Four takeaways from Blue Jays post-season press conferences
The Blue Jays 2021 season is over.
It happened abruptly with Toronto players not even standing on a baseball diamond, but a series of post-game press conferences with some of the Blue Jays’ most prominent players closed the book on the year without playoffs.
Full post-season summaries will arrive over the next few days, but here are some early takeaways from the latest media sessions:
1. Marcus Semien’s free agency
Marcus Semien changed coasts, changed countries and changed positions to join the Blue Jays on a one-year contract.
He became baseball’s second most valuable player (by WAR), hit more home runs than any other second baseman in a single season, lost an .873 OPS, and hit career highs up and down. . Now he’s entering free agency to cash out.
It’s clear that Semien has had an impact on this team, both with his play and his leadership. Bo Bichette choked up on how much he meant to him, personally, this year: “Everything.”
Semien, still mentioning how he sees himself as a shortstop, said he’s “of course” open to a new signing in Toronto, but isn’t sure how free agency will work yet. would take place. He cited the facilities at Rogers Center, Toronto’s fan base and the Blue Jays’ young core as reasons to return.
“We had the best offense in the major leagues and the best starting pitcher in the game,” Semien said. “How could you not want to be part of it?”
2. Robbie Ray’s Future
Like Semien, Ray turned a one-year contract with the Jays into a spectacular career-high season: leading the league in ERA, games started, innings pitched, strikeouts and WHIP.
“I felt like I was finally doing what I felt I could do,” Ray said. “Everyone was always talking about whether it was all going to come out.”
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He should be a clear American League Cy Young winner and, like Semien, will enter the free agent market by earning a huge pay day. Ray said he too would be open to a return from Blue Jay.
“It’s definitely an option,” said the southpaw. “I’m sure we’ll stay in touch.”
3. A painful victory
Charlie Montoyo thought this Blue Jays team could compete for a World Series. Marcus Semien said they became the best team in baseball. The 2021 Jays have won 91 games, but missed one.
The five Toronto players and coaches who spoke to the media on Sunday spoke about their takeaways from the season, their outlook and answered specific questions posed to them by reporters. But, one thing was consistent.
The disappointment and pain of Sunday’s end of the season was on the face and in the words of each of them. Toronto posted baseball’s best record in the month of September, loaded at the trade deadline and missed the goal – the sting of that reality was the main theme on Sunday.
“It hurts,” said Vlad Guerrero Jr. “Knowing that you won 91 games and didn’t make the playoffs hurts me and it hurts all of my teammates.”
4. Vlad’s season that was
Personally, Vlad Guerrero Jr. was not satisfied.
He hit 48 home runs, had 111 runs, and led the league in home runs, runs, OBP, OPS, and total bases. Guerrero won All-Star Game MVP and corrected everyone who said the word “bust” over the past two seasons. But, without a playoff appearance, Guerrero was unhappy with any personal accomplishments, he said.
There were questions about the potential departures of Ray, Semien and Steven Matz, but the objective growth of the Blue Jays core was one of the bright spots for everyone on Sunday. Alongside Bichette, Guerrero has drawn praise from his manager and teammates for his achievements in 2021.
Guerrero started the season arriving in the best shape of his life and then he stayed there. The results speak for themselves and Guerrero is aiming to get back to work this winter.
“I’m going to rest,” Guerrero said through interpreter Hector Lebron, “After playing 161 games, I’m obviously tired right now. But I’m going to take some time to enjoy with my family, then get back to work. I’m going to work harder than I did last offseason and be ready for the next spring training.”