Three days until the pitchers and catchers reports and until Jose Bautista's arbitration hearing and all is quiet in Blue Jay land. Hugo, Johnny and I had fun attempting our first podcast the other night. I'm not sure how it will be for people listening, three friends agreeing on everything, but we enjoyed it. Johnny is in the process of editing out everything I said, so it should be posted in the next little bit.
I thought we'd talk about what would make this season a success for the Jays, other than won/loss record. I think the Jays season will be a success if:
- John Farrell grows into his job. He will have to deal with all the personalities of the players, deal with the media, handle criticism, figure what to delegate to his coaches, as well as deal with all the in game stuff. I don't expect him to always be perfect, but if he can learn from his mistakes life will be good. He is surrounded by a very experienced coaching staff, letting them shine will be part of the job.
- Alex Anthopoulos surprises us every now and then with a trade or a signing or something.
- Travis Snider and J.P. Arencibia establish themselves as major leaguers. I'm glad that Snider is out of options, so they can't play around with him any more. Put him in the line up and leave him. For JP, I hope the suggestions that he 'can't call a game' disappear and he can be allowed to grow into his role.
- The fourth and fifth starter spots in the rotation get sorted out early and, whoever gets the jobs, they hold up their end, giving the team a chance to win games. Last year the fifth starter spot was a black hole. It would be nice if we had someone that we could put in the spot and leave him there. I am looking forward to having Kyle Drabek show us his potential.
- Aaron Hill and Adam Lind bounce back some. Aaron is saying all the right things, but then he was saying the right things going into spring last year too. It would also be nice if Lind convinces everyone he can play first and that, when he does make an error, everyone doesn't decide that he can't do it.
- Our prospects take a step forward. Especially the outfield prospects. It would be really nice if Eric Thames or Adam Loewen or Darin Mastroianni or even Moises Sierra step up so we aren't dealing with the unhappy idea of Juan Rivera playing everyday. Good seasons from Brett Lawrie, Anthony Gose and Adeiny Hechavarria would also make us all feel better about the future.
- A closer is chosen early, does a good job and is kept to be our closer for the next few years. I have little doubt that Frank Francisco will be the closer coming out of camp, barring injury. I'd like it if he does a good job and the team holds on to him for awhile.
- Jose Bautista proves that last year wasn't a fluke. I really don't see last year as a fluke, it wasn't like his home runs were barely over the wall, like Alex Gonzalez was doing. I think he'll give us 30+ home runs, but then it is easier to say than do.
- If Brandon Morrow pitches like he did after the first month or so of last season. He really has special 'stuff' but keeping it in the strike zone is important. He could end up being the ace of the staff in a year, when he no longer has inning restrictions holding him back.
- If the games are fun to watch. Last year, win or lose, most of the games were great for us watching. Baseball is entertainment. If they entertain us, all is good.
What will make this Jay's season a success in your opinion?