Hi everyone. We ran a running dialogue of our contributors last offseason and it was a big success, so we've done it againthis season. Without further adieu, part one.
Hugo: Before we kick off, we have a lot of new members this offseason, so let’s just introduce ourselves. I’m Hugo. I live in Silver Spring, Maryland, and work in Washington DC, so I get to catch plenty of Jays-Orioles and even the occasional Jays-Nationals game. Mrs. Hugo and I have a daughter who is entering her age 4 season and a 7-month old son, so we don’t get up to Toronto as often as we’d like, though we love it there.
Tom: I’m Tom, married, three boys, buried under snow, at the moment, here in Calgary, Alberta. The last few years I’ve been able to get to a Jays series or two. Last year they knew I was coming, they brought in police from all over the country just for me.
jessef: Hi, my name is Jesse. I live in Carbondale, Illinois, where I’m an ecology grad student who spends as much time as possible at the bar with a signed photo of former Saluki outfielder Dave Stieb.
JohnnyG: Hey, JohnnyG here. Live in London Ontario spending most of my time between the office and taking care of my twin two year old girls. When not otherwise occupied by Baseball/Hockey/Sports in general I am probably watching Pixar’s Cars for the umpteenth gazillion time, Hey, at least it isn’t Barney or whatever else they are fixated on for that day.
masterkembo: Hey everyone, I’m Ken and I live and work in Kitchener. I play with dirt for a living, and when I’m not working and following the local sports teams, I spend my free time playing sports, video games and board games. Oh, and after 8 years of saying I would never do so, I’m reading Harry Potter at the girlfriends insistence. I’m not convinced it’s awesome yet, but we’ll see how that goes.
Tom: I read them, they are fun easy reads, but I hated the last two.
JohnnyG: They kinda lure you in, the first couple are such quick reads and hold your attention enough that it pulls you in.
Tom: I started because my son was reading them and there was a story in the paper about a death in the second one that, this story said, might affect children. So I read the first one quick and read to the death in the second one so I could talk to him about it, but it was no big deal. Then I figured I might as well read them all.
Hugo: They have their charm for sure. The movies sort of ruined it for me, though.
Hugo. So, it’s been a bit of a quiet offseason for Toronto so far. It’s not over yet, but has anyone else found it vaguely disappointing?
Tom: It has been for me. I expected we’d pick up something, a DH, 3B or OFer...something. Instead we get a couple of old relief pitchers and Rajai Davis. Maybe we’ll still pickup someone before the start of spring training, but we are getting down to the wire.
Jesse: It certainly will be unless we get Manny or sign Jose Bautista long term. I think some of the moves that have been made (trading for Lawrie and re-(?)signing EE) have been good for the club but we haven’t exactly made a big splash.
JohnnyG: See I have had this conversation with a couple of people at work. Yes I would like another big move as I had actually convinced myself that Manny was coming here, however in the grand scheme of things even if the season started tomorrow I wouldn’t be angry. I guess I am more content with the overall direction of the organization and it helps me look past the immediate short-comings. I look at what the Rays were recently able to acquire for Garza and all because they could lose an arm and still have an amazing rotation. I think in a few years we will be right there. Of course I would love to see them make a splash and move them into contention right now, but I don’t see a person left on the market that could put them right there. Signing another solid pen arm and a bat (even an aging one like Manny) would really help, but I guess I have made peace at this point.
masterkembo: I’m pretty much with Johnny here. I think we all would have loved a high-profile signing this off season, however, I’m thrilled with the direction this club is going and I think the next few years are going to be an exciting time for Jays fans. I don’t think we’ve lost much from last years team, and it should be fun getting to watch some of the young guys that have come up through the Jays system getting some playing time.
Tom: I do like the direction the team is going, in the long run. But, as it sits at the moment, Davis and Encarnacion have to play every day, maybe they both will be great. But great for Davis wouldn’t be average in LF. Right now our bench looks to be McDonald, McCoy, Molina and Corey Patterson. Is there any of that 4 that you would want to see get 300 at bats?
JohnnyG: That’s fair and I do mention it in one of the questions below that I guess I am not completely on board as I thought. I don’t want to see Davis everyday, but on the other hand maybe he can surprise.... Last year at this time I was yelling about how Bautista at best was a platoon player.
Tom: Davis hitting 50+ home runs would be more than a surprise. It is true he might surprise us, but in my view that means a .350 OBP, little power and a good average, not bad, but still not what I’d like to see from LF.
Hugo: Thanks, fellas. And thanks to Paul Simon for supplying this bit's running title. Everyone, please post your own thoughts in the comments and join us again next time for more on the direction of the Blue Jays!