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So here we are at the All-Star Break and the Toronto Blue Jays sit a game below .500, four games out of first in the both American League East and the Wild Card race and 3-7 in their last 10 games. They’ve been as close as one game out and reeled off a double-digit winning streak and yet they would still be on the outside looking in if the playoffs started today.
To be honest, it feels like a typical Toronto season.
The offense has been the best in the game, with Josh Donaldson earning the most votes in All-Star history, hitting the break with a .293 average, 21 home runs and 60 RBI. Chris Colabello and Devon Travis have been revelations, Kevin Pillar has been a solid everyday centerfielder and Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion have combined to launch 35 home runs and drive in 114 runs.
On the bump, the pitchers have been inconsistent. Mark Buehrle has 10 wins and there are several bullpen arms that have been great, including 20-year-old Roberto Osuna, but at the same time, Drew Hutchison has an ERA over 5.00 (with an 8-2 record), R.A. Dickey is 3-10 and two of the most steady relievers from recent seasons, Brett Cecil and Aaron Loup, have matching 2-4 records with ERAs above 4.50.
A couple weeks back, the Jays seemed in a position to make a major move, acquire some help on the hill and make a push to end their playoff drought. Now, they’re hitting the skids and you have to question whether such action would be worth it given where they currently stand.
Is Cole Hamels and/or Jonathan Papelbon going to be enough to give them the edge against the Yankees, Rays and Orioles over the next few months? Are those big names with big salaries worth the prospects and position players it would cost to bring them in?
Or would it make more sense for Toronto to become sellers heading into the trade deadline? There are going to be contenders that inquire about the availability of guys like Bautista and Encarnacion, perhaps even Jose Reyes and Dioner Navarro as well. Proven, established bats could fetch a pretty penny as the divisional races get tighter once play resumes after the break and it might make more sense for the Blue Jays to ship out some of their name brand talents in exchange for younger assets.
General manager Alex Anthopoulos said this team has the parts to be swing a deal at the deadline, but we’ll have to wait and see which role they take.
For now, they’re in an all-too-familiar position for this time of year – out of the playoffs, but still in the race after having teased fans throughout the first half.
The Week Ahead: After the break, the Jays return with three at home against Tampa Bay that could go a long way in helping determine whether they’re going to be buyers or sellers as July 31 draws closer.