From the Outside Looking In (ESPN.com Article on the Jays)

A certain Toronto sports radio station told me to look up this article on the Jays and their future.  ESPN.com writer Howard Bryant wrote “Blue Jays Hoping Late Run is just the Beginning” on their website today. 

He gives good a perspective on how other teams, and also other people for that matter,
 percieve the Jays looking forward.  More importantly, looking forward post-A.J. Burnett.  Here is the link, for those that are interested:

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?columnist=bryant_howard&id=3588364

He pulls quotes from Red Sox first baseman, Sean Casey, and J.P. Ricciardi throughout the article.  I find it interesting that the article gives you the idea that the Blue Jays future success is only dependant on the return or departure of A.J. Burnett. 
A.J.Burnet.jpg

Don’t get me wrong here, A.J. Burnett has been a big part of our sucess this season.  But he is only one player, and a pitcher at that.  The reason for the Blue Jays being a scary team that no in the league wants to face, is the rotation and bullpen.  Joe Maddon, Rays Manager, says “the Blue Jays have the best front-end rotation in the league.”  He is right.  We certainly haven’t been winning games, until recently, with our bats this year. 

If the front-end of the Jays rotation is so feared, then what are we without one of it’s pieces?  According to this article, and the impression of the Blue Jays ‘from the outside looking in’, is apparently not much.

This brings up questions, coming into next season, that Jays fans have been thinking about all year.  Is A.J. replaceable?  How deep really is our pitching (in the minors etc..)?  Are our front-end starters really that dominant?  What about Litsch, Marcum, Purcey, McGowan?  Can they be one of the guys capable of replacing Burnett at the front-end?  Can our offense be a strongpoint? (we’ve been a lot better under Cito)

Very Important Questions:

Is there a chance A.J. will not opt-out?  Do we want to sign him if he does? (for a catastrophic amount) Do we give up on J.P. Ricciardi like we gave up on ‘his boy’ John Gibbons?  Can we have the kind of year Tampa has had?  Can this team beat Tampa?

The article ends with this quote from Sean Casey:  “Look at Tampa. We feel like Tampa is winning every night. It seems like in order to win this division when you’re not one of those top two, you have to have one of those perfect years. You have to win every night like they’re doing, and we’re still right on their heels.”      

Under Cito, do the Jays have to ability now, to put together one of these years?  We have definately proved that during the second half of the season.  Does that make you, as a Jays fan, confident?  Or is the loss of A.J. Burnett the ‘end all be all’ for this team?

It will hurt, but I think that that is a bit of an exageration.  If the fate of the Blue Jays, post-A.J. Burnett, turns into a mediocre and disappointing season in 2009.  Then the ‘evil economics’ of baseball will have reared its ugly head on the Jays again.  Succumbing, once again, to the ‘Evil Empires’ of New York, Boston and maybe now LA.            

6 comments

  1. marlinsin6

    This does raise a very good point. I don’t think you could blame Burnett if he did opt out because he would get a substantial raise from anyone who would sign him based on his numbers this year…but I would be a little careful of expecting another 18-19 win season. I loved AJ when he was coming up in the Marlins system, but he does have an injury-plagued history and was basically a .500 pitcher throughout his career- until now.
    I do hear you about the ‘evil economics’; it really is unfair….I guess we’ll have to wait and see what Burnett does, but (in my humble opinion anyway) I don’t think his departure would make or break the Jays for 09. Just don’t let him win a Cy Young for the Yankees….
    http://myteamrivals.typepad.com/marlins_musings/

  2. redstatebluestate

    I think JP has to go before anything mirroring Tampa ever happens in Toronto. But that’s just my opinion. I hated the letting go of Frank Thomas earlier in the year and I’ve been very jaded towards the Jays ever since even though I want to like them. We’ll see though… won’t we?
    –Jeff
    http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/

  3. jimmy27nyy

    Hi, Jeremy …

    Ten games left in the 2008 season, and the Yanks and Jays start the night tied at 81-71 … So, good luck down the stretch, fighting it out for third place in the AL EAST … I’ll root for the Jays to go 9-1, only if the Yankees finish the season, 10-0 … Anyway, the off-season should be interesting … The Yankees will make many changes, maybe even signing A.J. Burnett; but, I would much rather see the Yankees [somehow] get Doc Halladay … I know, wishful thinking on my part … But, that’s what the off-season is all about !!! … Jimmy [27NYY] …

    http://baseballtheyankeesandlife.mlblogs.com/

  4. Jane Heller

    Seems to me that the Jays will be fine without Burnett if he leaves. (He gives my Yankees fits, so I want us to sign him just so he’ll stop it!) You guys have other great pitchers and a solid closer. I agree with Jeff about the loss of Frank Thomas, because it’s been the lack of offense that’s hurt the Jays, right? So do you think they’ll go after a big bat to give Doc and others some run support?

    http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

  5. welikeroywelikeroy

    Thanks for the comments,

    My stance on J.P. is that he has done an average job. The Jays definately have some great pieces together, we are 11 over .500 and have been slightly over that the past few years. Like I said, average. He has developed some nice young pitchers and found a way to hold onto Doc Halladay, even though I know you all want him. I’m humbled by your jealousy. The move to release Thomas was very bad, I agree, considering we had to eat his entire contract and basically continue with Matt Stairs as our DH for 10 mill.

    The Jays need a big bat, Vernon Wells is our cleanup hitter and he would probably bat 6th in the Yankees, Tigers or Red Sox lineup.

    I just want to know what free agent pitcher the Yanks are going to get. Sabathia? Sheets? Burnett? All good pitchers, all going to get a good payday. Burnett has had injury problems, so out of those fearsome 3 who knows? Sheets or Sabathia might be the best bet, but I don’t think you can really go wrong with any of them.

  6. districtboy

    J.P. Ricchardi is losing my likeness of him quickly. He always makes deals I am skeptical of, especially the Burnett signing. At least he’s constructed the greatest bullpen in the majors. In fact it’s so good, Casey Janssen, Shawn Camp, and Jason Frasor may all get traded. I discuss all on my blog. (plus the catching situation).

    Aaron
    http://districtboy.mlblogs.com/

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