On October 1st, 2017, the Toronto Blue Jays ended the regular season with a 2-1 win against the New York Yankees, who will be hosting the 2017 American League Wild-Card game tomorrow night at 8:00pm EST. They will be playing the Minnesota Twins. Whoever wins tomorrow night, will be facing Edwin Encarnacion and the Cleveland Indians in the American League Divisional Series.
This will be the first season that the Jays will not be making an appearance in the MLB playoffs since their back-to-back appearances in the 2015 and 2016 season. Within the past three seasons, the Blue Jays have captured the hearts of 36 million canadians with their constant success and luck. And while this past season they had neither of those, the Jays finished second in the American League in attendance, with 3,203,886 fans watching live at the Rogers Centre. Trailing behind the New York Yankees with 3,146,966 fans in attendance (while the Jays had more fans in attendance, they had 2 extra home games  than the New York Yankees did  this season). Toronto came #5 overall, behind the LA Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants, and New York Yankees. Toronto has turned into a baseball city thanks to the names of Joey Bats, Bringer of Rain, Superman, Stro-Show, Go-Go, EE/Eddie (😢), Price, and many more meaningful players that the Blue Jays have had. I know I will never forget the past few seasons, and I’m sure you never will either.
While it may seem weird how the Jays will not be in the 2017 playoffs, it is definitely not a shock. Toronto Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro, and General Manager Ross Atkins stated during the 2017 offseason that they wanted to acquire more players to make the team more fast and athletic. They believed this would make the Jays 2017 playoff contenders for the third straight season. And while this probably would have worked, they did not follow through with their words and instead re-signed José Bautista, and gave contracts to Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce. None of which are fast and/or in the peak of their athletic years. However, they did play quite mediocre as a collective group offensively this season. During the 2017 trade deadline, the Jays traded away starting pitcher Fransisco Liriano, and acquired Nori Aoki (who they later released), as well as top-prospect Teoscar Hernandez from the Houston Astros. Teoscar Hernandez was on fire for all of September, and I am ecstatic to see where he will end up playing for within the Blue Jays organization next season. He looks like a very promising player, that checks off all of the things the Jays need to look for in players for the 2018 season (faster, athletic, power, etc.).
The 2018 offseason shall be a very interesting one for the Toronto Blue Jays. There is just one more season left until some of the hottest players in the league become free agents (in 2019), so I assume a lot of trades will be made during the 2018 Winter Meetings and Trade Deadline. The Jays have a lot of decisions to make, focusing mostly around the futures of Josh Donaldson and José Bautista. Will the Jays sign Donaldson to a $100 Million contract extension? Will the Blue Jays re-sign José Bautista to his final contract of his career, so he can retire as a Blue Jay? These questions will be answered within the next 5 months, and I am looking forward to seeing how these narratives will play out.
Could the Jays be playoff contenders for the 2018 season? Potentially. The front office and staff have a lot of work to do… but I believe in them. If Shapiro, Atkins, and management can bring together a great core group of talented veterans and rookies, they will be able to compete alongside the Red Sox and Yankees in 2018.
Obviously, this season was miserable for both the fans, and staff of the team. But I tend not to dwell on the past, and instead be optimistic for the future of the team. Let’s not forget about our AMAZING Low-A, High-A, and AA teams that are affiliated with the Toronto Blue Jays. Both “A” teams were champions of their division, and with names like Vladdy Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette, who can hide their excitement for the long term future of the Toronto Blue Jays?!
As always, I will continue to tweet regularly about the Toronto Blue Jays throughout the off-season, as well as occasionally tweet about both the Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL) and the Toronto Raptors (NBA). Alongside social media, regular blog posts will be going up weekly about the Jays offseason news and other Jays related shenanigans.
Thanks to everyone who made this MLB season more tolerable, and I look forward to the upcoming post-season, as well as 2018 season!