The Blue Jays 1-9 start is their worst in the history of the franchise. Team president and CEO Mark Shapiro says, though, that he isn’t planning significant changes at this time, as Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi writes.
“Less than 10 games in, this is not the time to start looking at external help,” says Shapiro, issuing the standard line executives (mostly correctly) use when their teams struggle in April. “There may be a time and a place when you start to think about that, but you’re not going to replace five hitters.”
Indeed, teams are rarely willing to make big trades in April, either as buyers or sellers, and teams’ early-season problems can be misdiagnosed due to sample-size issues. The Blue Jays have scored just 2.8 runs per game thus far, and Devon Travis, Russell Martin, Jose Bautista and Steve Pearce in particular have struggled. With what would appear to be a good veteran lineup, though, that could change in time. Shapiro says the team is now focused on making the most of the talent it has.
“When it goes collectively as badly as it does right now with our offence, a lot of what we’re dealing with is we need to get to a point where guys stop trying to do too much and stop trying to take responsibility for it individually,” says Shapiro.
And as Shapiro also notes, the team’s pitching has been capable. The team has gotten good performances thus far from Marcus Stroman and relievers Joe Biagini, Joe Smith, Ryan Tepera and Aaron Loup in particular, and J.A. Happ currently has 17 strikeouts and no walks despite posting a 5.40 ERA in the early going.
“Not everything is wrong,” says Shapiro. “We’re pitching well, dominant at times, there are a lot of good things going on both in the rotation and in our bullpen and we’re playing good defense. We’re not looking at overhauling the entire team.”
The Blue Jays do have their share of both short- and long-term issues — they recently had to place superstar Josh Donaldson on the DL with a calf injury, and the team’s somewhat unwieldy reliance on veterans (including Donaldson, Martin, Bautista, Pearce, Kendrys Morales, Troy Tulowitzki, Marco Estrada, Francisco Liriano, Happ and Jason Grilli) creates pressure on the team to succeed now. It might be unwise, however, for the Jays to overreact to the ten-game slump that has started their season.