The Broken Blue Jays
|Courtesy of Yahoo|
You know the 2013 Blue Jays season has not gone according to plan when the backup to the backup to the backup starting pitcher gets injured.
Ramon Ortiz was just the latest player in the long list of injuries that
have plagued the Blue Jays in the early going of the 2013 season. And much like the summer of injuries in 2012, just when you think anybody else
couldn’t get hurt, they do.
Somewhere along the way, the lofty expectations for the Blue Jays were seriously derailed. Suffice it to say this is not how it was supposed to go.
All you have to do is look at the starting lineup and the starting rotation to see the Blue Jays are simply doing the best with what they have … using spare parts to tide them over in the meantime.
Edwin Encarnacion is playing third base; a position which after disastrous results in 2011, nobody thought they’d ever see him play again. Mark DeRosa, somebody who people thought might get the occasional at bat, is seeing substantial playing time.
Esmil Rogers has been moved into the starting rotation. Ramon Ortiz has started four games for the Blue Jays. Ricky Romero has been outrighted off the 40-man roster. 11 pitchers have started games this season and the Blue Jays have used a total of 27 different pitchers.
The list goes on and on and on. Not to make excuses for this team, but it’s apparent that the Baseball Gods have not been very kind to the Toronto Blue Jays … specifically in the injury department.
The New York Times has an incredibly handy disabled list tally for every team in baseball (hat tip to @Noah_Sherman), and not surprisingly the Toronto Blue Jays rank up there in total payroll on the disabled list.
While the Yankees well eclipse the Blue Jays in the dollar amount of players on the DL ($75.1 million for New York compared to $47.2 for Toronto), the Blue Jays have 36.9% of their total payroll on the disabled list. That is the most of any team in Major League Baseball.
And that doesn’t even include the $7.5 million the Blue Jays have owed to Ricky Romero, who’s currently in Triple A with the Buffalo Bisons. Factor in his salary as well and the Blue Jays have $54.7 million or 42.8% of their entire 2013 payroll on the disabled list or in the minors.
With all that information, it’s really no surprise that the Blue Jays have had such a difficult time trying to gain any sort of momentum whatsoever.
Sure, even with a relatively healthy squad this team struggled out of the gate, but how can they be expected to make up significant ground with the bulk of their best players on the disabled list? It is not an impossible task, but the deck is definitely stacked against the Blue Jays.
In total, the Blue Jays have lost 453 man games to players on the disabled list. While it’s not nearly as many as the New York Yankees, the big difference of course is the Yankees are still treading water above the .500 mark while the Blue Jays are sitting well below it.
I can’t quite recall what the exact number was last season, but it feels like the Blue Jays are either getting dangerously close or have already surpassed the number of games lost to injury in 2012. Yes, the same season when they lost three starting pitchers in one week.
So here we are; it’s June and the Blue Jays are nine games under .500 and sit last in the AL East. This is not where anybody expected them to be.
This squad pegged as World Series favourites has the deck stacked against them, but by no means is this season a write-off. The Blue Jays have sustained a great deal of injuries, but it is how this team will perform in spite of those hardships that will truly show what this team is made of.
At the risk of sounding like a cliche, this is the instance where the true leaders and role players on this squad will emerge from the haze. If ever there was a time for those players on the Blue Jays roster to rise, it’s now.