Cleveland’s winning streak for the ages and the horrendous L.A. Dodgers slump have made the races for home-field advantage in the playoffs more interesting. But there’s an even more compelling race emerging at the other end of the spectrum: The race to the bottom.
With two and a half weeks left in the season, the Philadelphia Phillies hold the worst record in the majors, at 54-89.
A wave of mediocrity has given hope to some suspect American League teams this season, with eight clubs within four games of the second wild-card spot. The Blue Jays are the last of that eight — highly unlikely to dance again in October, but still not completely out of it.
When I talked to Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins during spring training, he spoke about the challenges of prolonging a streak that had seen the Jays make the American League Championship Series two years in a row, while also building for the future.
Pulling off that balancing act looked like a big challenge in March.
We’re seven weeks away from baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline, and everything is growing clearer by the day. The Houston Astros and Washington Nationals are really good, and we should expect them to acquire win-now talent as they prepare for their post-season pushes. The San Diego Padres and Philadelphia Phillies are really bad, so we should expect them to trade veterans for young talent that could help them down the road, when they’re ready to contend.
It’s been a wild and crazy off-season for the Blue Jays.
Management tacked a self-destructive take-it-or-leave-it clause onto its offer for Edwin Encarnacion then watched as Encarnacion signed for millions less with a big American League rival in Cleveland. Jose Bautista sat in limbo for months before the Jays snatched him back up on a favourable one-year deal.