This is a lost season for the New York Yankees, who have arguably been the biggest disappointment in MLB in 2023. And yet, the Toronto Blue Jays are right there with them, currently out of the playoff race as they've failed to take advantage of their situation.
Toronto might lead New York by a significant chunk of games in the standings, but if they're not playing in October, they have nothing to hang their hat on. They have no advantage over the Yankees. And perhaps even more embarrassing is the fact they've tried to get better while the Yankees sat on their hands expecting a turnaround that never arrived.
It all started in the offseason when the Jays shipped out Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Gabriel Moreno and Teoscar Hernandez for Erik Swanson and Daulton Varsho. Swanson's been good for Toronto (3.10 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in 60 games), but Varsho's been terrible (.221 AVG, 82 OPS+, 115 strikeouts) while all of Gurriel, Moreno and Hernandez have had commendable campaigns.
Then came the trade deadline, where the Blue Jays thought they were making crafty splashes (and hey, we thought they were doing that too, for a second!).
Toronto acquired three Cardinals players -- Paul DeJong, Jordan Hicks and Genesis Cabrera -- as well as shortstop Mason McCoy after waving the white flag on former top prospect Trent Thornton. They get a passing grade for Cabrera, and that's it.
Yankees fans can at least laugh at Blue Jays' terrible trade deadline
DeJong was designated for assignment after batting .068 with a -62 OPS+ in his first 13 games with the Jays. He's now on the Giants. Their backup plan in McCoy recently got the call up to the bigs after Bo Bichette's injury, but he was hitting just .192 with a .572 OPS in 21 Triple-A games (a complete 180 from his performance at Triple-A with the Mariners).
Then you have Hicks, who has been the definition of "fine" and probably not worth a top-10 prospect (Hicks is a free agent after this season). The erratic right-hander, through play on Thursday, has a 3.97 ERA, 4.85 FIP and 1.06 WHIP with only 10 strikeouts in 11.1 innings with the Jays. Again, totally fine. He was performing better with the Cardinals and had a more important role with them.
Cabrera, who wasn't even a deadline acquisition (the Blue Jays traded for him after he was DFA'd back on July 21), has been lights out (0.00 ERA in 18 games). He's been great, but Toronto is also 19-18 since that trade.
Blue Jays fans were relentless in insisting this team was a World Series contender, but they still have an uphill battle over the final month of the season and have made more bad trades than good (don't worry, Yankees fans know that life, too). The difference is that Yankees fans were realistic about their status as a contender, while Jays fans remained delusional.