Taking the bull and putting him in his place! Or bulling the man and taking him with horns of fury?! Or taking horns and throwing bulls all over the place. However that expression goes? Alex Anthopolous is doing it with the Blue Jays right now.
Presented with the monumental tasks of dealing Vernon Wells‘ long and expensive contract, acquiring some team speed, revamping the Blue Jays minor-league prospects and solidifing a team manger, Anthopolous has taken the challenge head-on.
Alex Anthopolous (or the Silent Assassin as many call him) dealt Wells to the Angels in return for Juan Rivera and Mike Napoli (who was later traded to the Texas Rangers for former closer Frank Francisco). In process he has freed up the Jays from a large financial obligation that was not paying off. Rivera and Francisco are decent players that will help the Jays in the 2011, and some will argue that Rivera could provide similar offensive production, even if we see him in a plattoon role. The Jays will undoubtably be able to a lot of things financially in the near future, so many Jay fan are excited at those possibilties even if they did come at the expense of losing a good player.
The Need for Speed
I did a prior post on this subject and I believe that it cannot be overstated. The Jays are going to be a more athletic team. The recent acquisitions of Rajai Davis, Anthony Gose, Brett Lawrie, Yunel Escobar (to lesser extent) and Corey Patterson has given the Jays a new dimension defensively and on the basepaths. AA said that he was going to pursue more athletic players to give the team another threat. He was true to his word. I believe that this is an element of the game that the Jays have lacked in the past. In my opinion speed isn’t vital to the success of a club, but it is important.
A New Coach
A Jays team without both Roy Halladay and Vernon Wells will seem unusual coming into the 2011 season. Things will be different, but hopefully they will get better with changes on the managing front. AA brought in a well-respected pitching coach from the Boston Red Sox, John Farrell. A core of very good young pitchers consisting of Brett Cecil, Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow will have Farrell’s hands full. Not to mention the young pitchers that are liking coming up in the near future Kyle Drabek and Zach Stewart. Farrell will likely be able to provide some valuable mentoring for these players along the way.
The task of winning in what is usually the toughest (or among the toughest) divisions in baseball every year, is extremely challenging. Blue Jay fans have experienced it. Right now, I see AA developing a well-thoughtout strategy to make the Jays successful. Notably, the Jays are improving their minor-league system and player development, they are focusing on the draft, improving scouting and they acquiring players with high-ceiling and loads of athletic ability. Or in other words:
AA has branded a Blue Jay bull with the Blue Jay logo, and he is going to eat a succulent medium-well cooked New York (Yankee) strip steak with it!
Make sense? ha ha. So, the Blue Jay bull is a Yankee?
The Roy Halladay blockbuster trade to the Phillies a couple months ago has recently brought this blog, my screen name, my life and Toronto Blue Jays into an identity crisis!
For those of you that don’t watch ‘The Simpsons,’ there is an episode where a motivation speaker, Brad Goodman, is intrigued by Bart Simpson’s attitude towards life. Goodman gets the people of Springfield (the town where the Simpsons live) to chant in a motivational town hall meeting: “‘Be like the Boy’ ‘Be like the Boy’.” After that, Goodman gets just the ladies in the crowd to chant: “Be like the Boy”, “Be like the Boy.” Then Goodman asks the old people in the back of the crowd to do the same chant. Hilariously, the old people hard of hearing come up with: “We Like Roy, We Like Roy.”
Combined with Halladay being my favorite player, this was naturally one of the best screen names that I’ve ever thought of, in my opinion. I even tried to get that chant going at a couple of Blue Jay games, but it never caught on. This is the gift that I give to you City of Philadelphia! Make the ‘We Like Roy’ chant work!
I’ve come to realization that I will always be a HUGE Halladay fan, no matter where he goes! And to prove this fact, without completly destroying my identity as a life-long ‘die hard’ Blue Jay fan, I’ve taken a drastic step.
That is right! I got a Roy Halladay Phillies jersey, and I wear it proudly, not even being a Phillies fan. Call me a traitor all you like, but I still wear my Halladay Blue Jay jersey just as proudly. Having this jersey is a statement that I realize the economics/business of baseball, and I have accepted it. Halladay wanted to get paid, and go to a winner. As long as that doesn’t come at the Blue Jays expense, I accept it, and embrace it. From now on, I am a serious Phillies fan when Halladay is pitching. I will be skipping Jay games to see Halladay starts! That is a bold statement for me, but in figuring my ‘identity crisis,’ the loyalty I have towards Halladay partially trumped my loyalty towards the Jays. It had an impact, is all I am saying. My personal ‘Blue Jay world’ was devastated by some kind of natural disaster when the Halladay trade went through … to use a terribly timed metaphor.
