The Blue Jays year in review
By: Jason Ramroop
One last run batted in from Jose Bautista, a go-ahead hit by Ryan Goins and a save by Roberto Osuna, the Toronto Blue Jays edged out the New York Yankees to pick up a 2-1 victory in the season finale.
Usually the regular season finale will lead the Jays into the playoffs, however this year is different. There will be no more baseball in the Rogers Centre for the rest of season, as the win caps off what has been a disastrous stretch for Toronto. Fans were looking forward to the new Blue Jays season, however turned out to be a poor season for Canada’s baseball team.
We were honoured to have the best fans in baseball cheering for us all season long.
— Blue Jays (@BlueJays) October 1, 2017
“This season was a bit of a disappointment.” Said Jays fan and former minor league baseball player for the Royal York Hawks and West Toronto Wildcats, Derick Isoshima. “I’m glad it came to an end because I just couldn’t bare watching the Blue Jays suck so bad this season.”
With high expectations and a lot of hype to live up to, the season seemed to fall apart from the start, with the Jays winning only one of their first 10 games.
Although sports fans know that the season is long and their team will have a chance to bounce back, this terrible start foreshadowed what would be a miserable run for Toronto.
“Going into the season I had expectations of making the playoffs; after last season they made the playoffs, but it was a disappointment we didn’t make it.” Said Paul Williamson, former third baseman for the Humber Hawks junior varsity team.
“It was a big disappointment, shed a couple tears.”
More than half of the Jays’ roster was plagued by injuries, including some of their best players: Josh Donaldson suffered from a strained right calf; Aaron Sanchez who was taken out by ongoing finger blisters; and Marcus Stroman who injured his right elbow late in the season.
Toronto, which was once a playoff bound team, went on to finish with a regular season win-loss record of 76-86, placing them near the bottom of the American League (AL) East.
They were nowhere near making in to the post-season this year, as their final standings put them as the fifth worst team in the AL, and in the bottom half of the overall MLB standings.
In comparison, the Jays finished with 89 wins last year, and even more the year before with 93. With just 76 wins, this year can be seen as a big underachievement.
“A championship team should always be a championship team when they have the same core players,” Isoshima said.
“But this year they lost Edwin Encarnacion, that really made a big difference for the team, the overall production wasn’t as good as years before.”
However, all isn’t bad for the Jays. This season is in the books, but next season is still in
Rookies on the team such as Bo Bichette, Vlad Guerrero Jr. and Teoscar Hernandez have a bright future ahead of them.
Veteran Marcus Stroman continues to get better every year, Justin Smoak’s breakout season previews his potential and Kevin Pillar’s career high in homeruns is also a big positive.
Not the year that we had all planned but just wanted to say thank you to my friends, my family,… https://t.co/CFBu1IZ7sQ
— Kevin Pillar (@KPILLAR4) October 2, 2017
Outfielder Steve Pearce may be one of the brightest spots for the Jays, as he provided fans with some of the most memorable moments.
Pearce became the third played in MLB history to hit two walk-off grand slams in a single season.
Although Toronto might be losing fan-favorite Jose Bautista, who is unlikely to return to the team next season, it can be argued that Bautista’s best days are behind him.
“His production this year hasn’t been up to standard.” Isoshima said, referring to Bautista’s play this season. “Injuries and his old age played a big role in that.”
The 36-year- old All-Star slugger dubbed by fans as Joey Bats, had a down year, but still holds the Jays’ single-season home run record with 54 back in 2010.
— Marcus Stroman (@MStrooo6) September 24, 2017
“I feel happy for him, he spent a lot of years here and he didn’t get a lot of success, but I feel like he could go, win a championship, and for the Blue Jays, it will just mean that they’re in the rebuilding phase,” Williamson said.
Making five All-Star appearances in his 10 years with the Blue Jays, Bautista’s legacy with Toronto is enshrined, as he pulled off one more big time play yesterday, helping the Jays defeat the New York Yankees in the season finale.
— Blue Jays (@BlueJays) October 2, 2017
“I’m really sad he’s going because of his infamous brawl in Texas and his infamous bat flip. I’ll always remember those moments from Jose Bautista,” Isoshima said. Although Bautista isn’t expected to return to Toronto in a Jays uniform, the 2015 AL MVP Josh Donaldson is leaning towards signing an extension with the Jays that will bring him back next year.
Donaldson spoke to reporters yesterday after the win.
“I’ve made it known to our front office that I enjoy being a Toronto Blue Jay, that I enjoy my time here and if it’s a possibility I would definitely enjoy being a Blue Jay for a long time.” Donaldson said.
By bringing back their key pieces and continuing to work with their young players, Toronto will have another chance to live up to their potential next year.