After five weeks of nearly non-stop misery, the Blue Jays look like they’re about to finally catch a break.
That’s because Josh Donaldson could return very soon. The team’s best player has been sidelined with a calf injury since April 14. In that span Toronto’s gone 10–12, digging an even deeper hole for a team that’s cratered out of the gate. The 2015 AL MVP isn’t the only player on the verge of leaving what might be MLB’s most depressing team disabled list. All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, out since April 22 with a hamstring injury, could also make it back to the lineup some time during the nine-game homestand that starts Monday. Staff ace Aaron Sanchez, who’s thrown just one inning since April 14 due to a finger injury, is eyeing a return this weekend.
The old “it’s still early” adage often doesn’t apply in baseball. With an 11–20 start, the Jays would need to go 78–53 the rest of the way just to match the 89-win season that allowed them to squeak into last year’s playoffs as a wild card. That 78–53 mark would net a .595 winning percentage, and no team other than the historically dominant Cubs played that well over a full season last year. So it might already be too late to dream of another postseason run.
But with three of their best players set to return, the Jays should at least become a competitive team again. That would be a huge upgrade over the daily slog they’ve endured in 2017.