The Toronto Blue Jays fizzled out of the 2023 MLB playoffs after a two-game sweep at the hands of the Minnesota Twins.
For the second consecutive season, Toronto bowed out in epic fashion, with manager John Schneider's controversial decision to lift starting pitcher Jose Berrios from Game 2 in the fourth inning proving costly in a 2-0 defeat.
All playoff losses sting, but the bizarre circumstances surrounding Wednesday's result made it even more difficult to swallow for fans and Blue Jays players alike, including ace pitcher Kevin Gausman, who found it tough to say goodbye to his teammates after Game 2.
"I miss those guys already. This one hurts," Gausman wrote on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. "The last two years have been heartbreaking but I am still so proud and honored to be a Blue Jay. We will be better."
With Brandon Belt, Kevin Kiermaier, Matt Chapman, Jordan Hicks and Hyun Jin Ryu all impending free agents, the Blue Jays have an offseason of uncertainty ahead. Veteran utility man Whit Merrifield could also hit the market, as could reliever Chad Green. It's safe to say the team that reports for spring training in 2024 will look quite different from the one that walked off the field in Minnesota on Wednesday.
Barring a truly surprising trade, Gausman won't be going anywhere, as the right-hander just finished his second season as a Blue Jay after signing a five-year, $110-million deal in 2021. The 32-year-old has been one of MLB's best pitchers since signing that contract, and will receive Cy Young votes for his performance in 2023. He was named an All-Star for the second time in his career and led the American League in strikeouts while posting an impressive 3.16 ERA.
Despite the strong campaign, Gausman struggled in Game 1 of the Twins series, allowing three runs over four innings as the Blue Jays fell 3-1.