The Toronto Blue Jays have clinched their first American League East title since 1993, securing a spot in the best-of-five divisional series. They accomplished the feat Sept. 30 in Baltimore, but their journey to this point started a year ago.
How the Blue Jays got here:
Sept. 30, 2014 — After making no moves at the trade deadline despite being 60-50 and holding a wild-card spot, the Blue Jays go into a tailspin and finish 23-29 to miss the playoffs. General manager Alex Anthopoulos laments the cost of acquiring players and says the team would be competitive in 2015.
Nov. 1, 2014 — In an effort to get roster flexibility, the Blue Jays trade longtime first baseman/designated hitter Adam Lind to the Milwaukee Brewers for right-handed pitcher Marco Estrada.
Nov. 18, 2014 — The Blue Jays sign three-time all-star catcher Russell Martin, born in Toronto and raised near Montreal, to a US$82-million, five-year contract.
Nov. 28, 2014 — Following another injury-plagued season, the Blue Jays trade Canadian third baseman Brett Lawrie and prospects to the Oakland Athletics for third baseman Josh Donaldson.
Dec. 3, 2014 — Seeking depth, the Blue Jays sign former blue-chip prospect Justin Smoak to a $1-million, one-year deal.
Dec. 4, 2014 — In another depth move, the Blue Jays sign unheralded outfielder Ezequiel Carrera to a minor-league contract.
Dec. 8, 2014 — The Blue Jays claim journeyman outfielder/first baseman Chris Colabello off waivers from the Minnesota Twins.
Dec. 14, 2014 — Outfielder Melky Cabrera leaves the Blue Jays, agreeing to a $42-million, three-year deal with the White Sox.
Feb. 23, 2015 — Blue Jays pitchers and catchers report for their first spring training workouts in Dunedin, Fla.; catcher Dioner Navarro says he’d like to be traded so he can play every day.
Feb. 25, 2015 — Newly acquired outfielder Michael Saunders tears cartilage in his left knee from stepping on a sprinkler while shagging fly balls in spring training.
March 10, 2015 — Marcus Stroman, who was supposed to be Toronto’s 24-year-old ace, tears the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during fielding practice and is expected to be out for the season.
April 6, 2015 — Opening Day starter Drew Hutchison tosses a gem as the Blue Jays open the 2015 season with a 6-1 victory at the rival New York Yankees.
May 17, 2015 — The Blue Jays get swept in a four-game series by the Houston Astros to fall to 17-22 on the season.
June 14, 2015 — The Blue Jays win their 11th straight game, tying a franchise record and moving to within one game of the second American League wild-card spot.
June 22, 2015 — After trying Brett Cecil and other relievers in Casey Janssen’s old role, manager John Gibbons turns to 20-year-old Roberto Osuna to be the Blue Jays’ closer.
July 12, 2015 — Toronto goes into the all-star break 45-46 after an 11-10 loss to the defending AL-champion Kansas City Royals.
July 25, 2015 — The Blue Jays win five of eight games out of the break to get above .500 and back into playoff contention.
July 28, 2015 — In a blockbuster deal with the Colorado Rockies, the Blue Jays get shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and reliever LaTroy Hawkins in exchange for shortstop Jose Reyes, right-hander Miguel Castro and pitching prospects Jeff Hoffman and Jesus Tinoco.
July 29, 2015 — With the Blue Jays at 50-51, Tulowitzki goes 3-for-5 in his debut to lead them to a blowout of the Phillies to cut the New York Yankees’ AL East lead to seven games with 60 to play.
July 30, 2015 — The trade bonanza hits its apex as the Blue Jays acquire pending free-agent ace David Price from the Detroit Tigers for top prospect Daniel Norris and fellow pitching prospects Matt Boyd and Jairo Labourt.
July 31, 2015 — Anthopoulos finishes his shopping, trading for outfielder Ben Revere from the Phillies and reliever Mark Lowe from the Mariners on deadline day.
Aug. 3, 2015 — Price strikes out 11 and allows one run on three hits against the Twins in his debut at a sold-out Rogers Centre as the Blue Jays move into a tie for a wild-card spot.
Aug. 9, 2015 — Estrada tosses 6 1/3 shutout innings and Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista each hit home runs as the Blue Jays finish off a sweep of New York at Yankee Stadium.
Aug. 12, 2015 — The 10th victory of another 11-game winning streak, coupled with a Yankees loss, puts the Blue Jays in first place in the AL East by a half-game.
Aug. 14, 2015 — Price cracks and Aaron Sanchez gives up a three-run home run to Carlos Beltran as the Yankees reclaim first place in the division
Aug. 23, 2015 — A rout of the Angels wraps up a three-game sweep in Anaheim as the Blue Jays get back into first place.
Sept. 12, 2015 — Stroman makes his triumphant season debut and is impressive as the Blue Jays sweep a Yankee Stadium doubleheader to move 4 1/2 games up.
Sept. 23, 2015 — Another series victory against the Yankees makes the Blue Jays 13-6 against New York and gives them a 3 1/2-game lead.
Sept. 26, 2015 — The Blue Jays unknowingly clinch a wild-card spot, their first playoff berth since 1993, with a win over Tampa Bay and a Detroit Tigers win over Minnesota. They celebrate a day later.
Sept. 30, 2105 — The Blue Jays clinch the American League East division in Baltimore.
Stephen Whyno, The Canadian Press