Honestly, I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how to console you, Blue Jays fans. I don’t know how to ease your pain. I know that you are in pain, and that it just won’t stop. He was a God who walked among you. And now he’s gone with just a swing of the bat.
Jose Bautista might come back this year, but who knows how effective he’ll be with a weakened wrist? Under normal circumstances, this would be a good time to panic and begin moving as much talent as you can before the trade deadline in two weeks. Bautista would be worth something along the lines of 3-4 wins over the rest of the season, after all, and with the host of other problems the Jays have had staying healthy, keeping pace would normally be a tremendous longshot.
This year, however, that second wild card and the relative parity across the American League has left the Jays just two games out of a playoff spot. Moreover, with more teams in contention there seem to be far fewer players on the market. There’s no guarantee that the Red Sox, Orioles, Rays, Indians, A’s or Tigers are going to significantly improve themselves at the deadline. So while you may be inclined to panic, please imagine me doing this to you:
1) Adam Lind is hitting again.
As I pointed out this morning on my own blog, since getting recalled from Vegas, Lind is hitting .327/.393/.673 with 5 homers in 61 plate appearances. I would lay money on him being a better than average 1B for the rest of the season, significantly solidifying that position.
2) Luke Skywalker’s mechanical arm prop from Empire Strikes Back is not currently in use.
Look at that sucker. Just sitting there. Throw that puppy onto Jose Bautista and let ‘er rip. It’ll just take a bone saw and a little duct tape. Remember, if she can’t find you handsome, she can at least find you handy.
3) Brandon Morrow will be back in a month.
The Jays have squeaked by with Aaron Laffey and Carlos Villanueva rising up. While you can’t expect them to keep this up for the rest of the season, Morrow will be a huge upgrade to that rotation once he’s back from his oblique strain, and should still have time to make 10 starts or so.
4) Congratulations, you have fixed Colby Rasmus.
Since May 20, when he was hitting .203/.277/.338, Rasmus has hit .279/.344/.559 with 14 homers in 224 plate appearances. He’s back, baby. And he’s even managed to not look too pitiful against lefties (.233/.323/.384).
5) The Incredible Journey is a hell of a movie.
I just rewatched it with my kids (the original 1963 version, not the one from 1993 with Michael J. Fox as the voice of a bulldog), and it’s really freaking good (except for the weird, unintelligible part in the middle where the cat gets taken in by the family of Finnish immigrants). Sad in parts, but ultimately inspiring as three house pets make their way together across 300 miles of Canadian wilderness to find their owners. I’m choosing to view this as a metaphor for this Blue Jays season.
6) Edwin Encarnacion is good at the baseball now.
This just blows me away. You guys take two underperforming right handed third basemen with untapped power, and you turn them into modern day Harmon Killebrews. When do you get around to acquiring and fixing Pedro Alvarez? Is that next year’s project?
7) Ricky Romero has been not terrible for two starts in a row now.
This strikes me as a significant accomplishment, given what I was saying about him two weeks ago. I recognize that he’s been helped by getting to face AL Central teams during that span, so this could be partly a mirage. Still, we’ll take what we can get. (Also, Henderson Alvarez tied his career high with 6 strikeouts in his last start. That’s like 14 in real pitcher strikeouts.)
8) You don’t have to worry about what to do with Vernon Wells anymore.
Seriously, that’s all Mike Scioscia’s problem, as he and Jerry DiPoto try to find some way to incorporate him on a team with Mike Trout, Torii Hunter, Mark Trumbo, Kendrys Morales, and a recently resurgent Peter Bourjos, without resorting to throwing him down a flight of stairs and back onto the DL.
9) Travis Snider really needs one last shot at regular playing time.
This finally creates the last chance for Snider to go out and do something to solidify his future on this Jays team. He’s hitting .322/.415/.548 at Las Vegas, and could presumably handle right field. Just tell him it’s his job until Bautista can come back and let him go. I don’t understand how you can fix Bautista and Encarnacion so thoroughly, and get stumped on Snider.
10) The man in white needed a vacation anyway.
Seriously, that guy has been working hard for almost three full seasons now. He’s done a great job, but everyone’s batteries need a recharge every once in a while. He’ll be back in mid-August in great form, and the Jays will have a huge stretch run at home. Mark it down.