Skip to main content


Olney: Blue Jays' play to determine future of core


After Monday night’s 7-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox, the Toronto Blue Jays currently sit in fourth place in the AL East with a record of 35-37, 14 games back of the division-leading New York Yankees.

The team currently has a 15 per cent chance of making the postseason according to FanGraphs, and rank 25th in runs scored across all of Major League Baseball, continuing a worrying trend from last season.

ESPN’s Buster Olney joined TSN 1050’s First Up on Tuesday morning to discuss the team’s chances of going on a second-half run, as well as how the next six weeks may look ahead of the July 30 trade deadline.

“All anyone has to do is look at last year’s playoffs to know that just getting in gives you a legitimate shot,” said Olney. “The Texas Rangers scraped their way into the playoffs, then go into the postseason, don’t lose a road game, and they win the World Series.”

The Blue Jays are five games out of the third wild-card spot, with 15 of their next 19 games coming against teams that are over .500.

“They are going to be playing a bunch of teams that they’re chasing. Whether it’s the Red Sox now, or whether it’s the Yankees coming up, the Guardians, the Mariners, Houston,” Olney said. “I think by the time they get to the All-Star break, it should be pretty clear, in terms of the picture for the front office about whether or not this team is legitimate.”

Olney also touched on the possibility of the Blue Jays selling off some of their core pieces if the team’s struggles continue.

“If you don’t make significant change before the deadline, when you’re talking about Bo Bichette and a decision on him, a decision on Vladimir Guerrero, it would be the second time that you have essentially signed up for the status quo as you move forward,” he said. “The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again, and expect a different result.”

The pair of Blue Jays’ infielders are both set to become free agents after next season, with Olney citing the Los Angeles Dodgers as a team that could have interest after it was announced that Mookie Betts would miss the next six to eight weeks due to a fractured hand.

“[Betts] was playing so well, so that was a blow for them. I do wonder whether if it will make them more aggressive in terms of looking at shortstops like Bo Bichette, if in fact, he is out there in the trade market before the deadline,” he said.

Just a few weeks ago, general manager Ross Atkins refuted claims that the team would be sellers at the deadline, stating that any deal involving either Bichette or Guerrero “wouldn’t make any sense.”

But with pressure mounting amid a disappointing start to the season, combined with this core’s inability to win a playoff game, big changes could be on the way in Toronto.