October 23 2016 09:00AM
Stacey May Fowles
October 20 2016 02:24PM
Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Every year I think it’s going to feel different and every year it feels exactly the same. Somewhere during the last half dozen outs of what is likely the last game of the season, I start to accept our fate and get hit hard with an inexplicable wave of emotion. It doesn’t matter if the Blue Jays are in the bottom of the East at the end of September, or clinging to their World Series hopes during a thrilling October. It doesn’t matter how much I prepare myself for what I know all too well is coming. My gut always delivers the exact same ominous message.
“Baseball is ending,” it warns. “It will be gone soon.”
The Money Question: Changes at Rogers, Thoughts of Rebuilding, and the One Thing Now on Every Jays Fan's Mind
October 20 2016 01:30PM
Money. As is usually the case, it will be the central theme of the offseason for the Blue Jays, or at the very least the central discussion point among their fans.
In the wake of the club’s loss this week in the ALCS it has been easy for folks like me to say that we’re now finally facing the big questions that this off-season will bring, but the reality is that we’ve thought about all of these things for months, and that they all depend on one thing: money.
How high will the Blue Jays be allowed to push their budget? How much will other teams inflate the markets for Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista? What will be the best way to use the resources the club has at its disposal to make it as strong as possible in 2017 while doing as little damage as possible to its chances in the years beyond that?
The choices are not unlike the ones faced by the Jays last winter, as best represented by the case of David Price. The front office will even have similar depth concerns to reconcile. This winter they essentially need three bats to bridge the gap between Devon Travis, Troy Tulowitzki, and Josh Donaldson at the top of the lineup, and Russell Martin, Kevin Pillar, and someone like Justin Smoak, Melvin Upton, or Ezequiel Carrera (if not better) at the bottom. By all rights they should awash with the kind of cash that should allow them to do so. More importantly, they will likely have a greater willingness to use that financial heft to ensure the product on the field is good enough to keep those dollars rolling in.
Or so we hope.
October 19 2016 08:01PM
Photo Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
And just like that it's over.
The Blue Jays suffered more hitting woes as they fell to Cleveland for a fourth time in five tries on Wednesday night, and will watch another American League team play in the World Series for a second straight season.
A pair of worst-case-Ontario double plays hurt. Edwin Encarnacion hit into one after a near-walk in the fourth, with Cleveland starter Ryan Merrit giving the first hint that it might have been possible he could have come unglued. Then Josh Donaldson did it in the sixth, on the first pitch from Andrew Miller. Dioner Navarro getting forced at second with Dalton Pompey on the bench in the bottom of the eighth was another dagger. But though John Gibbons may lose sleep over his decision to hold his pinch running specialist, who surely would have been safe if running in Navarro's stead, to nitpick at the manager, or at anything to do with the pitching staff, or anything but the hitters' inability to put their bats on the damn baseball would be unfair.
BREAKING: John Gibbons will return to manage the Blue Jays in 2017, Edwin says Jays are his first choice in free agency
October 19 2016 06:25PM
One down, one to g-- OH MY GOD, THEY SHOULD RE-SIGN BAUTISTA TOO! Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
I'm in the middle of a post-ALCS reaction piece, and by all rights that would be the first thing that I'd publish in the wake of the Jays' all-too-familiar to muster any offence against an unrecognizable starting pitcher, but the off-season [sad emoji] already has its first piece of news, and its first intriguing free agency tidbit, and they're both big ones: John Gibbons will return to manage the Blue Jays in 2017, and Edwin Encarnacion told reporters following the game that the Blue Jays are his first choice.