Ferguson: Blue Jays send four to the All-Star game

Scott Ferguson
7/12/2013 11:06:04 AM
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I don't begrudge any of the Blue Jays going to the All-Star game next week at Citi Field in New York, Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista, Brett Cecil and Steve Delabar have all put up solid and in some cases great numbers.

I can even see John Gibbons being a coach on the AL staff, since he once played for the Mets.

Still, the realist in me says the Blue Jays are a last place team.

The last time they put this many in the mid-summer Classic was 2006 when five  Blue Jays made it including Roy Halladay, B.J Ryan, Troy Glaus, Alex Rios and Vernon Wells, and yes John Gibbons was a coach on that team as well.

However, the 2006 Jays went 87-75 on the season and finished in second place, their first time above third since the World Series years and best record since Tim Johnson's crew finished with 88 victories in 1998. Gibby's crew in 06 finished up with an 18-10 September and actually looked like a budding contender.

What I'm saying is, being an All-Star should in some way equate to team success. Grant you , the rosters were smaller then, but the Blue Jays only had three All-Stars in 1992, Roberto Alomar, Joe Carter and Juan Guzman. Tom Henke and Duane Ward didn't make it although they gave the Blue Jays a devastating one-two punch in the bullpen.

In 1993, after winning their first World Series, the Blue Jays got full All-Star recognition for how great a team they truly were. They put a franchise record seven players on the American League squad including Alomar, Carter, Pat Hentgen, Paul Molitor, John Olerud Devon White and Duane Ward, and Cito Gaston was the American League skipper.

The 2006 squad put the second most Blue Jays on the All-Star team ever with five. This year's team which has greatly underachieved has four, tied for third in franchise history with the 1994 team.

Without getting too caught up in winning and losing, check out these numbers, The Blue Jays began as you would expect any expansion would with six straight losing seasons. They followed that up with 11 straight winning seasons, five division titles, two American League Championships and two World Series victories. Then from 1994 thru 1997, they had four straight losing campaigns.

Right now they are threatening to get into that chronic losing state again. In four of the last five seasons, if this one continues as is, the Blue Jays will have finished at .500 or below. As I said off the top, it's great to be an All-Star, but even better if winning goes along with it.
Amazing Grace

Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers continues to amaze with offensive feats. He has 29 home runs , already breaking Prince Fielder's club record for home runs before the All-Star break. He's batting .366 and has driven in an incredible 94 runs.  Dustin Pedroia was my choice as the first half MVP, based on what he's meant to the Red Sox rise to the top of the AL East and the fact he played through a torn thumb ligament injury. The Orioles Chris Davis deserves consideration as well, but if Cabrera somehow wins a second straight Triple Crown, I can't see anyone denying him

The Big Hit

This one fell under the radar this week. The Red Sox David Ortiz came up with his 1,688th hit as a designated hitter tying former White Sox star Harold Baines for the all-time record.

Power Outage

The Yankees in desperate need of a power bat right now, and apparently dangling right hander Phil Hughes as bait, may be regretting they let Raul Ibanez walk as a free agent in the off-season.

Ibanez has a shot at an obscure record this year with Seattle. Ibanez who serves as DH and still occasionally plays left field for the Mariners has hit 22 homeruns. The "Immortal" Ted Williams slugged 29 homeruns at 41 for Boston in his final year in the "Bigs". That's the most ever hit by a player of that age. Ibanez has a legitimate shot at it, with 71 games left to play.

Six Shooter

You've got to give congrats to former Blue Jays outfielder Alex Rios. He tied the American League record, by getting six hits in a game this week against the Tigers at Comerica Park. Though I supposed that won't stop Jays fans from getting on his case again next year, when the White Sox hit town.

A Star Is Born?

The Blue Jays seem to have a Triple "A" version of Yasiel Puig at Buffalo. Since coming up from Double "A" New Hampshire 21 games ago, Kevin Pillar subbing in right fielder for the injured Moises Sierra is hitting .373 with four homers and 15 runs batted in and has a 1.085 OPS. The 23-year-old right hand hitter was a 32nd round draft pick in 2011.

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