Friday, January 2, 2009

Bright Spots and Low Lights for '09


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With just over three months until Opening Day 2009, I am chomping at the bit to watch some regular season baseball. So to prepare ourselves for the upcoming 2009 season, let's take a look at some of the bright spots and low lights associated with the 2009 Toronto Blue Jays.

Bright Spot - The Bullpen

A shaky bullpen cost the Mets a playoff spot last year. This proves that it’s crucial to have relievers that can hold the lead. The Blue Jays had the best bullpen in baseball this past season, and things look to be on par for 2009 with the return of Jeremy Accardo and Casey Janssen. The combination of relievers led by B.J. Ryan were all lights out.

Bright Spot - The Doc

Regardless of the state of the rest of the starting rotation, Halladay is as dependable as a starting pitcher can be. When Roy is healthy, he is deadly. Opposing players should start practicing their “walk of shame” back to the dugout.


Bright Spot - A Full Year of Cito

I wouldn't completely credit Cito Gaston with the midseason turnaround of the 2008 Blue Jays, but he certainly had a lot to do with it. Since Cito will be there start to finish, maybe the consistency will add to even more success this year.



Low Light - Starting Rotation


Losing three of your five starting pitchers would be a huge blow to any team, so obviously it will be difficult to find suitable replacements. It looks like Hallday, Litsch and Purcey will be starters, but the final two rotation spots are up for debate. Matt Clement has a lot of promise, as do young pitchers like Brett Cecil and Ricky Romero.

Low Light - Who’s the DH?

As it currently sits, it looks like Adam Lind and Travis Snider will platoon to become the Jays’ designated hitter this season. They’re not exactly feared batters, but more so placeholders until a “Plan B” is constructed.


Low Light - Lack of Cash

Blame the economy, blame the passing of Ted Rogers - whatever the reason, the Blue Jays do not have money bags to spend this year. That means in order to land any big free agents, J.P. Ricciardi will have to get creative with trades or bartering with other teams.

Overall, there are a lot of things to look forward to this year, but there are also a lot of things to keep in mind. The American League East is the toughest division in baseball, but loading up on the most talented free agents does not always guarantee success. As we saw with the Tampa Bay Rays last year, almost anything is possible. And we are certainly putting a lot of hope that the same is also possible also for the 2009 Toronto Blue Jays.

6 comments:

  1. You know, I completely forgot about Jeremy Accardo and the brutal season he had last year. His return, if it is to form, will be huge for the pen.

    I'm also really looking forward to seeing Casey Janssen back in uniform. He was so dynamite out of the pen two years ago. Hopefully he can rekindle that magic in the rotation.

    Basically, I haven't given up on 2009 just yet.

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  2. Accardo and Janssen will be a welcome addition to the bullpen this year. I'm tired of hearing this nonsense about how Janssen should be moved to the starting rotation - not a good idea for a player who's coming off a torn labrum injury. A few innings here and there is fine, but not a starting spot.

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  3. I'd say that more than anything, the cash issue is from the Jays' backloaded contracts. A lot of players' contracts are jumping up to double digits this year...and next year...

    In 2010, Wells' contract will shoot up to 12.5 from 1.5, Rios' contract jumps to about 6 million from 0.7, and Aaron Hill is beginning his years of 2 million dollar per year pay raises.

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  4. Good point, Chris. Vernon's jump from 1.5 to 12.5 million is crazy. If the Jays front office is complaining about having no cash this year, imagine what it will be like next season!

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  5. JP's time is over. the low light for me was the fact he didn't get fired. i want a GM that cares! is that TOO much to ask 4?

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  6. ps: your bullpen pick is a good one. u gotta have that to win.

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