Wondering why I’ve been quiet?
To be honest, I lost a whole lot of respect for the sports media, both mainstream and blogger-based, over the past month. The whole Halladay Fiasco turned some of the reporters and commentators I respected most into TMZ-style Twitter-twits, one long stream of consciousness with little intelligent opinion or fact-based reporting. As usual, though, Stephen Brunt was above this rabble, injecting sanity at key moments.
And so I decided to take a break. It’s not like I have a huge readership, or that my “voice” actually matters, but refraining from adding to the madness allowed me to be at peace with my opinions, which I had shared right when Ken Rosenthal “broke” his “story”. To wit: Roy Halladay was going nowhere, JP was bound by his job description to listen to offers, which is all he said (at first). How that little comment turned into a full-blown media shit-hurricane can be attributed to bored columnists and our society’s transient needs.
The whole episode can be recapped thusly: GM says he’ll listen to offers because that’s what GM’s do; GM would need to be blown away by an offer; such an offer was not forthcoming; Halladay is still a Blue Jay. If you were out of the country for the past month, that’s all you need to know. You’re welcome.
Almost lost in all of this is the fact that Scott Rolen is no longer with the team. According to some reports he wanted out to be close to the Mid-West. Despite the loss of one of my favourite Jays players (Fossil Fries please!), the Jays apparently did very well in the trade, getting a 3rd baseman in Edwin Encarnacion who with a little bit of defensive tweaking might grow into an everyday player, plus two pitching prospects with live arms.
But here’s what I’m looking at as objectively as I can: Supposing Halladay sticks around through the winter, the Jays (who are definitely out of it this year) are looking at an opening day rotation of Doc, Shaun Marcum, Ricky Romero, Brett Cecil and a fifth pitcher who could be any one of Scott Richmond, Jesse Litsch, Brad Mills, Mark Rzepcynski, Brian Tallet, Rob Ray, David Purcey or maybe (MAYBE) Dustin McGowan. Talk about depth in starting pitching.
Cecil and Romero, both rookies, are rounding into fantastic starters. Cecil is 5-1 with a 4.36 ERA and Romero is 10-4 with a 3.53 ERA. If you need any kind of incentive to tune into Jays games for the rest of the season, these two kids are good candidates.
Then take a look at Travis Snider, who just won the PCL’s Player of the Week award, and you can take a deep breath. Ok, Snider is finding his swing again. Maybe he can take over for Lind in left and in turn Lind can assume his natural DH spot (talk about a backhanded compliment!).
Maybe in a perfect world the Jays trade Alex Rios in the offseason and turn the page on this disaster. Vernon Wells is staying, kids, so might as well accept it and move on. One question I do have though: with lots of columnists musing that teams who were interested in Alex Rios would have moved him to his natural position of centre field, and considering how terrible Wells has been (one SABR-estimate a few weeks ago had him costing the Jays 28 runs with his defence up to that point in the season), why not switch them up? Put Rios in centre, and Wells in right! All you’re hurting is Wells’ ego and maybe in doing so Rios gets a psychological boost?
Anyway, the point is, it’s easy to get real down about how this season has turned out, especially considering the circus the media just concocted for us. Take a step back, breathe, and you’ll see that things ARE lining up for a run in 2010.
Sure there are question marks (3rd base, Scutaro leaving after the season), but name me a team that doesn’t have any of those?