Just before I left on holiday a nice fellow from USA Today Sports Weekly set me some questions for their Bloggin' Baseball feature. They did this once earlier in the season but didn't use my answers because the Jays when into a slide right after I sent the answers be, This time they did use use 3 of the 8 questions they sent me, but since I answered all of them I figured I'd post them here. A good recycler never wastes anything. The bad part was that they sent the questions late the night before we left so I was up very late getting things together and then got to the questions at about 2:30 in the morning. So maybe not all the answers make sense. Add in many things have changed since then so some of the answers would be different now
1) With the trade deadline now passed and Roy Halladay still a Blue Jay, what are your thoughts on that situation?
It seems to me that, for a change, JP Riccardi told the truth. He said he wouldn't trade Halladay unless he got an offer that blew him away. He didn't get that offer. I've been running on the theory that anytime JP talks to the media he lies. I'm not sure that that is a bad thing, I don't think there is anything in the job description of a GM that says he has to be honest with the media. In this case I was sure he would cave in at the deadline and take less than what he originally wanted. He didn't, and I'm kind of proud of him.
2) Are you satisfied with how Ricciardi handled it based on the reported offers?
I am. JP is not a very well liked figure in Toronto. A few games ago fans chanted ‘trade JP'. Now that he didn't trade Halladay I'm seeing people complaining that JP should have taken what he could have got at the deadline. For many fans whatever JP does is wrong. I've read fans say everything that has gone right with the Jays is Cito Gaston's doing and everything that has gone wrong is JP, forgetting that JP got us Marco Scutaro, Scott Downs, Scott Richmond for nothing. Scott Rolen and Lyle Overbay in great trades. And Aaron Hill, Adam Lind, Ricky Romero and several other great young pitching arms in the draft.
3) Do you think Halladay will see out his contract in Toronto or be traded this offseason or next deadline?
I think if JP gets a good offer then Doc will be gone this winter but I don't see him lowering his asking price. If not, then next deadline, if the Jays aren't in the race, if we were offered better prospects than what we would get from the 2 draft picks we would pick up if Doc signed with another team as a free agent, then I'd imagine he would go then.
4) What do you think about the other deals, most notably the Rolen trade?
I loved watching Scott Rolen play ball, he is a favorite of mine. His defense is just amazing and his bat as been terrific this year. Saying that, I'd imagine his trade value will never be higher than it is right now. Edwin Encarnacion had 26 home runs last year, he's not hitting great this year but he started the season hurt, he's doing better lately and he's 8 years younger than Rolen. The two pitchers we picked up look like they could be good, Josh Roenicke could be a closer in a year or two. Zach Stewart has pitched at three levels this season, from A to Triple-A, he is only 22 and is striking out almost 8 batters per 9 innings. He could be a very good Major League starter very soon. Add in that Rolen asked to be traded closer to home, I think we came off ok on this deal.
5) What do the events of this week do to the Jays long-term hopes? What is it going to take for them to compete in the AL East?
I think not trading Halladay helps some in the short term, maybe not in the long term. I think the Rolen deal adds to our pitching depth. What will it take to compete? Would luck work as an answer? We've had 8 starting pitchers on the DL this season. If we are to compete that can't happen. Vernon Wells and Alex Rios have to hit like they did last year instead of being the drags on the batter order they are this year. Kevin Millar has to go far far away from Toronto. And, likely, the Yankees and the Red Sox have to have a off year. Those things could happen, not likely but you never know.
6) What would you like to see out of the rest of this season (including any potential offseason deals)?
Mostly? I'd like to see Kevin Millar released. We keep being told how great he is in the clubhouse but unfortunately the game is played on the field. The guy can't hit and can't play defense and there isn't much more to baseball. We have a couple of players in Triple-A that could easily be at least as good (bad?) as he has been and might progress from there. Beyond that? I'd like Travis Snider back up with the Jays and see him play every day. When he was up at the start of the year Cito was ‘protecting' him from lefty pitching, so he'd play a game and sit a game, play 2 and sit 3 and surprisingly enough he couldn't get in a groove. And I'd like to see more from our young starting pitchers. As they go, so goes our future.
7) If Halladay remains, do the Blue Jays have a shot at the playoffs next year?
Yeah they would have a shot. Ricky Romero has looked great this year. Brett Cecil has been good and Marc Rzepczynski (worth 40 points in Scrabble) looks like the real deal as well. Scott Richmond is a keeper. Add in the return of Shawn Marcum from Tommy John surgery and we could have a very good starting rotation.
A return to form from Rios and Wells would be needed. With Hill, Lind, Snider and Scutaro (if we resign him) and those two we would have the beginnings of a decent batting order. If things break right well, we could be in the race.
8) Of all the reported offers for Halladay, would you have taken any of them and which ones?
I didn't hear one that I thought was ‘the one', some rumors came close but we really needed to get back a pitcher that could grow into a number one type pitcher and an impact bat. I don't think anyone offered us that.
9) If you could take one player from each other team in the AL East, which would it be? (one from each team)
Let's start with the easy one first, Adam Jones from the Orioles, sorry Vernon, but his defense and bat would be great to have. Mark Teixeira from the Yankees, we need power from the corner infield spots. Evan Longoria from the Rays, he'll be great for another 10 to 15 years. I was going to pick Kevin Youkilis from the Red Sox, but I've filled both corner infield spots and I would get tired watching him complain every time a strike is called against him. Would it be so hard to take a call like a man occasionally? Canadian Jason Bay has appeal, but I think I'd take Josh Beckett to be the number 2 starter behind Doc. Can you work that out for us? I'd buy a lifetime subscription to Sports Weekly if you could.