Toronto Blue Jays season wrap

BY GRANT JENKINS

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Grant Jenkins – Sports Columnist

With this year’s baseball season coming to a close it’s the perfect time to analyze the Jays season.

It wasn’t a terrible season to be a Jays fan, but there are clearly a lot of issues that need to be cleaned up this offseason.

The Jays were exposed by the depleted Cleveland Indians pitching rotation in the American League Championship series.

The collective team hitting effort just was not good enough to beat a Cleveland rotation missing two of its key pitchers in Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar.

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(Photo by Darren Calabrese/Canadian Press)

Inexcusable in an ALCS series.

The Jays offence came into the series as their biggest strength and it played out to be their biggest flaw.

Key players like Russell Martin, Kevin Pillar, and Devon Travis (yes, he was injured and only played three games) all hit for a sub .100 batting average.

Talk about going cold at the wrong time.

But the bigger issue was team hitting as a whole, the Jays failed to adapt their swings allowing the Cleveland pitchers to make easy outs on ugly swings.

Tip of the cap to the Indians bullpen duo of Andrew Miller and Cody Allen who were untouchable all series.

That Indians bullpen will give Jays hitters nightmares for a while.

Cleveland exposed a big flaw in the Jays lineup, it just happened to be Jose Bautista.

At 36 years old, and with free agency looming it’s time for Jays fans to move on from the aging slugger and his childish antics.

His time in Toronto is over.

A pathetic .182 batting average in the postseason was the final nail in the disappointing coffin that was his 2016 season.

Injuries plagued him for most of the season, showing he was nowhere near the player fans remember leading baseball in home runs for consecutive years in 2010/2011.

The team needs to focus on resigning pending free agent Edwin Encarnacion following his outstanding year.

Encarnacion’s numbers prove there’s only room for one main slugger on the Jays, and with a need for left handed bats it seems like Bautista’s time in Toronto has ended.

It wasn’t all bad in the ALCS though.

The Jays future looks very bright.

Pitching was a big strength for the Jays, with the bullpen and starters playing great all series.

With four dominant starters already in:  J.A Happ, Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Stroman, and let’s not forget Marco Estrada, the staff is set up well for next season.

In fact, it makes a rotation spot for aged knuckleballer R.A Dickey (and catcher Josh Thole) unlikely for next year.

That’s good news Jays fans!

The Jays have some decisions to make on players like Canadian Michael Saunders and bullpen pitchers Jason Grilli and Brett Cecil who are all free agents.

All of these players are likely to be let go with some of the Jays younger players ready to make more of an impact next season.

Change is needed Jays fans, now more than ever.

The Jays need to balance their lineup next season with more left handed batters and rely less on the home run to produce offence.

A more balanced lineup and the resigning of Encarnacion will lead the Jays on a deep playoff run next year, helping fans forget this year’s ALCS disappointment.

 

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