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:
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.
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.