Toronto Blue Jays: 2017 Season Review and Offseason Preview

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 17: Josh Donaldson /
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BOSTON, MA – SEPTEMBER 26: Josh Donaldson
BOSTON, MA – SEPTEMBER 26: Josh Donaldson /

A disappointing season and an aging core of position players with hefty contracts means the Blue Jays will likely give this group one last shot in 2018.

Heading into the 2017 season, the Toronto Blue Jays looked to be competitive in the AL East or, at the very least, one of the main contenders for a wild card spot. Sports Illustrated had the Red Sox winning the AL East, but the Blue Jays were in the mix with the Rangers and Mariners for a playoff spot. Fangraphs also had the Red Sox winning the East, with the Blue Jays being their pick for the first wild card.

Alas, it was not to be. Injuries took their toll. They only had starting pitcher Aaron Sanchez for eight starts. He had come into his own as a starter the year before, when he put up a 3.00 ERA in 192 innings. This year, he had a 4.25 ERA in 36 innings. J.A. Happ went from 195 innings to 145.3 innings. They were also hoping to get some innings from Brett Anderson, but the of-injured lefty only started seven games.

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In the infield, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki had another injury-marred season. He played just 66 games and could barely muster a .300 OBP. Devon Travis seems to have caught Tulowitzki Disease. He played just 50 games. It then spread over to third base, where Josh Donaldson was limited to 113 games. Even catcher Russell Martin couldn’t escape it. He played 91 games, the lowest total of his career.

The season started poorly, with the Blue Jays going 8-17 in April. They rebounded in May with an 18-10 record and spent much of June within sight of a .500 record, but a 2-9 stretch from June 22 to July 3 dropped them to 37-45 and 10.5 games out of first in the AL East. They were 41-47 (.466) in the first half and only slightly better (35-39, .473) in the second half.

After reaching the ALCS in the two previous seasons, it was disappointing for the organization and their passionate fanbase to see the team finish fourth in their division and nine games out of a wild card spot. Despite the down season, the Blue Jays drew 3.2 million fans, tops in the AL.

So, where do they go from here? What do the Blue Jays need to do to compete with the Red Sox, Yankees, Rays, and Orioles in 2018?