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Doctor, Thanks for Seeing Me Today, I'm Glad

The Who contributed today's title.  What I saw of yesterday's game was a thing of beauty.  Doc, home runs, and good defense.  For what more could one ask?  Alex Rios continued to hit well, with a triple and an opposite-field HR, both Inglett and Scooter did a nice job atop the lineup, and Adam Lind hit his 7th HR.  Lind's .843 OPS, by the way, is 70 points higher than the next Jays (Wells and Inglett at the moment, with Overbay close behind them), by the way.  

What more can be said about Doc?  He needed just 110 pitches to carve up the Red Sox offense, which just got finished demolishing Texas' pitching staff and generally makes things very difficult for opposing pitchers. He took a shutout into the 9th, when Dustin Pedroia hit a home run.

http://bleacherreport.com/images_root/image_pictures/0026/2280/halladay.roy.1_article.jpg

Shaun Marcum will pitch this afternoon against Josh Beckett, as the Jays look to take the 2-game series.  Marcum is coming off 2 effective starts and looks to continue pitching well.  Maybe the Jays can start hitting home runs at a normal rate? 

As rince noted in passing last night, Cito Gaston noted that he expects to be without A.J. Burnett next season (from the Star):

"It certainly looks like A.J. probably won't be here -- I don't know," Gaston said on Saturday. "He seems to want to get closer to home. Just put the numbers together and you can figure that one out real easy. He's probably got to do what's best for his family."

 

For his part, A.J. said that Gaston is just speculating and that he hasn't yet made up his mind or really even thought about it. He also mentioned:

"I look at it as I'm finally living up to my potential and my expectations," [Burnett] said. "I don't really care about the [free-agent] market and money and things like that. I'm finally healthy, and I'm finally winning some ballgames and helping this team out for the first time in three years. That's the way I look at it."

 

I've said before that it seems to me that A.J. really likes it in Toronto. Of course, that doesn't mean he'll stay, and he most likely will not, but it is clear that he has some mixed feelings about leaving. While A.J. gets bashed in the papers for being surly by the press, the more honest members of the press (Wilner for example) have made it clear that A.J. gets on very well with the Jays and that they view him as a great teammate.

Finally, there's J.P., the guy who actually has the power (at the moment, anyway) to resign Burnett - J.P. said that the Jays probably would not look to replace Burnett, should he leave, through the free agent market - and that the Jays would instead fill the position with someone already in the Jays' organization. This is probably a sensible position - most free agent non-elite pitchers do not at all work out well for the teams that sign them, and there's really no point in shelling out $10 million a year for the likes of Miguel Batista or Carlos Silva. On the other hand, there are some elite starting pitchers that could be on the market this offseason - including C.C. Sabathia, A.J., and Ben Sheets. But those are really going to cost and even if the Jays wanted to sign one of them (I'd love Sheets), the best tactic is to play it under the radar anyway. 

J.P. is right that the Jays have some depth at starting pitcher, but a lot depends on the recovery of Dustin McGowan and Casey Janssen, neither of which is at all guaranteed.  If those two return and are healthy, the Jays are in good shape to go on without A.J. (though Janssen might go back to the bullpen).  If neither returns, we could be looking at a Doc-Marcum-Litsch-Purcey-Richmond/Wolfe/Romero rotation - since Cecil likely won't be ready to start in the majors at the beginning of next season. 

In any event, I think Ricciardi will make a concerted effort to resign A.J. before he drops out.  I think he will add money and a couple of seasons.  We can talk about the efficacy of doing that if it happens, but that's my guess.  A.J. has pitched well for Toronto and Ricciardi will want to keep Toronto's rotation as a strong point going into next season.  On the other hand, Burnett leaving could give the Jays extra money to spend on a SS and a big bat (since it's my opinion that Snider is also not going to be a Jay on opening day).