Ross Atkins says Blue Jays have ‘massive sense of urgency’ to turn season around

Ross Atkins speaks to the media about the team's lack of results under Don Mattingly, and how there's been a complete buy-in from the team despite a 'massive sense of urgency' at the quarter-season mark.

With the Toronto Blue Jays five games under .500, general manager Ross Atkins reiterated his belief in the team Saturday morning, but acknowledged that the on-field results need to turn.

Speaking with reporters ahead of the second game of the weekend series with the Tampa Bay Rays, Atkins was asked what message he would convey to fans concerned about where the team stands.

“We believe in this talent, we believe there is time left, but there is a massive sense of urgency, and we need to get it turned around soon,” he said.

The Blue Jays entered Saturday fifth in the AL East and ranked 29th in baseball in runs scored, 26th in home runs and 24th in team ERA.

“It really comes down to us just being able to score more runs,” Atkins said. “I think that our defence has been really encouraging and our pitching has been steady. I know we’ve had some blips in our bullpen, and we had a couple of guys get off to slower starts, but I feel like we’ll be able to prevent runs.”

FanGraphs gives Toronto a 20.2 per cent chance of making the playoffs in 2024 and just a 0.9 per cent chance at winning the division. While those odds certainly don’t paint a pretty picture of what may be to come for the Blue Jays, Atkins says he isn’t thinking about shaking up the core of the roster.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (.743 OPS) and Bo Bichette (.591 OPS) have dealt with early-season struggles, however, both have shown signs of rounding into form over the past couple of weeks.

Although the MLB trade deadline isn’t until July 30, Atkins was asked if he had considered that the players on the roster aren’t the right ones to build around.

“We’re not there,” he answered. “I’ve seen real encouraging signs from Vladdy over the last several weeks, seen really good signs from Bo over the last week …

“I am not concerned about those guys being good players and do not think about those changes,” he added. “I have so much confidence in Bo and Vlad and George (Springer) that they’re going to be contributors and solid ones, and I am confident that we’re going to score more runs.”

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