Tag: Toronto Blue Jays

Jose Bautista’s $18M Re-Up Keeps Blue Jays Near Top of AL East

Jose Bautista may have entered the free-agent waters thinking they would take him to a better, richer harbor. Instead, they’ve pushed him right back from where he came.

And that’s not so bad.

A move that has seemed inevitable finally came to fruition Tuesday, when Bautista re-signed with the Toronto Blue Jays on a deal that, as reported by TSN’s Steve Phillips (via MLB Network Radio), will pay him at least $18 million and perhaps as much as $60 million:

Since mutual options are rarely exercised, however, it’s likely this pact will end up costing the Blue Jays just the $18 million.

That’s only slightly more than the $17.2 million they would have paid Bautista in 2017 if he’d accepted the club’s qualifying offer in November. And to hear Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tell it, Toronto also got Bautista back for less than what was available elsewhere.

For Bautista, who’s hit an MLB-high 249 home runs since 2010, $18 million is a nice raise over the $14 million he earned each year from 2012 to 2016. So, at least there’s that.

And thanks to the new collective bargaining agreement, the Blue Jays won’t get to make him another qualifying offer if he chooses to test the open market again after 2017. And since Bautista won’t be tied to draft-pick compensation, the big payday that eluded him this winter could come next winter.

Of course, draft-pick compensation was just one thing that limited Bautista’s marketability this winter.

Another was certainly the specter of decline hanging over Bautista’s head. He’s 36 years old and coming off a season in which he managed just an .817 OPS and 22 home runs—his worst marks since the days before his big breakout in 2010. He also rated well below average on defense in right field.

There may be no fixing his defense. Even when Bautista was an asset in right field, it had as much to do with his arm as anything else. He acknowledged early in 2016 that said arm was still compromised from a shoulder injury that cropped up at the end of 2015.

“It’s using it when you need to, having the history of the injury last year, on an unnecessary throw, there’s more of a conscious effort on my end to just make the necessary throw,” he told Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca.

In an alternate universe, the Blue Jays could ignore this question mark by hiding Bautista at designated hitter. But with newcomer Kendrys Morales locked into that position, that’s not going to happen.

The bright side for Toronto is that it could afford to take a defensive hit this winter. Per Baseball Prospectus, it had the American League‘s most efficient defense in 2016. Even if the Blue Jays do take a few steps back in 2017, they could still be very good at turning batted balls into outs.

Of course, worse defense might require them to take a step forward (or at least avoid a step backward) on offense.

For that, Bautista and Morales will have to make up for what Toronto lost with the departure of Edwin Encarnacion and Michael Saunders. Encarnacion left a hole the size of an .886 OPS and 42 home runs. Saunders left a hole the size of an .815 OPS and 24 home runs.

Morales should replace Saunders’ production, so the pressure will be on Bautista to put 2016 behind him and be more like the guy who averaged a .945 OPS and 38 homers per year from 2010 to 2015.

Guaranteed? Not quite.

As ESPN.com’s Keith Law expressed in his free-agent rankings, the real concern is that Bautista’s 2016 drop-off was a case of his age seeping into his bat and slowing it down. Per Baseball Savant, Bautista’s modest (for him, anyway) .463 slugging percentage against fastballs lends some truth to that.

But as far as offseason gambles go, there have been far dumber bets placed than this one.

While there’s no ignoring the various concerns that popped up during Bautista’s 2016 season, his core skills remained very much intact. He continued to show a fantastic eye, keeping his walk rate right where it needed to be. He also continued hitting the snot out of the ball, finishing with a career-high 41 hard-hit percentage.

Which brings us to the ZiPS projections. According to FanGraphs, Bautista will post an .868 OPS and hit 27 home runs in 2017. Not bad. And possibly conservative, to boot.

All of the above shows the Blue Jays are a better team with Bautista than they are without him. Not drastically better, but better.

If nothing else, they’re better enough to make an AL East race that didn’t look all that interesting before Tuesday look more interesting. The Boston Red Sox should still be counted among the league’s (surprisingly large) collection of clear division favorites, but now the Blue Jays have enough weapons to give them a run for their money.

