The Blue Jays and their waiver wire proclivities are making more headlines than an waiver wire action deserves. The constant tinkering with the bottom end of the 25-man and 40-man rosters is seen as a weakness by some. Others see the Jays doing their best to game the system and, according the Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos, field a competitive team at the triple-A level.
When the Blue Jays claimed left-handed starter Aaron Laffey of waivers from the New York Mets earlier this week, most figured it was another example of distant pitching depth and a move to bolster the Buffalo Bisons’ roster. Until, of course, it turned out that Jays starter Josh Johnson is experiencing tightness in his right (throwing arm) triceps and needs to skip his next start, scheduled for tonight in New York against the Yankees.
Lo and behold, there is Aaron Laffey to jump in and make the start. Hooray?
Laffey made 16 starts for these very same Blue Jays in 2012 and the results were…mixed. He wasn’t very good yet he wasn’t truly awful. Well, that isn’t even entirely true. He was mostly awful, allowing a .346 wOBA against and striking out just 11 more batters than he walked over 80 innings. Not good!
On the plus side for Blue Jays fans, left-handed starters gave the Yankees fits for most of the 2013 season. Before last night, that is. Mark Buehrle took care of that in short order, allowing three home runs in 5.1 innings. Problem solved!
Heard Blue Jays could scratch Josh Johnson from Friday start with biceps tightness. Not thought to be serious. Expected to make next start.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) April 26, 2013
Josh Johnson’s injury is as disappointing as it is predictable. Things just keep getting worse for the Blue Jays, who are lucky enough to experience injury, bad luck, and poor play all within the first 25 games of the season. That takes a lot of work to accomplish and an even greater amount of work to overcome.
From phantom calls to sudden bouts of fielding insanity to, well, everything – the Jays start is worse than their worst nightmares. There is still so much season to play so the Jays front office must believe the talent in their roster will coalesce at some point. But, like the Angels terrible pitching, the Jays have holes in desperate need of closing.
Holes, like second base, which were present during the winter but the team felt wouldn’t be make or break considering the overall strength of the team. Except the team isn’t strong right now, it is a team shooting itself in the foot and a team underperforming in nearly every way. So the holes and flaws are magnified, as there isn’t the same sort of hope that Maicer Izturis or Emilio Bonifacio will suddenly turn into good baseball players as there is a completely reasonable expectation that Jose Bautista will be fine at the plate.
The underperformance will turn to “performance” and the Jays will have months in which they win far more games than they lose. But the start is ugly and increasingly tough to take for a fanbase geared up for a return to prominence. Instead it is heartbreaking losses and injuries and idiot goons in the stands.
It will get better only because it cannot get much worse. Baseball, ain’t it grand Blue Jays fans?