2010 MLB Season Preview: Toronto Blue Jays

>> Friday, March 5, 2010

Congratulations Canada. You showed that your nations hockey team is the best in the world. However, your baseball team is a whole different story.

Sometimes we really have to feel for the folks that run the Toronto Blue Jays. They are the only Canadian team, and they are in a division with the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and now the Tampa Bay Rays. Life is tough for a “Small Market team” and they never seem to be able to afford their stars for the long term. The big questions for this club is who will replace Roy Halladay as the ace? Can Vernon Wells regain his from 2006, and does new general manager Alex Anthopoulos have a solid plan for the future?

In trading away Halladay, we can effectively argue that they traded away the best pitcher over the last decade. Now the Blue Jays do not have a pitcher who has thrown 200 innings in any one MLB season. The short term plan seems to be one of quantity over quality, the Jays have invited 30 some pitchers to Spring Training. At the moment only LHP Ricky Romero is guaranteed a spot on the starting rotation. Shaun Marcum, Brandon Morrow, and Dana Eveland may just be the leading contenders right now to round out the starting rotation.

I know some of you are thinking I'm crazy, and that 30 pitchers sounds like a ridiculous number. Well, I thought the same thing til I checked out their spring training roster. Click here.

In 2006 Vernon Wells emerged as one of the games best Center Fielders. Since then he has severely regressed, 2009 was the low point where he hit just .260 with 15 homers and 66 RBI. Wells is 31, but that isn’t exactly old for baseball, but wrist, leg, and shoulder injuries have aged him beyond his years. Since the Jays owe him $107 million over the next five seasons he must produce bigger numbers that he has lately.

So far new GM Anthopoulos has impressed by increasing the size of the Jays scouting department. While that will not pay off short term, in the long run they should be able to find some talent they can afford to keep. They have two big time prospects in Brett Wallace and Kyle Drabek who will spend 2010 getting some seasoning in the minor leagues. Short term they may struggle a bit, but the long term looks a little better every day.

They say that pitching wins championships. I think we could be waiting a while for a championship to come through Toronto.

Here’s what I think the lineup may look like:

1. RF Jose Bautista
2. 2B Aaron Hill
3. DH Adam Lind
4. CF Vernon Wells
5. 1B Lyle Overbay
6. 3B Edwin Encarnacion
7. C John Buck
8. LF Travis Snider
9. SS Alex Gonzalez

SP: Ricky Romero
SP: Shaun Marcum
SP: Brandon Morrow
SP: Brian Tallet
SP: Scott Richmond

CP: Kevin Gregg

*Don't be surprised if Kyle Drabek is in this rotation by mid-season.

On Deck: Tampa Bay Rays