Holy hell what a nightmare start to the season it’s been for the Toronto Blue Jays. And I’m not just talking about the scary shot J.A. Happ took to the side of the head last week. Whenever I start feeling down about the Phillies (which I’m not right now, but who’s really going to hold their breath with this team) all I have to do is look at the mess that GM Alex Anthopoulos has created for himself and all of my worries seem to go right out the window.
His inability to make effective decisions with the on-the-field product while adding over $40 million to the team’s payroll is mind boggling, but when you dissect the man’s last name things start to make a little more sense. Despite living in Canada, he’s obviously struggled with shedding his Greek roots.
Watching this team struggle to come together, gel, and play sound baseball on a consistent basis brings me back to the debacle of 2011 with the Philadelphia Eagles. Anthopoulos needed to look no further than the moves made by Andy Reid to bring in big name after big name into town, creating a Dream Team of sorts, and what that ultimately resulted in.
It was an absolute disaster.
Heads rolled, some literally.
And if the Blue Jays continue down the road they’re currently on, I can see things getting just about as ugly north of the border.
Just how bad is it, though?
Well, prior to Opening Day 32 of 43 ESPN’s MLB experts picked the Blue Jays to make it to the post season—20 of those 32 had them winning the AL East, four had them going to the Fall Classic, and one fool actually picked them to win it all—and they’re doing a pretty damn good job making them all look like complete assholes for doing so.
Can you blame the experts? I mean, they did add some high-profile names like Josh Johnson, Mark Buerhle, Jose Reyes, R.A. Dickey (the reigning NL Cy Young winner), and Melkey Cabrera to a lineup that already had Jose Bautista and… um, well, Jose Bautista. You absolutely can blame them. Half of those names came from Miami where the spending-spree strategy failed just a year earlier. And they took a risk adding a man who resurrected his career by living and dying with the knuckle ball, and this year he’s showing little to no signs of life.
Through 40 games this year, they sit dead last in the AL East at 16-24, 9.5 games out. At the same point in 2012, they were four games over .500, just 4 back of the division-leading Orioles, and were spending a hell of a lot less money.
Their bats still have some pop in them, they’re second only to the Texas Rangers in the American League with 51 home runs. But they aren’t hitting consistently—they’re batting just .243 as a team which is second to last in the AL. It doesn’t help that Reyes is out until at least the All-Star Break with a severely sprained ankle, and Cabrera has been playing with a bum hammy.
As for the pitching staff… Well, they’d be better off just setting a tee up and letting teams put the ball in play against them. Their team ERA is a woeful 4.79, good(?) enough for second last in baseball. They’ve also given up the second highest walk total (155), just four fewer than the Houston Astros. Josh Johnson hasn’t won a game yet this year; he’s 0-1 with a 6.86 ERA and is also on the 15-day DL with a triceps injury. Mark Buerhle is just 1-2 with a 6.19. And Dickey, who leads the team with three wins, also leads the team with five losses and has a 4.83 ERA.
Don’t ask me for any remedies to help them fix the poor play, I don’t have them. But one thing I do know (that I’ve known for a while now actually, that these deep-pocket execs can’t seem to wrap their giant heads around) is that any team that decides to go and add a wealth of all-star caliber names to a roster and expects it to equal success on the field is wasting their fans’ time and money.
Luckily for the Blue Jays, there’s 120 games left to try and right the ship.