For teams with long playoff droughts, front-office executives often say that one benchmark is to play meaningful games in September.

The Toronto Blue Jays, whose most recent postseason game ended on a Joe Carter home run, seemed poised to check off the “September contention” box this year. They led the American League East by six games on June 6. They were in first place at the beginning of July.

But since then, the Jays have faded back into the mediocrity that has plagued the franchise for the past two decades. Toronto has a 6-16 record since the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline passed without Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos making a significant move. That is the worst mark in the majors over that period.

We’ll never know whether a couple veteran additions would have improved the team’s performance — or morale. However, this much is certain: The Jays are a middling 66-66, 10 games back in the AL East and 6-1/2 behind Seattle for the second wild card.