance of a mad scientist attempting to create cold fusion. If your team is out of it, there’s always the schadenfreude of being the spoiler against a division rival, and/or the chance to see next years prospects get their first extended taste of big league action. It’s a fun time of year, all around. Unless you’re a Padres fan. But then, you still get to live in San Diego, so cheer up, jerk!
The newly minted All-Star has become more than the Blue Jays and their fans could have hoped for this season, exceeding all expectations by harnessing his devastating natural ability, and pairing it with a combination of strength and mechanical consistency that was lacking during his first stint in the starting rotation in 2015. So why are we still worried about Aaron Sanchez and his role?
They say pitching and defense wins titles. So it might shock some of you readers to learn that the hottest starting rotation in baseball belongs not to any of these early season contenders, but to a .500 ball club, one that sits third in their respective division and has so far underwhelmed the colossal expectations of a suddenly rabid fan base.
Is it possible? Does the best rotation in baseball belongs to… the Toronto Blue Jays?
In our newest monthly feature (an homage to the great Jonah Keri), intrepid Blue Jays fan Dan Grant takes a look at the current team roster and ranks what he finds within. An important distinction to make is that this set of rankings is not one designed to judge overall talent, current skill, potential upside or even strength of character. It is one simply designed to reflect how important the performance of the ranked players are to the success of the team, both in the recent past and near future. From top to bottom, who’s hot, and who’s not? And more importantly still, who needs to be?
For any team loaded with superstar talent, the glue that holds that talent together is key. Just ask Mike Trout and Bryce Harper; you can’t do it all yourself. For this Toronto team, a lot of that glue lies smack up in the middle of the defense. Can these players again be as effective as Toronto needs them to be, and help this club push itself over the top?
With spring training under way, there are still lots of roster questions about the Toronto Blue Jays. Let’s have a look at the pitchers at camp and decide: Who’s making the bullpen?