Bautista and Morales alongside Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki, Russell Martin and Devon Travis is a good lineup. A starting rotation headed by Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Stroman, J.A. Happ and Marco Estrada must be viewed as one of the league’s best. In the bullpen, Toronto still has the criminally underrated Roberto Osuna.

Bautista could well be playing in his third postseason with the Blue Jays come October. Once there, he’s shown he knows what to do.


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs.

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Jose Bautista, Blue Jays Agree on New Contract: Latest Details, Reaction

Jose Bautista‘s search for a contract has come to an end after he agreed to a deal that will keep him with the Toronto Blue Jays; the team made the announcement Wednesday:

Baseball Prospectus Toronto first reported Bautista’s agreement with the Blue Jays on Tuesday, noting the deal includes various incentives and a mutual option. 

On Tuesday, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported Bautista will earn $18 million with a one-year guarantee and that options in the contract could extend it to $60 million for three years. Heyman noted the salary is higher than the $17.2 million he would have received if he accepted Toronto’s qualifying offer in November.

Richard Justice of MLB.com reported Bautista and the Blue Jays confirmed the contract numbers, and the deal includes a mutual option worth $17 million in 2018 and a vesting option worth $20 million in 2019.

After having a journeyman run early in his career, Bautista turned into a superstar with the Blue Jays in 2010 when he hit 54 home runs and finished fourth in American League MVP voting. He subsequently finished in the top 10 of MVP voting three times in the next five years.

It appeared the marriage between Bautista and the Blue Jays was coming to an end when his contract expired after the 2016 season.

The Blue Jays jumped on free agents Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce, who has the versatility to play at first base or in the outfield. That eagerness led to the departure of Edwin Encarnacion.

Bautista kept twisting in the wind because it wasn’t clear where his market started. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reported Sunday the Baltimore Orioles had been in contact with the six-time All-Star.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported Saturday the Cleveland Indians, who signed Encarnacion earlier this offseason, were keeping in touch with Bautista if his price fell to a certain undisclosed point.

Instead, as the Blue Jays faced the possibility of going into a season with Ezequiel Carrera as their starting right fielder, the front office decided the best course of action would be to bring Bautista back.

Under most circumstances, a player with Bautista’s resume would warrant a large extension without hesitation, but he turned 36 in October, and his numbers declined in 2016 for the second consecutive year.

The Blue Jays did have a change in the front office last offseason when Mark Shapiro officially took over as team president in October after previously working with the Indians.

Ross Atkins became Toronto’s general manager when Alex Anthopoulos left the organization after being unable to reach a contract extension despite leading the team to its first postseason in 22 years in 2015.

Shapiro came from a situation in Cleveland that required him to be diligent in free agency because the Indians couldn’t compete with teams for big contracts, minus their open wallet for Encarnacion this winter. It did lead to an exodus of talent, though it also helped him avoid giving out some of the long-term deals that have backfired on other teams in the past.

By waiting out Bautista’s market, Shapiro played the market into his favor since the veteran outfielder was coming off a down year in 2016. The Blue Jays didn’t have to overextend themselves on a long-term deal for a player in his late 30s, while Bautista gets to stay in a place he’s comfortable.

After Bautista turned his career around in Toronto, it’s fitting he will have at least one more year with a team capable of competing for a playoff spot in the American League. He’s been the face of the franchise for years and will have more time to bring a championship to the city.

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Steve Pearce to Blue Jays: Latest Contract Details, Comments and Reaction

The Toronto Blue Jays added a high-upside player to the roster Monday with the signing of Steve Pearce to a two-year, $12.5 million deal.

The Blue Jays confirmed the deal on Monday after ESPN’s Buster Olney first reported the agreement and terms. 

The 33-year-old veteran is coming off season-ending arm surgery to repair his flexor tendons, but when healthy, the versatile player is capable of making big contributions to the lineup.

Pearce finished last season hitting .288 with a .374 on-base percentage and 13 home runs in 85 games with the Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles. His best season came with Baltimore in 2014 when he hit 21 home runs with a .930 on-base plus slugging percentage.

According to Baseball-Reference.com, he ranked ninth in the American League that season at 5.9 wins above replacement despite playing just 102 games.

Altogether, Pearce has spent time with five different teams across his 10 seasons in the major leagues.

