Anyway, back to the point. As I watched Matt Stairs and Alex Rios take fastballs right down the middle for strike three my first reaction was not “unlucky” but “stupid fucking cunts”. When I watched Alex Rios not advance to second on a passed ball, unlucky was the farthest thing from my mind. So why are we, the Jays fan base, trying to say they are unlucky when in fact they are not? Because we are ignorant fucks worse than Dick Griffin. What the Jays are, if you feel you have to categorize them, is mediocre.
There is a good discussion going on at Batters Box about the averageness of the Jays. One Dude brings up a pretty good point of how Alex Rios is the only player on the team that is doing significantly less than we should expect. The frat boys at DJF raise the issue as well. Hmm, that’s a kind of scary thought, right? The Jays are not actually playing way below expectation? So what should we expect when Alex Rios starts hitting like he can and Shaun Marcum stops his Greg Maddux impression? Probably the team we have now, a .500, mediocre team.
How does the team get better? I’ll start with the pitching because I believe, as of right now, it is good enough to be a playoff calibre pitching staff. Next year, there is one major piece missing in AJ Burnett, and although we can not realistically expect one of David Purcey, Brett Cecil, Davis Romero, Brandon League, or (hopefully!!) Casey Janssen to fill Burnett’s shoes, I think of this group they can adequately give us a solid MLB starter for 2009.
The offence is a whole other issue. For what they add offensively and defensively Wells, Rios, Rolen and Hill are position players on a MLB playoff team. If Overbay can put up a .850 OPS and provide his solid glove work he makes the cut (barely). I don’t know where to put Matt Stairs, but a strict platoon with Kevin Mench should give pretty solid DH numbers. That leaves three players, and three positions in need. An average team (like the Jays are this year) has an average to below average 7-8-9 hitters. A good team has an average to below average 8-9 hitters. A very good team has only one hole in the line-up and an awesome team has none.
The Jays can not float with their current LF, C, and SS situation. One of these can remain, and if I had to choose it would be the catching. If Zaun/Barajas are our number 9 hitters and the weakest link in the order we are in a position to do some damage. So, in order for this we need to find an improvement in LF and SS. LF is easy, call up Adam Lind and find a lefty masher to platoon him with. I would try to throw a bullpen arm or two at Tampa and see if they are willing to let Johnny Gomes go (he seems out of favour there). If not him, there are a plethora available. So that leaves SS. There are two free agents that I know about coming into next year, Orlando Cabrera and Rafael Furcal. The also happen to play for two teams that have money and seem to have a desire to retain them. I don’t think the Jays will have any luck prying them away. The other option is a trade. Khalil Greene and Bobby Crosby are two guys that can probably be had. I think you have to do it. It is still not ideal but it is an improvement. (The final option is trying to trade Ricky Romero for Troy Tulowitzki -yes, I had to go there).
I have been talking about next years team but really, we are almost two months into this year and as Wilner always mentions there is still plenty of ball to be played. Billy Beane once said he uses the first two months to evaluate his team, the next two to fix the deficiencies, and the last two to make a playoff push. If a Blue Jay playoff push is really as simple as calling up Lind, and trying to make a swap for Greene and Gomes, is it not worth a shot?
If the Jays don’t improve their SS and LF situations either this year or next they are not going to make the playoffs. I know this is getting ahead of ourselves, but at some point you might have to consider a fire sale. If they were to hold on to Hill, Rios, Marcum and McGowan, - and then trade everyone else of value for young players/prospects, in about three years with Lind, Snider, Cecil, Ahrens, Jackson, Eiland, Arencibia et al ready to join the show the Jays might have a better shot of making the playoffs. The other option is to trade some of those young names mentioned for a real LF and SS. Either way I can live with, but status quo is killing me.
To finish, the Jays are not an unlucky team, they are just an average team. Someone very dear to Dr. K once said “When it comes to luck, you make your own.” I fully believe that. Unlucky is having to watch the EuroVision song contest with your girlfriend- not once, but both semi's and the finals. Although if all songs were like this gem (that unbelievably came in third!) from 2006 it would not be that bad.
Unfortunately the songs are not all like that. In fact they are mostly shit. 25 shit songs. Yes, that is unlucky. (Although since I'm stuck watching, my money is on France this year. Check out the video for France's entry. It has Johnny Mac like style).