Considering the success the Toronto Blue Jays have enjoyed over the past two years, this season has been something of a disappointment. The franchise have always being playing catch-up in the American League East ever since a dismal opening month of the campaign in which the Blue Jays went 8-17, even after finally finding their feet in May. But while even the most optimistic Toronto fan had all but given up hope of reaching the playoffs, an encouraging August has breathed new hope into their push for that second wild-card spot. With more than 30 games left to go, the Blue Jays fans are now gaining confidence that this season might not end as early as they expected.
To bolster John Gibbons’ options ahead of a crucial run of games, the Blue Jays have added another starting pitcher to the roster in the shape of Tom Koehler. The trade with the Miami Marlins might have gone somewhat under the radar, but it’s one that could end up proving invaluable to the Blue Jays. With Osman Gutierrez moving in the other direction as part of the deal, Toronto have been able to add an experienced and proven starting pitcher to their bullpen. Koehler might not have enjoyed the best year in the majors, but solid performances throughout his career show what the 31-year old is capable of.
While this season could still well end up with the Blue Jays reaching the playoffs, with that outcome currently at +4000 with the latest bet365 odds, there are a number of teams that have been much more consistent than Toronto this season. But, as has been the case throughout the campaign, the Blue Jays have shown that they can beat anyone in the MLB when they are firing on all cylinders. The frustration for many Toronto fans has been the failure of this team to put together a long enough run of wins to really place their postseason hopes in their own hands, highlighted by their recent loss to the Chicago Cubs.
With a solid track record in the majors, it’s been Triple A where Koehler has really stood out. In the MLB, the right armer went 9-13 with a 4.33 ERA in 2016, producing a career-best season in 2014 when he finished 10-10 with an impressive 3.81 ERA from his 32 starts, throwing 191.1 innings, also a career-high for the six-foot-three 265-pound pitcher. The top of the rotation hasn’t been where Koehler does his best work, more suited to a back of rotation role. With Marcus Stroman, Marco Estrada and J.A. Happs taking up the top three spots, Koehler will now be competing against Chris Rowley and Nick Tepesch for a place on the rotation.
If Koehler can reproduce the sort of form he showed in 2014, the Blue Jays could have pulled off a really great piece of business. While the team have struggled through parts of the season, the pitching rotation has generally done its job well. The problem has been the lack of depth and the addition of the 31-year old should fill a gap and help Toronto find some late-season consistency.