In addition to providing quality hitting from the right side of the plate, Pearce also adds value with his positional versatility. He has experience at first base, second base and in both corner outfield spots over the past few seasons and can give his team plenty of options in the lineup.

While this isn’t likely the type of signing that will excite fans, the utility player could provide quality depth to the Blue Jays lineup throughout the season.

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Blue Jays Show Signs They’re Moving on from Jose Bautista-Edwin Encarnacion Era

Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista are free agents with qualifying offers from the Toronto Blue Jays sitting in front of them.

That means the door isn’t merely open for one or both players to return to the Jays—it’s swinging on its hinges.

As we wait for the 2016-17 offseason market to take shape, however, Toronto is showing signs of moving away from Encarnacion and Bautista, two sluggers who have defined the recent era north of the border.

First, let’s get this out of the way: Neither Encarnacion nor Bautista is likely to accept the QO. Yes, it means turning down a whopping $17.2 million for 2017.

Both, however, can assuredly land lucrative, multiyear deals in a weak free-agent class. The 33-year-old Encarnacion, in particular, will be a hot commodity after hitting 42 home runs and tying for the American League lead with 127 RBI.

The 36-year-old Bautista is coming off a down year that saw him hit just .234, but the six-time All-Star cracked 22 homers in 116 games and should be able to get a three-year commitment out of some power-starved contender.

Bautista has been with Toronto since 2008, and Encarnacion arrived in 2009. They were key cogs in an offense that propelled the Jays to back-to-back American League Championship Series appearances in 2015 and 2016, busting a 22-year playoff drought.

Watching them leave the nest won’t be easy for the Blue Jays faithful. The club doesn’t have the cash to re-sign both, however, barring an unexpected payroll bump.

Signs are pointing toward both men donning different laundry come next spring.

On Friday, the Jays signed former Kansas City Royals designated hitter Kendrys Morales to a three-year, $33 million deal.

That move alone made an Encarnacion reunion dubious, as Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi pointed out:

Also on Friday, Toronto inked 23-year-old Cuban defector Lourdes Gurriel to a seven-year, $22 million pact. Gurriel played 307 innings in left field in 2015 for Industriales and hit .344 with a 967 OPS.

According to Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan, Toronto plans to try him at shortstop in the minors, but “he may end up a corner outfielder.”

On top of that, layer this rumor from ESPN’s Jim Bowden (via MLB Network Radio):

That’s two more corner outfielders reportedly on the Jays’ radar. But that’s only a rumor. Mix it with the Morales and Gurriel signings, though, and you have a club that seems to be plugging a pair of impending holes.

If Encarnacion and Bautista reject their qualifying offers, the Jays will receive a pair of compensatory draft picks. They didn’t lose one for signing Morales since he didn’t get a QO from the Royals.

It’s possible Toronto will come out of this with enough offense to cover the losses of Encarnacion and Bautista in the short term and a strengthened farm system.

Morales, after all, slashed .263/.327/.468 with 30 home runs last season. Add Josh Reddick, who wouldn’t cost a draft pick since he was traded from the Oakland A’s to the Los Angeles Dodgers at the deadline, in a platoon with Melvin Upton Jr., and the Jays could keep rolling.

Jay Bruce, and the 33 homers he cracked last season between the Cincinnati Reds and New York Mets, would also be an intriguing addition, though it’s unclear how much the Jays would have to give up.

Either way, they still have third baseman and MVP candidate Josh Donaldson and a deep starting rotation headlined by Aaron Sanchez, Marco Estrada, J.A. Happ and Marcus Stroman.

Bautista and Encarnacion have meant a lot to Toronto, no argument there. Bautista‘s bat flip in the 2015 ALDS and Encarnacion‘s walk-off homer in the 2016 AL Wild Card Game will forever be embedded in franchise lore.

That’s not the only consideration when doling out contracts, however, as team president Mark Shapiro explained.

“It’s never easy to answer that question, and there’s always some premium placed on players who have historical impact and whose character and talent we know well,” Shapiro said, per Davidi. “You’re balancing that premium with the understanding that those players on a losing team have limited value or meaning to anyone.”

Encarnacion and Bautista aren’t gone yet. The door is open for their returns. At the moment, however, it sure looks like it’s swinging shut.


All statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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Lourdes Gurriel to Blue Jays: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

The Toronto Blue Jays have reportedly signed Cuban prospect Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to a multiyear contract.

MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez first reported the utility man agreed to a deal with the Blue Jays on Friday. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported the contract is for seven years and is worth $22 million. 

Gurriel was declared a free agent by Major League Baseball in August, but by waiting to sign until after his 23rd birthday on Oct. 19, he became exempt from international signing bonus regulations. 

Sanchez reported in February that Gurriel and his brother, Yulieski Gurriel, who signed with the Houston Astros in July and made his big league debut on Aug. 21, had defected from Cuba with the goal of playing in MLB. 

According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the Blue Jays plan to start him in Double-A at shortstop, though he may end up in the outfield.

In an April 2015 scouting report from Baseball America‘s Ben Badler, Gurriel was ranked as the No. 4 prospect in Cuba thanks to a good approach at the plate and solid bat speed with the upside of 20-homer potential.

Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs noted that when Gurriel was declared a free agent, scouting reports were mixed because he has athleticism, speed and power that will play at an up-the-middle position, but his swing can get long, and he’s considered something of a project at 23 years old. 

The Blue Jays have not been shy about taking big risks on high-upside athletes in recent years. Anthony Alford was an unpolished baseball player when he was a third-round pick in 2012, but since giving up his college football career in 2014, he’s blossomed into one of Toronto’s top prospects. 

Gurriel won’t make an immediate jump to the big leagues like his brother did for the Astros, but his ceiling and future value are significantly higher because he’s nine years younger and can afford to take a full season in the minors to hone his skills. 


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Edwin Encarnacion Contract: Latest News, Rumors on DH’s Talks with Blue Jays

Edwin Encarnacion has been a key member of the Toronto Blue Jays for the last seven-and-a-half seasons, but with the 33-year-old in the final year of his deal, he could be playing elsewhere in 2017.

Continue for updates.

Latest on Blue Jays’ Plans for Encarnacion Extension

Monday, Oct. 24

Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins made it clear Monday that Toronto will make a strong effort to re-sign Encarnacion, telling reporters that retaining him and fellow slugger Jose Bautista is a priority, per TSN’s Scott MacArthur.

At the very least, the Blue Jays will extend Encarnacion a qualifying offer, according to Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi.

Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported Oct. 13 that the qualifying offer will be worth $17.2 million this offseason. Encarnacion would be a near-certainty to turn it down. Since he’s one of the best hitters available, he’ll be in a position to command much more on the open market.

The three-time All-Star said last Wednesday that the Blue Jays are his preferred destination:

It will be interesting, though, to see how team president Mark Shapiro chooses to handle both Bautista and Encarnacion.

During his days with the Cleveland Indians, Shapiro often shied away from signing aging veterans to pricey extensions, opting instead to invest in his younger players.

Last October, TSN’s Rick Westhead also reported Shapiro questioned Alex Anthopoulos’ decision to trade the Blue Jays’ best prospects in order to acquire David Price and Troy Tulowitzki. Anthopoulos ultimately decided against signing an extension with Toronto last year.

Encarnacion has been consistent the last five years—averaging just over 38 home runs and 110 runs batted in per season. At his age, though, the first baseman/designated hitter will soon begin to decline.

Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols are both cautionary tales for why it’s risky to pay significantly for sluggers who are into their 30s, no matter how impressive their track records are.

If Shapiro’s focus is on the long term, he and Atkins—who came over from the Indians as well—may have a definite ceiling for what they’re willing to offer Encarnacion.

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Complete Offseason Guide, Predictions for the Toronto Blue Jays

For the second year in a row, the Toronto Blue Jays made it to the American League Championship Series. And for the second year in a row, the Blue Jays came up short, this time losing to the Cleveland Indians in five games.

With a number of players eligible for free agency, most notably Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, what the team’s roster will look like in 2017 isn’t clear.

What is clear, however, is that John Gibbons will be back as manager, a job he’s now held for a decade. Team president Mark Shapiro told Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi after the team’s Game 5 loss:

There’s a level of consistency with him in approach that is unflappable and I think that translates into toughness. …  

There’s no panic. He believes in the talent, he believes in his players, he believes in the process and he believes in all the work that’s been done to date. That gives us confidence, that gives the players confidence and the belief to hold true to the bigger picture. That’s a separator.

