(Toronto) Toronto Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro is very proud of what his club accomplished in 2021. But he is also very bitter.
« Every team that isn’t the one who wins the last game is bitter, » Shapiro said on Monday, hours before the gameo 3 of the American Championship series does not get under way.
“The fact that we’re not playing right now makes me feel even more determined. We are all more determined to continue to improve the team. »
The Jays barely missed out on a playoff appearance, winning six of their last 10 games but still finishing one game against the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, the two drafted from the American. The race for the top runner-up, which also included the Seattle Mariners, was exciting until the very last game of the season.
The Jays’ 91-71 record stands in stark contrast to that of 67-95, compiled in the last full season, in 2019.
“I’m going to remember this season for a long time because the team was very good and we believed very strongly in this group of players,” said Shapiro. I’m encouraged by this improvement from 95 losses to 91 wins, but I believe we need to keep building. »
The Red Sox beat the Yankees 3-1 in the game in fourth ace, before defeating Eastern champions, the Tampa Bay Rays, in four games. The Red Sox compete for victory against the Houston Astros in the American Championship Series.
Shapiro notes that the Red Sox and Yankees records were barely any better than the Jays.
“When I watch these teams play – not just these two, all the teams – if we could have qualified we would have been very hard to beat. »
After a 32-28 season in 2020, team management did a good job during the offseason to improve the roster.
More than $ 185 million was added to the payroll, including the acquisition of outfielder George Springer, infielder Marcus Semien and pitcher Robbie Ray.
Springer was troubled by injuries, but still finished the season with 22 homers and 50 RBIs. Semien hit 45 home runs – a new second-goal record – and produced 102 points, in addition to leading the Majors with 86 more than one hits. Ray also had the best season of his career with an earned run average of 2.84 and 248 strikeouts in 193 one-third innings.
Semien and Ray have signed one-season deals, however, and Shapiro has admitted the Jays will have to spend again to stay competitive.
“We will have the resources to do it, both in terms of young talents that we can deal with and in money. It might not be exactly the same, but we will improve. We will find a way to do it. »
Shapiro was particularly pleased with the mental toughness of his group, which played the entire 2020 season in the United States, at its spring resort in Dunedin, Fla., And at the stadium of its AAA school club in Buffalo. The Jays kicked off the 2021 season again in Florida and New York state, before returning to the Rogers Center on July 30, when the Canadian government eased border restrictions.
“They rolled with the blows. I think we are going to build on this perseverance, this resilience. It will become a trademark of this group. »
The Blue Jays completed renovations to their training complex last winter. Now that it’s done, Shapiro explained that the next infrastructure project will be to upgrade the Rogers Center, where a new notice board will be installed in 2022. In the long term, the team plans to make renovations. major stadiums in the city center or build a new one.