So work has been kicking my ass over these last three weeks.
This is really just going to be me stopping by to do some math, just in case anyone is still going to try to put a positive spin on this season.
The Torontoes are 45-50 through 95 of 162 games. They are in last place in the division, and thus have at least two teams to pass in the standings before they can even sniff playoffs by way of wild card. According to coolstandings.com, the Jays are rocking a nice, tidy 3.1% odds at making the playoffs.
That 3.1% is made up of some whacky formula that I'm probably not going to even try to figure out, but I think we can probably conjure up some way to mathematically get something going here, similar to how it's been done the last couple times I've done it.
The Jays have 67 games left, and in order to make the wild card even a realistic dream, they'll need to win 43 of them. That's being generous, by the way, since the Rangers, Orioles and Rays are all projected to win 87+ without winning their division, and that's before teams make their plays at trade deadline acquisitions or tank or whatever. 43 of 67 is a .641 win percentage. It took the Jays like 90 games to win their first 43 games, so I'm not sure why they'd win 43 over 67. Do another 11-gamer and we'll talk.
In the meantime, I've got something sticking in my craw. Alex Anthopoulos claims that he's not going to be trading away his veterans, which makes me sad. I can understand not moving Josh Johnson-- he's at the nadir of his value right now, given his performance and injury issues, especially since having him back on a 1-year qualifying offer next year isn't the end of the world-- but if someone calls asking for Darren Oliver, Mark Derosa, or Adam Lind, then deals better get done. Having minor additions like Sergio Santos re-join an already strong bullpen, or having Melky Cabrera come back for the last 60 games isn't going to turn this team around to a .641 winning percentage.
Winning 43+ of 67 isn't something that you can really plan on. There's too much variance in baseball. That's why the Astros and Marlins aren't 0-95 right now. Winning 64% of your games over a 2 month sample is more or less accidental. Obviously good teams are infinitely more likely to win at that rate, and the better the team, the more likely it is to happen, but there's a reason why it's pretty rare for even the best teams in baseball to win much more than 60% of their games, which translates to 98 wins over a full season.
In that regard, it's time to tank. It gets more draft money for the multiple draft picks that will come next year, thanks to the non-signing of Phil Bickford, and it gets more international spending money for Cubans and Dominicans and so on and so forth, all at the expense of a couple more losses. There is literally no incentive to finish the season with 82 wins, as opposed to 72. In fact, it's a detriment.
I realize that this was supposed to be the year. But it's not. Things didn't go correctly in the early going, and frankly they're not going correctly right now. The pieces are still there for next year; Bautista, Edwin, Reyes, Dickey, Lawrie, Morrow, etc are all under contract, and it seems pretty likely that Josh Johnson is going to come back on a 1-year deal next year, but there are assets that are just simply going to expire. Whether that be Lind, Derosa, Oliver, or just some random bullpen arms that might not necessarily perform at the same level as this year, there are guys there right now who are assets who won't be assets six months from now. Veterans on one-year deals are replaceable. Bullpen arms are replaceable. Righty-mashing, all-bat-no-glove, platoon guys with wonky backs and numbers that are plummeting back to career norms are replaceable.
Of course, maybe AA is just trying to drive the price up for those guys, in which case this is all moot.