What follows is an overview of some of the other decisions the team will have to make—and some of the players it may look to—as the Jays try and get over the hump in 2017 and reach the World Series for the first time in more than 20 years.

Begin Slideshow

Edwin Encarnacion Asks Court to Dismiss STD Lawsuit: Latest Details and Comments

Attorneys for Edwin Encarnacion filed a motion in a New York court Tuesday to have a lawsuit against the Toronto Blue Jays first baseman dismissed due to a lack of evidence as well as questions regarding the jurisdiction of the case. 

Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star provided details of the filing Wednesday, which is in response to a suit filed by Ashley Lebron, an Encarnacion family friend, who said the MLB player knowingly infected her with genital herpes and chlamydia during a pair of sexual encounters in February.

“The complaint is devoid of a single fact supporting her conclusory allegations that the defendant knew or should have known that he had herpes and/or chlamydia,” the motion filed by Encarnacion’s lawyers stated.

Encarnacion doesn’t deny the pair had sex in February in his native Dominican Republic, where his lawyers argue any legal action would need to take place, but the motion also noted the details “do not even remotely suggest anything other than consensual sex between two sexually active adults.”

The Toronto Star added Lebron is seeking $11.5 million in damages for “past and future medical care as well as mental anguish and emotional and physical suffering.”

TMZ Sports passed along more information about the initial lawsuit in August. Lebron stated in her court filing that Encarnacion told her he was clean and responded to her questions by suggesting “she may have picked up [the STDs] when they went four-wheeling and she swam in the river.”

She also alleged the Blue Jays star later backed off his comments about being clean before ending all contact with her, according to TMZ Sports.

No timeline was provided for when a judge will rule on the request for dismissal in the case.

If the lawsuit is allowed to move forward, Sam Pazzano of the Toronto Sun reported the civil trial could occur by 2018, if not earlier, based on remarks from Lebron’s lawyer, Robert Hiltzik.

Encarnacion and the Blue Jays are currently playing in the American League Championship Series. They trail the Cleveland Indians 3-1 with Game 5 scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

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Blue Jays Suddenly Set Up for Comeback After Game 4 Momentum Swing

The Toronto Blue Jays are trying to go where only one team has gone before. They took an important first step in Game 4 on Tuesday.

Facing a 3-0 deficit to the Cleveland Indians in the American League Championship Series, Toronto played its second win-or-go-home game this month. It had the same happy ending as the AL Wild Card Game. The Blue Jays walked away with a 5-1 win, earning the right to play another day.

And now for some obligatory words of caution.

The Blue Jays are still three wins short of joining the 2004 Boston Red Sox as the only teams to ever come back from a 3-0 hole in a best-of-seven MLB series. And while winning four in a row is something they did seven times in the regular season, losing four in a row is something the Indians did zero times.

But there aren’t many other words of caution worth diving into following Toronto’s entry into the W column in this series. A 3-1 deficit is less daunting than a 3-0 deficit, and the Blue Jays looked the part of a team coming alive in Game 4.

Nobody deserves more credit than Aaron Sanchez and Josh Donaldson. Sanchez limited Cleveland to two hits and one run in six innings. Donaldson set the tone early when he put the Blue Jays up 1-0 with a solo homer off Corey Kluber in the third inning:

Donaldson was also heard from on defense in the fifth, making a diving snag and throwing to first to rob Carlos Santana of a single that likely would have tied the score at 2-2. This was the reigning AL MVP putting his money where his mouth is.

“I let the boys know I was coming to play today,” Donaldson told Arden Zwelling of Sportsnet Magazine, recounting what he said at a team meeting before Game 4.

He wasn’t alone. The Blue Jays collected nine hits en route to their five runs in Game 4. Edwin Encarnacion got the other big hit, scoring a pair on a bases-loaded single in the seventh following an intentional walk to Donaldson—highlighted by CBS Sports’ R.J. Anderson as Cleveland manager Terry Francona’s first misstep this October.

Although it wasn’t an offensive explosion reminiscent of the hurtings the Blue Jays put on the Texas Rangers in sweeping the ALDS, Toronto’s offensive output in Game 4 is a start for this series. The Blue Jays scored only three runs in the first three games, hitting just .177 as a team.

