Blue Jays gone wild
For a long time, the common story for the Blue Jays was that they just weren’t good enough. While it may hold true, one must account for the division they are in: the American League East. This is baseball’s toughest division, where any team outside of Baltimore is considered to be good and this includes Toronto. Even though Toronto never had a big payroll, it maintains its reputation of having one of the league’s premier farm systems. For a long time, the AL has followed an order of the 3 division winners, and either the Red Sox or Yankees (whoever didn’t win the division). Now, with the addition of a wild-card spot, does this mean the Jays will play October baseball?
Yes, the Blue Jays have a solid team. Aside from a top-of-the-rotation pitcher and a leadoff hitter, the team is packed with talent and full of promise with guys like Brett Lawrie and Colby Rasmus. They always have a solid record, but nothing to show for it. While the extra wild card spot benefits the hometown Jays’ playoff chances, it doesn’t guarantee us a spot.
In the East, the Yankees, Red Sox, or Rays will win. This is a fact. In the Central, the Tigers are expected to take the division with relative ease, and in the West, either the Rangers or the much-improved Angels will win. Thus, 3 of the 5 spots are gone. The first wild card spot will most likely go to a team from the East. From there, the Jays would still have to compete with another team within the division and either the Angels or Rangers.
Let’s face it. Although Toronto fans rejoiced at Bud Selig’s announcement of a 5th playoff spot, the chances of the Jays squeezing into the playoffs are expanded, but by a minimal amount. So, our problem isn’t the amount of playoff spots, but our roster, and until we clean those areas up, we will continue to watch American teams play in October.