The Jays Future Identity
In losing Halladay, the Jays have lost their one definable ‘star player’ that all MLB fans,
teams and media were aware of. We now look on to a much younger team
that has wide array of possibly emerging talent. It is hard to say who will be the ‘marquee’ Blue Jay moving forward. Aaron Hill and Adam Lind
would be the likely candidates, but we all know a ‘marquee’ player is
not given that moniker after only one ‘all-star caliber’ year. It
takes time and consistant success. Halladay gave the Jays many
‘all-star caliber’ years. So, who will step into Halladay’s old
shoes? Other than Lind and Hill, the Jays have some intriguing young
players that could be future All-Stars? However, I’m not comfortable
enough to definably predict any of them as that. Brett Wallace, Travis
Snider, Kyle Drabek, Zach Stewart, Shaun Marcum, Dustin McGowan, Ricky
Romero, Brett Cecil and Brandon Morrow are the guys in the
organization that I could possibly see being future All-Stars. If any
two of these guys actually turn into an all-star, the Jays will have a
promising future. That said, nobody can replace ‘the Doc,’ but it will
be interesting to see what player(s) round out the Blue Jay ‘identity‘ for years to come.
In Closing: My Life
In closing, uncertain in life as I look for steady employment, figuring out my baseball allegiance had to be cleared up before appling to more jobs. I was lost. My life usually follows the condition of the Blue Jays franchise in some eerie way. You’d have to talk to me for examples.
Right now, the Jays and I are both searching for an identity. Hear is hoping that we both hope find our identity moving forward.
Scott Rolen was having a fantastic season as a Jay in 2009. As mentioned in previous posts, he made some necessary adjustments to his approach at the plate and became more of a contact hitter. The result was a steady .320 average, and a 28 game hitting streak mid-season.
Rolen was a true professional, and he will be missed in Toronto. Especially the hilarious commerical during Jays games where Rolen is at a drive through window ordering a burger.
Well, you always have to give value, to get value and I believe the Jays were able to do that this trade deadline. In the deal the Jays were able to acquire third baseman Edwin Encarnacion, relief pitcher Josh Roenicke, and relief/starting pitching prospect Zach Stewart.
Aquiring Edwin Encarnacion in the deal is a little bit of a risk. We don’t know what we are going to get from this guy?? He had very good year at the plate last season, but 2009 has seen Edwin hampered by injury and struggling at the dish. Defensively the Jays will definately take a hit, as Encarnacion cannot ‘hold a candle’ to perennial Gold-Glove candidate Scott Rolen. With this deal, the Jays make third base possibly a problem area in the future. I don’t think anyone is envisioning Encarnacion in our long-term future … right now at least.
Roenicke is a young hard throwing reliever that could be inserted into the Jays pen ASAP. With closing issues, set-up issues and overall wear and tear on the pen this season, Roenicke will provide some needed depth to the pen. Who knows? He could even step up to the closer role at some point???
Zach Stewart is another hard throwing youngster. It is always nice to see the Jays aquire a young player that has succeeded everywhere he has played in the minors! Stewart sports a 1.67 ERA at three minor league levels this year. He relieved 9 games in AAA, and managed to pitch at a 0.79 ERA clip, getting a couple of 2 inning saves. Stewart also started 14 games at the between class A and AA this season, doing very well in those starts. Sources say the Jays may be primarily looking at him as a starter. Starter or reliever, Stewart looks to be a valuable asset for the Jays moving forward.
Quite frankly, I can’t wait to see the young, hard-chucking Texas boy pitch!! Yee-Haw! Sorry, I sometimes spontaneously combust over new New Blue Jay talent.
I will miss Scott ‘the rock,’ but I’m glad the Jays made this deal. At least it is something!
Come 2010, we will see where we are in terms of the standings, and replay this Halladay thing all over again. Blah! I know you all can’t wait.
All sources indicated that we could only get ‘one’ solid prospect out of a Halladay trade. J.P. Ricciardi was looking for much more than that, and Halladay deserved much more that in my opinion.
With the offers that were apparently presented to us, I don’t see why we couldn’t get similar offers next season? The Jays were only getting presented with one legitimate guy, and a couple of low-to-mid level prospects. No doubt, we would get the same next season in Halladay’s contract year. We will see in 2010, barring any Blue Jay playoff run. What Doc will command in 2010? He will at least be worth ‘one’ good prospect next season. Mark my words! Mark’em.
I’m on J.P.’s side with this Rolen deal, and holding firm on Halladay … On the Record.