If you were already starting to get a little concerned about the current performance of the Toronto Blue Jays, things just got much worse today.
Newly acquired Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes had to be carted off of the field during Friday's game against the Kansas City Royals after injuring his left ankle while stealing second base shortly after delivering a two-run single in the sixth inning.
Reyes, who was in obvious pain after the injury, grimaced and pulled his shirt over his face as medical officials tended to him.
The Blue Jays, whom many predicted to be the favorite to win the American League East, were already off to an incredibly slow start this season with a 3-6 record, good for fifth place in the division.
Reyes, who was their hottest hitting player, was off to a great start this season, hitting .412/.487/.559 with a home run, two doubles, three RBI, five runs scored and four stolen bases before going down.
Not only was he their hottest bat, but aside from Melky Cabrera, there is also no other player on the team batting over .300. Their heavy-hitting sluggers, led by Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, have a combined three home runs in 58 at-bats.
If this wasn't bad enough, Toronto's newly redesigned starting rotation (with the exception of J.A. Happ) is also off to a horrible start:
R.A. Dickey: 0-2, 8.44 ERA, 10.2 IP, .326 average, 1.97 WHIP
Josh Johnson: 0-1, 11.05 ERA, 7.1 IP, .421 average, 2.73 WHIP
Mark Buehrle: 0-0, 10.24 ERA, 9.2 IP, .326 average, 1.76 WHIP
Brandon Morrow: 0-1, 5.59 ERA, 9.2 IP, .357 average, 1.97 WHIP
J.A. Happ: 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 5.1 IP, .059 average, 0.75 WHIP
The Blue Jays and general manager Alex Anthopoulos sent shock waves through the baseball world this offseason when they acquired Reyes, Johnson, Buehrle, John Buck and Emilio Bonifacio from the Miami Marlins in exchange for a group of prospects, Yunel Escobar and Henderson Alvarez.
They also followed that up by signing Melky Cabrera to a two-year, $16 million deal and acquired reigning National League Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey (along with Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas) in exchange for the previously mentioned John Buck and prospects Travis d'Arnaud, Noah Syndergaard and Wuilmer Becerra. The Blue Jays also agreed to a three-year extension with Dickey as part of the deal.
Adding those pieces to a team that already featured hitters Bautista, Encarnacion, Brett Lawrie, Colby Rasmus and Adam Lind and starting pitchers Ricky Romero, Morrow and Happ gave the Blue Jays the most complete and imposing lineup on paper going into the 2013 season.
So with such a talented team on paper, can the Blue Jays overcome the Reyes injury after an already slow start to the season?
Of course they can. It's way too early to start predicting this team will not perform as the season goes on. They just have way too many tools and talented players to not come out of their current slump.
Sure, they'll lose a great hitter and speed at the top of the order, but with veteran infielder Maicer Izturis looking to fill in with Reyes out, they still don't have to be too concerned about having a major gap on the field or in the lineup.
And do I even need to say anything about the other bats in their lineup? Sure, they're off to a rather slow start, but there is just way too much power and talent in this group for them not to rebound sooner than later.
Their pitching staff may be a bit of concern, but it's also not too late for them to turn it around. Buehrle is a good pitcher and should rebound soon. Johnson is a talented guy, and though he's had his difficulties in the past, he's bound to find his form and have a decent year. And while Dickey had an amazing 2012 season, I don't think anyone expected him to match his success from last season, though putting up decent numbers is bound to happen.
Perhaps this team is just struggling due to the high expectations everyone had out of them for this year. Chemistry does go a long way and is evident if you look at the San Francisco Giants as a team. And though there are plenty of great names in this lineup, combining a bunch of players who are not used to playing together doesn't always seem to work, as evidenced by the Miami Marlins of 2012.
It's unfortunate that Reyes went down. He's a great player and an exciting guy to watch, but the Blue Jays should be okay without him for a while, even if his injury does keep him out of the lineup for a long period of time. There is just way too much talent for them not to perform.
What do you think? Can they come out of their current slump? Let me know your thoughts.
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