Monday, October 4, 2010
Looking Back At The Blue Jays Season
Yeah, I am a huge Chicago Cubs fan, but I do have a soft spot for the Toronto Blue Jays. I can honestly say now that the season is done, that I certainly under-estimated them this year. I thought this team would lose 90-100 games. I did not think they would be close to finishing at 500 or above. I didn't think they would be better than the Cubs. I like what I saw and I truly believe that this team could be a playoff contender starting next year.
The big story in Toronto this year was the emergence of Jose Bautista. Who could have seen back in spring training that Bautista would lead the majors in homers and swat out 54. It has many wondering if Bautista is clean. Sadly, that is what happens these days thanks to Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. You can't just applaud the feat. You have to question it and wonder if its legit. I understand the skepticism, but I'm not buying it for two reasons.
1) Bautista's body didn't explode in the off-season the way Bonds and Big Mac did.
2) The Jays hit 257 homers on the season. The next highest team was Boston at 211. That didn't happen by accident. Hitting coach Dwayne Murphy needs to take a lot of credit for this. If Bautista had hit 54 and the next highest total was 17-18, I might raise my eyebrows, but they had 7 players that hit 20 or more homers. It would have been 8 had Alex Gonzalez not been traded as he had 17.
As good as Bautista was, the starting pitching was outstanding and gives me reason to wonder A) What if Roy Halladay had stayed one more year and B) if next year is the year for some of these guys. Who envisioned Brett Cecil winning 15 games or Shaun Marcum winning 14. Brandon Morrow is a great pitcher that throws smoke and will just get better. The same for Kyle Drabek, Marc (won;t even try to spell his name) and Jesse Litsch. A new closer is needed as Kevin Gregg is a nightmare, but whatever.
This Toronto team should be set for next year. I don't know if Lyle Overbay will be at first, but Aaron Hill and Yunel Escobar will be at 2nd and short. There are rumblings of moving Hill to 3rd, but I don't know if that will transpire. I can only wonder where Toronto might have been if Hill had hit around 270 instead of flirting with the 200 mark for much of the year. The same with Adam Lind.
This team will need to find someone who can step in and be like Cito Gaston. Someone who is patient enough to play their youth, but smart enough to know what is needed and whether or not that player is good enough. Many good names are out there, it will be interesting if a name guy gets the position or if the organization goes for someone new.
Alex Anthopoulos has people talking baseball again in Toronto. Crowds started to pick up near the end of the season and if this team is in contention, it will make baseball a thing to do in Toronto again. Here's hoping!