Image via Chris Young/The Canadian Press
It’s been well documented how bad this season has gone which doesn’t leave much hope for 2014. The Jays will have pretty much the same team as it stands now minus a Rajai Davis and Darren Oliver who are free-agents. That is pretty brutal. There’s no way anyone in their right mind can predict the Jays to finish higher than 5th place next year.
And that’s how sad things have become.
That is unless nearly all players can rebound – save for Encarnacion. Besides him, everyone should expect better of themselves.
I’m writing this post with a pretty heavy negative viewpoint with how poorly the Jays have performed. This blog normally tries to look at the positive things, hence the name Pumped Up Jays, and be factual and well read when I post my thoughts. That is unlike some other bloggers who sometimes fly off the handle making dumb, uninformed conjecture simply because idiotic notions pop into their head. “Fire AA & Gibby,” they say…as if. “Shed blood for the sake of shedding blood,” yeah right!
The knowledgeable fan will understand that knee jerk reactions are not the answer.
In all seriousness though, Anthopoulos will have to work his magic this offseason to give the fan base any glimmer of hope…and to keep the sale of tickets flowing.
Let’s lay it on the line: For the rotation, we can count on Dickey and Buehrle to make their starts, however they are no longer front of the rotation starters. No one else is dependable and that includes Morrow, Romero, Happ and anyone else who made a start this year. I say the Jays should cut ties with Josh Johnson unless he’s willing to come back on a cheap base salary with lots of incentives, but I’m not holding out hope for that. An injury plagued Ben Sheets way back when got a one year $10M deal from Oakland, so yeah.
The bullpen I’m hoping will have Janssen, Santos, Cecil, Delabar, Loup, Rogers and McGowan to round out a solid seven. Let’s pray they’re all healthy for once.
The offense will remain the same unless something drastic happens which I don’t anticipate. One thing that could occur though is Melky Cabrera could be the second coming of Frank Thomas and be released by the end of April, but that’s purely a guess on my part if he continues to suck.
In all reality, Anthopoulos has to try to improve second base, upgrade the defense in left field in addition to finding a good fourth outfielder, and at the same time, improve the starting pitching. But how will he do it?
Trading real assets like Bautista and Janssen (since the bullpen is their only area of significant depth right now) could be an option, but then it creates another hole. And make no mistake; they ARE the leaders that this team has. Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star clearly outlines the effect Bautista has on this team, and Janssen, based on his recent comments, is absolutely a leader in the pen (audio here). He said,
“I think there definitely needs to be some kind of change with this roster that we have we have right now. Clearly it’s not good enough to compete in the A.L. East. I don’t know if you necessarily have to reinvent the wheel, but you know you got to mix and match a little bit…I try to win every game, and I’m going to continue to do that, and I’m going to get as many guys on board with me to continue to play as hard as we can to win as many games as we can.”
My darling wife – yes, we have baseball discussions which are pretty great – believes that the Jays just need time to play together as a team. They don’t have to reinvent the wheel as Janssen said, but errors & mistakes on the field tell us that they’re playing as individuals, not as a team. The talent is certainly here – just look at the A.L. leaders in OPS – Toronto has 4 players in the top 20 which includes Adam Lind at #16!! This team needs time to gel and to get to know each other. Sure enough, expectations will be low next year, which in fact could help a lot! And while that might be hard for some people to swallow, it may indeed be the case because David Ortiz recently stated, “I wouldn’t be surprised if next year they come back and just whoop everybody’s ass, to be honest with you.”
It is uber fantastic that Emilio Bonifacio is now gone and not wasting a roster spot that can go towards someone who can make themselves useful. Perhaps someone like Goins, Pillar or Gose can seize the moment and show the Blue Jays that they’re here to stay!
Certainly, that would go a long ways to settling a roster spot as well as everyone’s anxieties for 2014.