Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Jays In Serious Trouble

With their walk off win last night the Toronto Blue Jays have moved 1 game over .500 and currently posses a record of 57-56. While the Jays have won 2 in a row it is not nearly enough to get them back into the post-season race as they are currently 10.5 games back of the division leading Tamba Bay Rays and 7.5 games back of the wildcard. This season has been another disappointment in a streak of mediocrity in which the Jays have failed the make the post-season and have failed to make their team any better.

Conversations have turned from trying to make a playoff push this year to retooling for next year and trying to make the team better. Many fans think that this process can occur over night but when you really look at this team its going to be much harder than anyone really understands.

First let's look at who the Jays should keep on the team and then we will move to who should leave.

The most important player to keep is obviously Roy Halladay. Halladay is the ace of the staff and is by far the most consistent player on the team. Everyone tries harder when he is on the mound and he is a true workhorse as he already has 7 complete games this season.

Jesse Carlson and Scott Downs are two young arms that the Jays have to hold on to. Carlson has been lights out this season and appears to be the closer of the future. Downs is a solid lefty that can be a long reliever or a set up man so his versatility is useful.

As far as the bats go only Alex Rios, Adam Lind, and Joe Inglett are worth keeping around. Rios is having an off year but he is still the most consistent Jay and has shown flashes of brilliance both at the plate and in the field. Both Lind and Inglett are young guys who have shown an ability to hit at the major league level and both play decent defense as well. I would also keep John McDonald for his defensive abilities and how cheap his contract is.

Everybody else can get out of town and as soon as possible please. BJ Ryan is a terrible closer who is losing velocity and has fallen in love with a less than average slider instead of throwing the heat. Vernon Wells can't stay healthy and has a massive contract that he does not even come close to deserving. Kevin Mench, Brad Wilkerson, David Eckstien, Scott Rolen, Marco Scutaro, Gregg Zaun, Rod Barajas, Lyle Overbay, and Matt Stairs are all second rate players and most would not start for half the teams in the league.

As far as the young pitchers on the staff go the Jays have had somereal bad luck this season. Dustin McGowan was pitching very well but then had to undergo season ending surgery and won't be back until mid-season next year. He may not come back as his former self and this injury may well end his career. Shaun Marcum spent some time on the DL this season and since coming back can't get anybody out. He has given up 16 runs in just 14.1 innings since coming back and has seen his ERA go from 2.65 to 3.57. Jesse Litsch was obviously a fluke to start off the year and has shown his true colors of late and was sent back down to the minors.

Now that we have addressed the issue of who needs to go and who needs to stay the real problem presents itself. What would you get in return for all of these players? If you were to trade any of these three young pitchers you wouldn't get anything for them. Their stock has plummeted of late as compared to earlier in the season where they could have been traded for multiple prospects. So really the Jays are forced to hold on to them and just hope that they can turn it around and return to their form of earlier in the season.

As for the bats I can't think of any of those players that would fetch a good return from any team in MLB except for Vernon Wells. The rest of the team is either too old or not good enough to garner much interest from around the league as shown by the lack of movement on trade deadline day. If the Jays had only traded Wells two years ago instead of dumping money on him then they could have avoided some of this mess.

Now after I have gone through all of this gloom there is a small ray of hope for the Jays. They have got some quality prospects coming up like Travis Snyder and David Cooper and their pitching is still better than most teams. However they need to address the serious issue of lack of power and overall hitting production. The Jays have tonnes of money and have shown a willingness to spend so hopefully a couple quality free agents, not Lyle Overbay and Bengie Molina, can help give the team a quick makeover.

Lastly I think that signing Barry Bonds would be a smart move. Bonds would bring fans to the ballpark, whether they are there to cheer him or boo him is irrelevant, and would provide other incentives as well. Bonds is the all time home run king and whether that is on steroids or not he still knows how to hit the ball a mile. He would be a valuable resource in teaching some of the other guys on the team a bit more about hitting. He would be able to DH so would not be a liability in the outfield and has offered to work for the league minimum and donate it all to charity. Sounds like a win-win situation to me.

So while the Jays clearly have got some serious issues to address all hope is not lost. What I really want to see changed the most however is the attitude of the team and the fans. Every year the Jays don't do well people always start saying, "it's because were in the same division as the Red Sox and the Yankees." Just remember that during the early and mid 90's the Yankees and Red Sox used to say, "damn were in the same division as the Blue Jays." A more positive attitude can go a long way and help return this great franchise back to its glory days.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

BJ Ryan is a great closer. And Neither Scott Rolen NOR David Eckstein are second rate players. Eckstein is a multiple golden glove winner and Rolen is a solid player. Both of these players would start on any team they were sent to so I think you are nuts by saying neither of them would start on any other roster.