Written By: Richard Leonard
As we roll into the 2016 MLB season, the Blue Jays sluggers are aiming to repeat last years power numbers. Led by Toronto’s big 4: Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion, Troy Tulowitzki, who combined 139 home runs last season. The power numbers are by far baseball’s best. While the team looks to produce the same this year, this could be a now or never year for them.
Before the season had started, Jose Bautista informed the Toronto Blue Jays that he will not be taking a hometown discount (when a player takes a pay cut to stay with his hometown team or a team he has been with for a long stretch of time). Bautista spoke with Arden Zwelling of Sportsnet Magazine, saying, “Doesn’t exist. Not in my world. In my eyes, I’ve given this organization a 5-year hometown discount already”. The contract Bautista is seeking is reported to be 5 years and over 150 million.
Baustia has been Toronto’s most productive, and quite frankly, the face of the Blue Jays, during the past 5 years. With his contract up at the end of the season, as well as Encarnacion, the two could potentially seek other teams. Losing one of the two could potentially change the entire landscape of Toronto’s offensive juggernauts.
The Blue Jays made the playoffs for the first time last year in over 10 years. With a drought like that, you can’t expect the arena to fill up to the rafters every game. The offensive display the Blue Jays put on last year were the reason the Centre Center was selling out. The fans have been waiting a long time for Blue Jays playoff baseball.
While the two are still unquestionable, all star Josh Donaldson is under contract with the Jays till 2018, giving Toronto time to whip up a long term contract for the reigning MVP. Donaldson batted 297 last year, while putting up a whopping 41 home runs and driving in 123 RBIs.
As for Tulowitzki, he’s under contract long term with Toronto, so that gives fans a sign of relief. Tulo was able to put up 18 homers, batting 280 and driving in 70 RBIs. A plethora of injuries last year kept Tulowitzki off the field for some time, so that could have played a big role in his offense. Injuries have plagued tulip the past few years, so his production will always be questionable. As long as he’s healthy he can be the offense Toronto needs.
Although the numbers were there last year, The Blue Jays have struggled dearly over the years. They came so close last year to making it to the World Series but were shut down by the Kansas City Royals. The idea of them being a one or two year wonder is highly possible. The offense wasn’t this lethal until just last year. The potential has always been there, but they’ve come up short every time.
Every team goes through this situation eventually. Stars either stay or go. With Toronto’s dreams of winning a world series under pressure, it could be now or never.