MLB 2010 Team by Team Preview - Toronto Blue Jays
One year ago as I sat down to write the Toronto Blue Jays’ preview, I had such high hopes that it would be a great year. They had fired the coach at the end of 2008 and Cito Gaston had taken over in the interim. However, as I write the 2010 preview, I find myself in a position trying very hard to write something positive.
I need to face it. Every team I cheer for has had problems lately, and I’m beginning to think I’m a huge jinx. In any case, I again have high hopes for the Jays - a team that is rebuilding.
In October, the Jays fired General Manager, JP Ricciardi, but honestly, this was a firing no fan was sorry to see. JP had brought a number of players into the mix, but most of his decisions had fans shaking their heads and crying “Why? Why?”
This year, the big story has been the trading of Roy Halladay. With that said, the story is pretty much told, but we’ll give it a go.
As indicated, the trading of Roy Halladay to the Phillies has left the Blue Jays with around 12 pitchers vying for 5 spots, and honestly, there is no clear leader. Not that there aren’t five good pitchers, there just isn’t even one that stands out and makes one think “he” will take over as the starting pitcher, the one the team can count on.
Having said that, Brandon Morrow coming in from Seattle could be an excellent acquisition if he is able to put it all together. He is showing promise so far. Third baseman, Brett Wallace, was also brought in from Oakland, but Edwin Encarnacion seems to be the favorite for that spot.
Last year, many of this year’s key players were brand new to the team. This year, they seem to have found a niche and should fit in right from the beginning, without too much muddling around. Notice I said should. Lyle Overbay returns to first base and Jose Bautista returns to the outfield. Aaron Hill will remain at second base, and Adam Lind at first, but the Depth Chart doesn’t resemble the roster from last year as much as one would expect. Brian Tallet and Ricky Romero are also showing some strength in the Grapefruit league.
Although the expected lineup includes a number of players from last year, really none of them are anything to write home about. If you are looking at fantasy picks for your MLB team, there is no one, well perhaps other than Lyle Overbay, that warrants a second look. With the loss of Halladay, the team is going to need to rebuild and leadership is where that should start. Dustin McGowan and Shaun Marcum spent most of 2009 injured so are starting again from scratch. Of course, there is always Vernon Wells who could easily go in the strengths column. His injuries (and locker room antics), however, could very easily make him a liability. The Jays need to ensure the management and coaching staff can step up and take firm control of the team reigns. Is rookie coach Alex Anthopoulos the man for the job? Maybe so, but it will be a long climb. With Cito Gaston retiring at the end of the 2010 season, one certainly hopes so.
Last year, I predicted the Jays would go 75-87 and was told they would be lucky to see that many wins. Well, that was EXACTLY their win-loss record in 2009. Will they manage that many wins again? Without Halladay, I’m afraid that seems unlikely, unless one of the many pitchers vying for the number one starting position seriously steps up and starts throwing the ball like a number one starter. Both Ricky Romero and Shaun Marcum have it in them but without a strong “ace” pitcher, anything other than the basement is unlikely for 2010.