With the Blue Jays being in the playoff mix the previous two seasons, it meant little to no playing time for their September call-ups. If there’s any bright side to Toronto not being in the post-season picture this year, it’s that it gives their September call-ups a wonderful opportunity to get some serious playing time in the big leagues.
With only two players in their starting line-up under the age of 30 (Kevin Pillar and Devon Travis) to begin the season, it’s pretty obvious Toronto’s an old team. And it showed throughout much of the year with their complete lack of team speed and inability to make things happen on the bases. What players like Richard Urena and Teoscar Hernandez have brought to the Blue Jays since being called up is an athleticism, speed, and enthusiasm for the game that this ball club sorely lacked prior to their arrival.
Based on the uninspiring play this ball club displayed for most of the season, it’s a no-brainer for the Blue Jays to try and get younger, faster, and more athletic. With one of the better starting rotations in baseball, and a line-up almost identical to that of 2016 (minus Edwin Encarnacion), Toronto felt, and for good reason that they had a shot of once again making the playoffs heading into this season.
In an effort to make yet another push for the post-season, Toronto loaded up on veterans by signing the likes of Kendrys Morales, Steve Pearce, and bringing back Jose Bautista. Unfortunately, because of a brutal start, a line-up plagued by injuries, and an inability to go on any sort of extended winning streak, it became pretty clear that such a veteran heavy approach has some serious drawbacks.
Toronto is now beginning their transition towards a younger roster, and they’re seeing just how much of a positive impact players like Urena and Hernandez can have on this team. When it comes to Hernandez, Urena, Carlos Ramirez, and Luis Santos, they could care less that Toronto is having an off-year. They’re just happy to be getting the opportunity to show what they can do in the big leagues and will approach any playing time they get almost as if it were the World Series. It’s that special approach and hunger for the game that the Blue Jays lacked far too often this season.