It’s been a long time since my last entry, a really long time! What can I say, I lost my will to put the time into making this a quality blog. I found I was either going into too much detail about non-baseball related issues or getting too emotional after a Jays’ loss and ranting and/or calling players, coaches managers out for plays or decisions I did not agree with.
My wife also gave birth to my first child sixteen months ago and I found that between work and being a new parent, there just wasn’t enough time to make this a worthwhile blog.
But I’m inspired again and so I’m going to start posting. Where to begin…
The 2010 Season
I must say that despite the fourth place finish, I loved watching the Blue Jays this season. The team took a new direction with Alex Anthopolous at the helm and the team was exciting to watch again. We, as fans, knew the Blue Jays were not going to be playoff bound and the organization did nothing to try and heighten expectations in efforts to sell tickets which was refreshing.
What A.A. did was develop a plan for making this team perennially competitive. Now, given the former GM of the Blue Jays, I’m wary of any so-called ‘plans’ and the ability of a GM to stick to said ‘plans’. Where I think AA is different from his predecessor is instead of spending a lot of time talking about his plan, he got busy implementing it and building the team through the draft and trades rather than free agency. This is the only way to get high-end talent that can be controlled for up to six years given the current free-agency and arbitration rules under the CBA. When the team is a contender, you can use free agency or a trade deadline deal to fill some holes in your lineup. All and all a great approach in my humble opinion. I expected nothing less from a fellow McMaster Economics grad!
I loved the League for Morrow trade the minute it was made and I’m being honest, seriously. I wish I could find the e-mail I sent to my friend, Greg when this trade was made as I was very enthusiastic about this trade. One, I was not a big fan of Brandon League. I had grown impatient with him and didn’t see him developing into a closer like people were projecting him to be. I just don’t think he has the mental make-up to be anything more than an effective late-inning reliever or set-up man. His control and consistency just aren’t there to be a closer. That being said, I thought being trading a reliever for a starter was brilliant even if Morrow had struggled to find a place in the Mariners’ rotation. Now Morrow looked to be a top of the rotation guy and possible Ace of this staff.
The starting pitching was the big question mark going into the season and well we all know it turned out to be the team’s strength. Shaun Marcum had a strong season coming off Tommy John surgery and was the leader of the young staff. Ricky Romero continued to develop as a top of the rotation guy and seems to have the mental makeup to pitch in big games. Brett Cecil was phenomenal given the fact that he didn’t even break camp with the team. I mentioned Morrow’s success earlier. The only hole in the rotation was the number five spot. Jesse Litsch struggled to return to form after off-season surgery and was never able to stick in the rotation and then was shut down after hip injury required surgery. Brad Mills made a few starts and had some success but he doesn’t appear to be in the Jays’ long-term plans. Kyle Drabek, the Jays top prospect, showed in September that he may be ready to step into that role in 2011.
The bullpen was for the most part a disappointment. Jason Frasor, who now mysteriously as a free agent is being called by most “one of the Jays more reliable bullpen arms” was a train wreck coming out of Spring Training as the team’s closer. He never really regained his form from 2009 but was still marched out there regularly by Cito. Kevin Gregg put up some save numbers as the team’s closer but he by no means made it look easy. Many a time I had to turn the channel for a few minutes because I could not bear to watch Gregg struggle through another 9th inning to eek out a save. Brian Tallet was horrific this year in any role they used him in. Scott Downs was his usual self so no complaints there. He has his usual ups and downs (excuse the pun) but was reliable. Casey Janssen also struggled for most of the season and was reduced to spot duty most nights unless one of the late inning guys couldn’t go. Shawn Camp and David Purcey were probably the nicest surprises of 2010 in the Jays bullpen. Camp was consistent and reliable and Purcey seems to have found his niche after control issues seem to put his career as a starter to an end. To me this is an area the team must upgrade for 2011 and this could be done through a few strategic signings/trades.
The offense hit bombs and more bombs but couldn’t hit for average or get on base consistently. It was pretty one dimensional but still fun to watch as baseballs flew out of the park on a regular basis. However a key players from 2009 like Aaron Hill and Adam Lind struggled for much of the year. Travis Snider struggled out of the gate and then when he started to heat up, he got injured. Lyle Overbay also struggled mightily at times. Vernon Wells had a bounce back season but even he struggled through some slumps at key points in the season. Jose Bautista came out of nowhere and led the major leagues in homeruns. This was impressive but what was more impressive was the fact he did this while being bounced from the infield to the outfield and back again throughout the season but all the while playing stellar defense. He also emerged as a leader on the field. He showed a lot of fire and refused to be intimidated or back down from pitchers throwing inside. It was great to watch and I hope Jose can put up similar numbers in 2011 to avoid the talk of him being a ‘flash in the pan’. Unfortunately the stigma of PEDs will not go away I’m afraid but I for one think Jose is legit and don’t have any reason to think otherwise.