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Blue Jays may be in precarious position after start to campaign


After a slow start to the season offensively and a 15-15 record on the final day of April, the Toronto Blue Jays may have some important roster decisions to consider in the summer, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal says.

Appearing on the Foul Territory podcast on Tuesday, Rosenthal suggested the Blue Jays may be moving towards a 'tear down' of the roster if their middling play continues.

"The Blue Jays have a couple months before the deadline to assess who they are, and you can't assess just yet," Rosenthal said.

"But if they do not perform to their potential, if they are hanging around .500 or even below at the deadline, I don't care how close they are to a wild card, at some point you've got to look yourselves in the mirror as a franchise and say, 'Where are we going here, are we going forward with this group?"'"

Toronto has qualified for the playoffs in three of the past four seasons, but have not won a single game in any of their three appearances, having been swept by the Tampa Bay Rays (2020), Seattle Mariners ('22) and Minnesota Twins ('23). 

The Blue Jays scored a combined one run in their two-game sweep against Minnesota last season. The team identified upgrading the offence as a major need in the off-season after finishing the campaign tied for 14th in runs scored.

Toronto instead entered the season having only added 39-year-old infielder/DH Justin Turner to the lineup, and the results have been underwhelming. 

Their 3.63 runs per game through the first 30 contests ranks 26th in the majors, and they set a franchise record with a 20-game stretch in which they scored fewer than five runs in April. 

"This group, like all teams, has a limited shelf life - first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and shortstop Bo Bichette are free agents after 2025, and they haven't signed yet," said Rosenthal.

"Because they haven't signed yet, at some point the Blue Jays have to make a hard call."

Guerrero Jr. and Bichette were two players expected to improve upon their numbers in 2023, but both have gotten worse. Guerrero Jr., who finished second in AL MVP voting in 2021, is hitting .228 with three home runs in 114 at-bats, and Bichette has hit only .210 with one homerun in 105 ABs. 

"I'm not even sure the Blue Jays want to go long-term with Guerrero Jr. after what they've seen from him recently," Rosenthal added.

On top of Bichette and Guerrero, the Blue Jays have a number of key contributors set to enter free agency either after 2024 or '25, including Jordan Romano, Yimi Garcia and Chad Green out of the bullpen, Chris Bassitt and Yusei Kikuchi of the starting rotation and catcher Danny Jansen.

"The New York Mets last season, when they started tearing down, they made the first trade [sending David Robertson to the Miami Marlins] on July 27, trade deadline was August 1.

They were 48-54 at that point, about seven games out of the wild card, they kinda knew who they were," said Rosenthal. 

"If the Blue Jays are in that position, yes, they have to look at tearing it down."