The Toronto Blue Jays are doing all they can to slowly climb up the standings and dig themselves out of an early hole.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia was recently designated for assignment, players like Steve Pearce and Devon Travis have struggled mightily at the plate, and the team continues dealing with various injuries to players including Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki, Aaron Sanchez and J.A. Happ.
These are problems the current roster is going to have to work through, because Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro suggested the team won’t be looking to their minor-league system for short-term position player help.
“There’s not a guy down there that represents a better alternative than proven major-league players that we have up here right now,” Shapiro told Jeff Blair and Stephen Brunt on Sportsnet 590 The Fan Tuesday.
Shapiro believes “great teams don’t make excuses” and hopes more players can raise their games the way Kevin Pillar and Ryan Goins have lately.
Any talk surrounding potential future stars in the minors might be reserved for the long-term outlook of the franchise.
“There are a lot of great things going on in our minor-league system, things to be really excited about,” Shapiro explained. “I wake up with a sense of anticipation every day to look at those box scores and to see what Anthony Alford’s doing. To know that we’ve got a guy that every time he takes the mound every fifth day he’s hitting 100 [mph] and beginning to develop as a pitcher in Conner Greene.
“To know that there are incredible things happening with Max Pentecost and Dan Jansen and Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.”
The Blue Jays have several promising catchers in the pipeline and Jansen in particular has stood out to Shapiro. The 22-year-old is currently playing for high-A Dunedin and hitting an impressive .407/.435/.535 with three home runs.
“He had a great year in the Appalachian League a few years ago and kind of got on the radar screens,” Shapiro said. “A young catcher who’s a plus plus makeup guy. Incredibly hard worker. I think he kind of opened eyes when he got to camp this year, which is how hard he had worked to put himself in a position to be successful. Thoughtful. He’s that kind of guy that has a chance because of his makeup and his toughness and his character … He happens to be hitting, which is great as well, but he has all the defensive skills as a catch-and-throw guy and leader behind the dish.”
Despite all the optimism regarding the future, Shapiro added: “There’s a lot of good stories going on down there but they’re not stories that impact us here right now.”
The Blue Jays hope that Donaldson and Tulowitzki will be able to return to the lineup at some point during their next homestand, but Shapiro said they “just don’t have enough information” to determine a timeline for Happ’s return.