So here we are. The fourth and final episode of this year’s post-season roundtable. If you’re playing catch-up, I advise you to read the introductions, then go for the first and second set of answers. If you’re already up to speed, here you go, the final set of answers:
A clerical error results in you being GM long enough to make one move this off-season. What move do you make and why?
Drew: I try and pry Alex Gordon out of the cold, dead hands of Dayton Moore. Too much talent to give up this year. I’d overpay, relative to what everyone else offers. Everybody and their sister will try and rip Moore off because the Royals are idiots, I’d make an almost fair offer and give him a winter of Buttering up.
Ian: Sign Carlos Pena. I don’t know where this stemmed from, but I think it’s a wise move to go and get him because if the Adam Lind at first base experiment fails, Pena can step in and play solid defense at first. If Lind finally gets his big boy glove going, then Pena reverts to designated hitter. The only problem is Scott Boras is Carlos Pena’s agent, so you know he won’t settle than anything less than a 2-3 year deal.
Cole: Hire a new manager who will play young players with high upside who are the future of the organization and not feel obliged to play veterans on their way out of the organization just to make sure they can get a good contract in free agency.
Paul: In a perfect world I would sign Carl Crawford. HA! But that’s never going to happen. The Jays need base hits and speed at the top of the lineup. I would try to trade* John Buck for that. I would also shop around Bautista to see what’s on the market for him. There’s no way he puts up numbers like that again.
Chris: Throw a ton of money at Carl Crawford and sign the hell out of him. Dude gets on base, runs like a madman and is just all around excellent at baseball. Anytime you’ve got a chance to add a guy who just turned in a 6.8 WAR season, I say you do it.
(* Buck is a free agent after this season, but let’s not overreact. Letting Buck walk is tantamount to trading him for a draft pick and some financial flexibility, OK?)
Do you realistically see the Jays competing for a playoff spot next year?
Drew: Only if more things break their way. They need to avoid down years and injury again and hope the Yankees and Red Sox are too old and not completely re-tooled. Be like the Padres in everything except the “gagging away the division lead” part.
Ian: As 2010 has shown us, anything is possible. A team that was supposed to finish well under .500 and even last in the American League East has defied logic and posted 80+ win seasons for the last 7 of 9 years. The Blue Jays could be even better next year, but a playoff run would be contingent on two out of the three AL East juggernauts imploding for them to really have a chance in 2011.
Cole: I am the eternal optimist in this sense so my heart says yes even though my head says probably not. However, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in baseball it’s that you never really know. There are so many unknowns involved that until you get out there and play the games it’s hard to say. Let’s keep in mind that this year a lot of pundits had the Jays finishing in last in the East and potentially losing 100 games. They far exceeded that expectation. What’s to say if they are predicted to finish third and win 85ish game next year that they can’t exceed expectation and win 90+ and contend? Hustle and heart, baby.
Paul: Yes. If I didn’t I wouldn’t be a fan.
Chris: As currently constructed, there’s a chance, but there are a lot of ifs attached. If the pitchers keep on pitching like men, if Bautista doesn’t fall off a cliff, if Snider develops further, if Wells doesn’t go back to sucking and Lind and Hill don’t suck again, the team’s definitely got a real chance at competing. But all of that’s assuming Anthopoulos doesn’t completely revamp the team…
Closing thoughts: Is there anything not addressed by the above questions that you’d like to say about the Jays?
Drew: I really hope Jose Bautista hits 30 home runs next year so everybody will just leave him alone.
Ian: I think the one big thing we learned in 2010 is that the Toronto Blue Jays are a very talented group of players who are just on the cusp of hitting their stride. With the starting staff comprised of Marcum, Romero, Morrow and Cecil, they gave the team a great chance of winning night after night. Not very many clubs are fortunate to have as solid a rotation as the Blue Jays, and I definitely think we shouldn’t take it for granted.
Cole: I found this season to be tremendously enjoyable and I’m looking forward to 2011.
Paul: I would like to say having lived in Toronto since March, going to Blue Jays games is an awesome way to spend a few hours. Which leads me to the question: Why don’t more people come to the games?? There’s 3 million people in this city and we fielded an exciting, home-run hitting team that was fun to watch. Yet Toronto was in the bottom 5 in total attendance this year only ahead of teams like Pittsburgh, KC, and Baltimore…teams that totally suck. Come on Toronto. Support the Jays!
Chris: As exciting as the 2010 season was at times, I’m far more excited about this team’s future. Cito’s gone and the young guys will get a chance to play! Snider will (or should) finally get a real chance to show his potential and we should get a better idea of exactly how The Plan will play out now that Anthopoulos won’t be handcuffed by a manager whose sole goal seems to be helping veterans get better contracts.
Check back next year for the next edition of the roundtable, something which the team will hopefully force us to hold off on until November. Of course you can always come back before then if you’re so inclined.