When your pitching staff’s so badly beaten up that you have Mat Latos, Mike Bolsinger, Casey Lawrence, Nick Tepesch and Cesar Valdez making nearly twice as many combined starts as your staff ace and 2016 AL ERA leader, that’s tough to overcome. When your team defense goes from elite last season to one of the six worst in the league this year, that takes a huge toll. When injuries rip through your roster and sideline everyone from the 2015 AL MVP to important role players up and down the lineup, that’s a major problem.
But with the Jays now eyeing a rebound in 2017, they’ll need to focus on another weakness too: a painful lack of depth. While teams like the Dodgers have plugged in supersubs like Chris Taylor, the Jays’ inability to build true 1-through-25 strength has compounded the team’s injury woes. When your catchers, middle infielders, and outfielders all completely fail to hit, you patch what you can for one last hurrah next season, then get down to the heavier work: rebuilding a farm system that has failed miserably for years to produce top-tier, homegrown hitters.