The Toronto Blue Jays are not that bad of a team. It's my belief that with a little money, some common sense & a commitment to win from Rogers, the Jays could turn it around in time for the 2010 season. I'm talking about a $120 million payroll. It's proven that the only way the fans come out is if the Jays are winning - spending the money properly can secure a competitive team that will finally give the Toronto baseball fan a reason to cheer come September. Let's start with the pitching staff.
I think the Jays have given up on Halladay too soon. The guy wants to be on a winner, so why not give him a winner in 2010 & convince him to stay? We produce a winner by following this plan. With Halladay leading the rotation, the return of Shaun Marcum and the sophomore season of Ricky Romeo, the Jays have a solid 1-2-3. I don't believe the Jays need to sign a free agent pitcher to shore up the rotation. David Purcey, Brad Mills, Scott Richmond, Mark Rzepczynski, Brian Tallet, Robert Ray, Jesse Litsch, Casey Janssen & Brett Cecil all fighting for 2 spots. The rotation looks great.
In the bullpen the Jays have a great closer in Scott Downs. Jason Frasor, Shawn Camp, Brandon League & Brian Wolfe should all have spots in my opinion. Here's my first big problem with the team. Jesse Carlson has to go. Cito loves the guy but he's just an awful relief pitcher. Teams have figured him out. The Jays have enough young arms to produce a good, not very good bullpen. There's no reason to spend $2-3 million on a reliever that will do as well as a young guy. Brian Tallet gets a spot easily if he isn't in the rotation.
The outfield is set right now with Adam Lind in left, Vernon Wells in center & Travis Snider in right. Wells is staying put due to his overpaid contract. I'd like to move Lind in to play 1B/LF/DH. Aaron Hill is the starter at 2B and apparently Alex Gonzalez & Johnny Mac will split shortstop duties. The Jays need a catcher, third baseman, a left fielder & a first baseman. Here's how we fill it:
- Sign Yorvit Torrealba to play Catcher. Torrealba is a fantastic defensive catcher with a great ability to call a game. Having a great arm behind the plate will help with the young arms on the mound. The Jays would be looking at a $3-4 million dollar contract for him.
- Sign Jason Bay to play LF and occasionally DH. The Jays will have to overpay to get Jason Bay to come to Toronto but it's doable. He wants five years, give him five years. Five years, $85 million, roughly $17 million a season. Well worth his 36 homers & 119 RBIs from last season.
- Trade Lyle Overbay for scraps. You're not going to get much for Overbay. But he needs to be removed for the Jays to fill that spot with a superior player.
- Sign Nick Johnson to play 1B and occasionally DH. He had a down year for HR/RBI last year but still finished 2nd in OBP in the National League & that's huge. This team needs baserunners! Jays could land him for $6-7 million/season.
- Sign Chone Figgins to play 3B. The guy can play almost anywhere but this would be his main position. He gives the Jays a leadoff man, which they are in dire need of, as well as a great offensive threat. It will probably cost the Jays $10-12 million a season to bring the guy to Canada. I love his 42 SB from last season.
That would mean Encarnacion would be on the bench unless he could be traded away, which would be for the best. Other bench warmers would be Raul Chavez, Johnny Mac most days and 2-3 more spots to fill. But let's look at the batting lineup:
- 3B Chone Figgins
- 2B Aaron Hill
- 1B Nick Johnson
- LF Jason Bay
- DH Adam Lind
- CF Vernon Wells
- RF Travis Snider
- C Yorvit Torrealba
- SS Alex Gonzalez
That's a stellar lineup to go along with Halladay-Marcum-Romero-Cecil-Litsch!
C'mon Rogers, this is doable!