No team has waited longer between playoff appearances than the Toronto Blue Jays. The Blue Jays won the 1992 and 1993 World Series, only to see the 1994 World Series cancelled by a labor strike. While it didn’t seem likely at the time, those back-to-back World Series titles were the last playoff appearances period for the Blue Jays for more than two decades. While there have been plenty of bad Blue Jays teams over the past twenty years, they have also had the bad luck of playing in the same division as the Red Sox and the Yankees. However, that is all changing, as the 2015 version of the Blue Jays will head into the playoffs as a World Series favorite.
Josh Donaldson Coup
Getting Josh Donaldson from the A’s last offseason might be looked back on as the one transaction that changed the path of the Blue Jays for several seasons to come. Donaldson very well could wind up winning the AL MVP in 2015, as Mike Trout has faded from what was considered to be a two-horse race. Through 141 games, Donaldson has hit 38 home runs and driven in 119 runs – certainly MVP-caliber numbers. Add his high-quality defense to his proven offense and you have one of the very best players in the game. The players that Toronto gave up in order to get Donaldson – Franklin Barreto, Kendall Graveman, Brett Lawrie, and Sean Nolin – are unlikely to ever combine to produce the kind of impact that Donaldson has already had in Toronto.
Adding Mr. Price
As if having Josh Donaldson to go along with Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion isn’t enough, the Blue Jays were also able to add free agent-to-be David Price to their rotation at the trading deadline. With Price heading the pitching staff and an offense that is unrivaled in terms of power, it is hard to see the Jays as anything but Series favorites heading to October. David Price will likely not be around for long in Toronto, but he will be remembered fondly if he is able to deliver the fans a World Series title.
Will the Power Disappear?
The big question for the Blue Jays heading into the playoffs is whether or not the power will continue to show up all the way through October. Teams that are highly reliant on the home run notoriously struggle in the playoffs for a variety of reasons. For one, the weather cools down, making it harder to hit homeruns. Also, in short series, managers can match up pitchers better to hitters, making at bats harder in general. While there is plenty of talent in Toronto on both sides of the ball, the Jays and their fans will need to hope there is no power outage when October rolls around.