The Toronto Blue Jays were walloped in their final game before the all-star break, embarrassed in front of their home fans to the tune of a 19-1 destruction at the hands of arguably the best team in baseball, the Houston Astros.
For some, this was, finally, the indication that the Jays simply aren’t built to compete this season. For others (concentrated mostly in the Toronto clubhouse), it was a game to quickly “flush,” as Justin Smoak put it, and move on. Anything can happen, folks!
Look, anything can happen, and certainly that’s the message you want your fans to believe in, but the reality of the situation is that we’ve long known the Jays aren’t a credible contender this season. It would be one thing had they sloughed off their putrid start to the season and shown some consistency since, but their constant ups-and-downs are indicative of a team that thinks it could be good but simply … isn’t.
The smart thing for the Jays to do at this point is to stop chasing miracles and hoping against hope that a 10-game winning streak is just around the corner. It’s time to sell off what they can – and to start doing it before more teams enter the market.
There are countless metrics suggesting the Jays are too old, too slow and too weak to mount a comeback against the current AL East-leading Boston Red Sox (who could credibly go on a 10-0 run at any point here), and the New York Yankees, who, for all their recent struggles, still have the fourth-best run differential in Major League Baseball.
One thing I like to do is take a market approach. By aggregating information from betting markets and converting it into implied probabilities, we can start to get an idea of what the real odds are of them coming back and challenging for the division lead. Sure, they’re “only” 8.5 games back, but one big run could change everything!
Don’t believe the talking heads. Here’s what I think is the closest approximation of their chances heading into the post-break section of the season:
There are three options for the Jays here: Acquire a piece or two that could help the team to a sudden surge (fairly laughable at this point), hold on to what they have in hopes that an already bad team will be better next season, when its already aging core will be a year older (not a good idea), or take advantage of a season in which a lot of teams actually are still in the thick of the playoff race and probably believe they could contend with an addition or two.
When you take a hard look at the numbers, there’s little argument that the latter course isn’t the best one for the Jays at this point.
James Gordon is publisher of OttawaReport.com and ProBaseballMarkets.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/James_J_Gordon.