There’s a disembodied voice saying “Well, actually” and pointing out that the Blue Jays got five of their hits and three of their runs off three Cleveland relievers not named Andrew Miller or Cody Allen. The Blue Jays earned the chance to do that, though. Making his first-ever start on three days’ rest, a not-too-sharp Kluber was worked for 89 pitches in five innings. 

And now, Toronto’s passing of the Kluber test has ramifications beyond just Game 4.

It was easy to think along with Francona when he decided to start Kluber on short rest. It was either go for the kill or roll the dice on an anonymous left-hander named Ryan Merritt. Easy call there.

But since it backfired, Francona now has no choice but to trust Merritt, who has all of one major league start to his name, to perform well enough in Game 5 on Wednesday to prevent a 3-2 series. The Blue Jays are already champing at the bit.

“With our experience in our lineup, I’m pretty sure he’s going to be shaking in his boots more than we are,” said Jose Bautista of Merritt, via Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca.

If the Blue Jays do what they should against Merritt in Game 5, they’ll get Josh Tomlin in Game 6. He’s more of a challenge, but the Blue Jays could be optimistic about exploiting his chronic homeritis the second time around after failing to do so in Game 2.

If this series goes to a Game 7, Kluber would have to start on three days’ rest once again. He wasn’t especially sharp in one start on three days’ rest. He probably wouldn’t be any sharper in a second straight start on three days’ rest.

It’s not an ideal outlook for Francona, but he has no choice. Trevor Bauer was supposed to be a big part of the team’s plans for this series. His drone mishap put that on thin ice, and that thin ice broke open the same time his stitches did in the first inning of Game 3.

Meanwhile, the Blue Jays are sitting pretty with a rotation loaded with able bodies and healthy fingers. Sanchez did his part by silencing Cleveland hitters in Game 4, and now things are flipped back over for Marco Estrada in Game 5 and, if necessary, J.A. Happ in Game 6 and Marcus Stroman in Game 7. 

Asking the Blue Jays to get it done with offense and starting pitching isn’t asking too much. It’s how they won games all season. And if Game 4 was a wake-up call for the Blue Jays offense in particular, it will be difficult for an Indians team that hasn’t been tearing the cover off the ball and is now light on pitching to close out this series. 

There should be no mistaking that the odds are still against the Blue Jays. We know where history stands on them completing a 3-0 comeback. The digital bean-counters aren’t more optimistic. According to FanGraphs, Toronto has just a 7.2 percent chance of winning the ALCS.

But if Game 4 did anything, it turned a fool’s hope into a fighting chance. Now all the Blue Jays must do is abide by the words veteran reliever Jason Grilli shared with Nicholson-Smith.

“If we’re in this position we may as well make history.”


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted/linked.

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Jose Bautista Says ‘Circumstances’ Are Against Blue Jays in ALCS vs. Indians

The Toronto Blue Jays have been stymied by the Cleveland Indians over the last two games, but the blame might not fall completely on the players.

Jose Bautista hinted the umpires have been giving Indians pitchers favorable calls so far in the American League Championship Series. The outfielder explained Sunday, per Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star:

I’m having great at-bats. It’s just sometimes the elements and the circumstances that we have to deal with as hitters sometimes doesn’t necessarily go our way. But I’m not trying to really get into that.

All you have to do is go look at video and try to count the number of pitches they have thrown over the heart of the plate. It hasn’t been many. But they’ve been able to do that because of…the circumstances.

The Indians had some fun with Bautista’s comments on their Twitter account: 

Bautista cleverly avoided any specific mention of the calls, but it’s clear he isn’t happy with the breakdown of balls and strikes so far in a pair of losses to the Indians.

Toronto’s offense has struggled immensely in the series, generating just one run in two games after scoring 27 in the first four games of the postseason. The offense is 10-for-63 through two games, good for just a .159 batting average with zero home runs.

The Blue Jays have also struck out 25 times over two games, including 10 against Indians reliever Andrew Miller.

Bautista has been one of the biggest holes in the lineup to this point, going 0-for-6 with five strikeouts.

The squad will try to bounce back with its return home to the Rogers Centre for Game 3 on Monday. Whether the team gets more favorable calls or simply hits better, something has to change for the Blue Jays to avoid falling into an 0-3 deficit.

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