The dream match up I was hoping for was a Cubs vs Blue Jays World Series. The Jays are my favorite AL team and the Cubs, well they are the Cubs, the lovable losers.
So now more focus goes to the off field game of baseball and there is always. Much speculation on how teams will look to improve during the off-season. Free agents, claims and trades come to the forefront during this time become topic of conversation and discussion. Who should stay, who should go and what upgrades can be made at a reasonable cost (both in money and talent).
Normally this would be the time where I would start looking at The Atlanta Braves and begin feeling out what I think they need, where to get it and how they should go about it. This year is different.This year there are some extenuating circumstances that very few could have foreseen given the landscape of baseball in Toronto for the past 20 some odd years.
The Toronto Blue Jays had a great season, a winning season., a season that saw them go 93-69. They won a divisional round series and just came up a little short in a comeback that could have sent them to the World Series. How could focus go anywhere else?
The one good thing with this club is that there is a good chunk of the team that remains under club control. The majority of those players will likely be back to for what proved to be a formidable offense and provide stellar defense. Turns out depth and a shaky bullpen proved to be the team’s ultimate undoing.
With a relatively potent offense still intact the focus this off- season will be arms, both in the rotation as well as the bullpen. Well that and likely some bunting practice from some of the top of the order guys.
The big question right now is what will the rotation look like going into next season. There will almost surely be an overhaul and what parts are left standing is anyone’s guess. The Jay’s have some good young arms that could vie for a job as a starter but as for those who ended the season there will not likely be returning.
The club has an option on RA Dickey at a relatively team friendly salary. Not a top of the line guy anymore but an innings eater with a history of decent health so he is probably in the back end of the rotation. Mark Buehrle, Marco Estrada and David Price are all free agents. 2 of those guys will be looking to cash in this off-season and 1 may just retire. That leaves a lot of options and flexibility for the Jays to go in any number of directions.
|Right now the only 2 Aces that the Jays|
have is Marcus Stroman and this guy
show you are paying for about 4 maybe 5 good years before that contract looks terrible and he is unable to throw to near that value. Marco Estrada has had 7/8 of a full year as a top end starter and entering the season was not even in the rotation. Giving him a big free agent contract based on 1 good season and one VERY good post season is a very risky proposition. The question now is Do You Feel Lucky? Well do you, punk? The third member of this triad is Mark Buehrle. The decision may well be made by him and not by the club. He may want to return (but would have to do so at a very reduced rate) he may opt to retire or maybe he is just interested in moving on from the Jays altogether.
Oh, there is one other issue when looking at who or how this rotation will be built. The GM, Alex Anthopoulos himself is going to become a free agent on or near the completion of the World Series. So the current head decision maker and architect of this club may not be part of this club. Or, maybe he will be. Or, maybe there will be a sharing of power in baseball operations with incoming Mark Shapiro as President and CEO. These are the most crucial decisions the Jays face at the beginning of the off-season. After that it is all the easy stuff like: Who is your second baseman Ryan Goings or Devin Travis who will be returning from injury. What are you going to do at 1st base Smoke, Colabello or another? Do you need to trade a bat for an arm and who can or are they willing to move? What young arm is ready to make the jump into the rotation? How and who are you going to set your bullpen and where are you going to find the ‘power arms’ that seem to be a necessity?
And not unlike the Conservative Party of Canada attack ads.."and the budget will balance itself”. So too for the Blue Jays "the roster will fill out itself ’ right?