Back in 2014, the Blue Jays had an 83-79 record and failed to make the post-season for what was then an MLB worst 21st consecutive season. Thankfully that excruciating streak was put to an emphatic end the very next season, when the 2015 Blue Jays won their division, and then followed that up with another trip to the playoffs with a wild card birth in 2016.
Plenty of people (myself included) figured the Blue Jays would be in the post-season mix in 2017. As much as it stinks that Toronto didn’t live up to expectations and at the very least contend for the playoffs this season, it’s still considerably easier to handle missing out this year when it comes October baseball compared to what it was like in the years just prior to the wonderful 2015 season.
In 2014, when Kansas City finally ended their 29-year post-season drought…it meant the Blue Jays now had the embarrassing title of longest stretch without making a playoff appearance. At that point, it was clear to anyone who had anything to do with the Blue Jays, whether it be Alex Anthopoulos, the players, or the fans that this streak had to end, and it needed to end soon.
Some people say Anthopoulos traded away so many of Toronto’s best pitching prospects at the 2015 trade deadline because he knew he wouldn’t be returning the following season and had little to lose. As disappointed as Anthopoulos may have been when the Blue Jays hired long-time GM of the Cleveland Indians Mark Shapiro to be the clubs new President, he never would have sabotaged this organization on purpose. His reasoning for making all those moves in 2015 was motivated solely to put an end to that far too lengthy post-season absence. For him, parting with nine of Toronto’s top pitching prospects was more than worth the price of making the playoffs for the first time since 1993. And considering all the success of 2015 and 2016, who can argue with his reasoning.
The good news is, with Shapiro and Ross Atkins, two competent baseball minds (despite several of their FA signings), the Blue Jays shouldn’t have to wait another 20+ years before making the post-season again. As difficult as the product on the field has been to watch throughout much of 2017, it was at least made a little easier to swallow after coming off two seasons of playoff baseball.