Blue Jays Reflections: Playing for Next Year?
- Updated: August 27, 2009
Hi all. Time for our monthly look in from north of the border. Actually, it is well past time. Sorry, I’ve been on holiday and then I tried to catch up on everything that wasn’t being done over the holiday. And I’m lazy. But I digress.
What has happened in the world of the Jays in the last month? You might have heard that we didn’t trade Roy Halladay after the most publicized trade negotiations in the history of baseball. JP Riccardi stated at the start that he would only trade Doc if the price was right. I’m actually kind of proud of him that he stuck to his guns on that one.
We did trade Scott Rolen. Rolen was a favorite of mine, he is great fun to watch on the field. Defensively he makes at least one amazing play a series and he was hitting terrific for us this year. Apparently he wanted to be traded closer to home. I think JP did pretty well getting Edwin Encarnicion, who is not near his equal defensively, but he had 26 homers last year. He’s not been as good this year but then he hurt his hand at the start of the season. It will likely take till next year before he is 100% again.
But the best part of the trade is the 2 young pitchers we picked up: Josh Roenicke (son of Gary who played for the Orioles) is in our bullpen now and looks like he could have the stuff of a future closer and Zachry Stewart looks like he could be a terrific starter in the future. He’s in Triple-A now but likely will be in the fight for a starting job next year. If he doesn’t make the team out of spring training he likely will be up at some point. For a trade that Rolen asked for, Riccardi did a good job of getting value for him.
What else did the Jays do? Oh yeah. We gave away 2 time All-Star Alex Rios for nothing. Rios has great talent. I guess the best way I could put it was to steal something Bill James wrote years ago about another underachiever: he’s a $100 million airport with a $50 control tower. His mind often doesn’t seem to be in the game and I’m not sure he is teachable. His contract really isn’t that bad but he wore out his welcome in Toronto. So when the White Sox claimed him the Jays said ‘go ahead’.
On the field the Jays have finally called up Travis Snider again. Which is good since we aren’t playing for anything at least we ought to get a look at our best prospect. We also called up long time minor leaguer Randy Ruiz. Randy hit a homer in each of his first two games against the New York Yankees. He likely won’t be great but he can’t be worse than Kevin Millar has been for us.
Beyond that we are just playing out the string now. The good part is that we have 3 really good looking left-handed starting pitchers that are making our future starting rotation look like it could be good. Brett Cecil, Ricky Romero and Marc Rzepczynski (who we are calling Scrabble for his 40 point name) are all looking good. Cecil will likely have to be sat down for September to keep his innings pitched down to a reasonable amount this season. Each of the three look like they could be strong members of our rotation next year and in the future. And we get to watch Doc pitch every 5th day.
There are rumors that Jay’s ownership are going to loosen the purse strings this off season. Some figure they will give the team $20 million more to play with for player salaries. Other interesting off season stories will include the possibility that the Roy Halladay trade talks will heat up again and JP Riccardi’s future with the team will likely be a topic of conversation. JP’s been GM for 8 seasons and hasn’t lead the Jays into the playoffs yet.