1.) Travis Snider is among some of the preseason favourites who could contend for Rookie of the Year. If he stays with the Blue Jays all season, what are his chances against someone like Matt Wieters?
(Tim) I'd still consider Wieters the favorite, but perhaps Snider's extra playing time could outweigh Wieters' superior rate stats. Plus with Snider being just 21 and drawing rave reviews from scouts, there is no reason he can't destroy projections and hit 25 HR or something.2.) There was lots of off season rumours about how Roy Halladay could be shopped sometime this season. If the Jays tank the first half of the season, could the Blue Jays deal Halladay at the trade deadline?
(Tim) You mean rumors? Just kidding. J.P. Ricciardi allowed for it in his initial comments, but then seemed to get annoyed with the speculation. But if the Jays tank the first two months it makes plenty of sense to explore. The Blue Jays could get a bevy of top prospects in a blockbuster like that.3.) Kevin Millar, Jason Lane, and Adam Lind are all possibilities for the designated hitter position. What do you think are the Blue Jays best options at DH this year?
(Tim) You have to go Lind there...he is the only one of the three with upside. And even without that upside his projections are better.4.) The Blue Jays starting rotation took a big hit with the loss of A.J. Burnett, Shaun Marcum, and Dustin McGowan. Which of their replacements (David Purcey, Scott Richmond, Brad Mills, Ricky Romero) will surprise people the most this year?
(Tim) My money is on Purcey. If the 8.0 K/9 he flashed last year is for real, he'd just need find his minor league control.5.) Things look to be extremely competitive in the American League East this year. How many wins would you expect from the Jays, and where do you think they will finish in the standings?
(Tim) 85 wins, fourth place.6.) With many players coming back from injury, there are a lot of question marks on the team. Which Blue Jay is your sleeper pick for a breakout/comeback season in 2009?
(Tim) Aside from Snider, I like Scott Rolen to have a decent year. I also have always been a Michael Barrett fan so I'll include him.7.) There is a lot of money on the books tied up with players like Scott Rolen, B.J. Ryan and Vernon Wells. Do you think that J.P. Ricciardi could make a trade to open up some money to sign a free agent for next season?
(Tim) Now, I don't think he could or even wants to. But if one of those players is having an excellent year I could see a midseason move. In the cases of Rolen and Wells that'd open up new holes though.8.) Which player will fans be most surprised to see on the Blue Jays final 25-man roster?
(Tim) Ricky Romero? I am not really the right guy for that question.9.) There is a very talented pool of young players in the Blue Jays farm system. What names should fans be most excited to see at the major league level within the next few years?
(Tim) J.P. Arencibia, Brett Cecil, and David Cooper look promising based on what I've read.10.) Tim, it was a little disheartening that the Blue Jays didn't make a big splash like the Yankees and sign and big name free agents in the off season. Tell us a few reasons why Jays fans should be optimistic for 2009.
(Tim) It's still an excellent defensive team, and you have one of the best pitchers in baseball in Roy Halladay. And the offense has the potential for big years from Rios, Wells, Hill, and Snider.Hat tip to Tim for taking the time to answer my questions about the Blue Jays. Remember that MLBTradeRumors.com is the go-to site for all trade talks, free agent signings, roster updates, and everything baseball. It's a daily read for me, and I recommend you do the same and be sure to subscribe to the MLB Trade Rumors feed.