Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Who is the New Face of the Franchise?


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Everywhere you look, there are new faces within the Toronto Blue Jays organization. In just over 12 months, there has been a complete facelift: there's a new president, general manager, manager, and now a new coaching staff.

And since it's a new regime, that means the changes translate on the field as well. Which leads us to the burning question: since there's a new face just about everywhere else, who is the new face of the franchise?

It all came to head as I was trying to figure out which players to put on the new Blue Jay Hunter banner. I had to think long and hard about which players represent the brand new direction of the Toronto Blue Jays.

Generally speaking, the Blue Jays have at least two or three marketable players in mind before the season comes to an end. This past year, it was Adam Lind and Aaron Hill who were featured prominently in their marketing material such as pocket and magnet schedules.

Just a few weeks ago, I received my 2011 season magnet in the mail, and which Blue Jays were featured? None other than Jose Bautista, Vernon Wells, and Shaun Marcum. Apparently that's mirrored as well inside the 2011 pocket schedules.

Not that a franchise player is necessarily crowned or announced, but you get the sense that each team has a "go-to guy". One could argue that the Blue Jays really haven't had a true franchise player since the days of Carlos Delgado and most recently, Roy Halladay.

Before I delve into who the next face of the franchise could possibly be, maybe we should explore what exactly constitutes a franchise player.

In my mind, a franchise guy has to be somebody who's with the team for the long haul and either under team control for several seasons or signed to a multi-year contract. Automatically, names that fall into that category are Ricky Romero, Adam Lind, Vernon Wells, and depending on how many options are picked up, Aaron Hill.

They also have to be somebody who has displayed they aren't flash in the pan or a one-season wonder. That's my reasoning for ruling out somebody like Jose Bautista because as much as I love the guy, he's going to have an uphill battle trying to match his stellar 2010 season. The bar has been set so incredibly high for him that anything less than 54 home runs in the eyes of some fans will be a disappointment.

One of the intangibles of a franchise player is they have to be an ambassador for the team. Somebody who isn't afraid to speak to the media ... especially after those tough losses. A player who's very visible in the community, and is a good presence in the clubhouse: like Vernon Wells or Jose Bautista.

Now the organization has pretty much decided who their franchise guys are going to be for the next year, but I'm interested to hear what you guys think.

Which Blue Jay is the new face of the franchise? Take a second to vote in the poll below and/or leave a comment with your thoughts.

Who is the new face of the franchise?



On the pitching front, I'd have to say the man who's leading the charge is Ricky Romero. Armed with a new 5-year deal, RR Cool Jay isn't going anywhere any time soon. And he even avoided the sophomore slump and actually performed a little better in his second full season than his first.

In my mind, Ricky Romero has quickly become a solid 200+ innings pitcher and is on the cusp of being crowned as the staff ace.

As far as position players are concerned, my vote for the new face of the franchise is Travis Snider. It's been a long battle for Snider since his big league debut in 2008, and I truly think that 2011 will be his make or break season.

We've seen glimpses of brilliance from Travis Snider over the past three years, and hopefully it's not something that's ill fated. He definitely has the potential to be the new face of this franchise, and maybe his foray into the Twittersphere was the first step in that direction.

But if I had to pick between Ricky Romero and Travis Snider as the new face of the Toronto Blue Jays, I would have to give the slight edge to Ricky Romero.

I realize we only have two seasons and just 388 major league innings to go from, but even at the lowest of his lows, Ricky Romero is still a pretty damn good pitcher.

As far as Travis Snider is concerned, I'm still a little bit apprehensive to say he's the new face of the franchise. The one thing that Snider has going for him that Romero doesn't? At this point in his career, Snider's ceiling is much higher.

We pretty much know what to expect from Ricky Romero going forward. However with Travis Snider, he could be a 20 home run hitter, he could be a 30 home run hitter, hell ... he could even be a 40 home run hitter.

Either way, I'm happy with either (or even both) of these guys being the new face of the Toronto Blue Jays.

14 comments:

  1. I voted Snidey. Mostly because of his Twitter account. You need to send him a Meats Don't Clash t-shirt.

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  2. Nav, I'm on it! Just have to find out what size and what flavour ... I mean colour, he likes.

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  3. Romero gets it by default. It's just too early to anoint Snider. Too many things conspired against him this year and prevented him from having the breakout year he needed to cement himself as a major offensive threat. It will happen thought. Expect Snider's face on all 2012 promotional materials.

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  4. NoisyFlowers, we all know Snider has the superstar potential, but unfortunately things like injuries or being sent down to AAA have prevented us from seeing what he can do in a full 162 game schedule. I share your sentiment on that one!

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  5. Here is a thought.

    Well I would say that the default Face of the Franchise is V-Dub. Even if he gets surpassed this season, for now, he is the Face of the Franchise. Potentially, any player has the ability or at least opportunity to become the face of the franchise through skill, or fan likability.

    However, how about AA? The 2010 and beyond Jays will undoubtedly be lead by AA, despite never playing a game. Why is there no discussion over him being the Face of the Franchise (at least right now in a semi-transition phase). Granted, the Face is usually a player, but when I think Jays right now, I think Boy Wonder.

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  6. JoBau is In Toronto for the long haul. No one epitomizes what the Jays are trying to do better than he. He's my choice hands down.

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  7. Good question, and a hard call. I'm not really a fan of picking one player on a team, but I realize it's part of how it works.
    I've got to stand by Marcum on this one though - sure he's 3 years older than Romero and his ceiling may not be as high, but in my view he also had a better season and should still be climbing for a season or 2 at least. Not saying it's clear cut, but I think Marcum deserves more credit than he gets - in his last 2 complete seasons he's been better than a lot of other pitchers who are considered in the elite crowd.

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  8. Anon, good point - I hadn't even really considered Anthopoulos as the new face of the franchise, and you certainly make an interesting case for him. AA is the architect who is building this team after all.

    Mattt, I hope so! All depends if they can hammer out a multi-year contract before arbitration. It would serve the Jays well to table something and avoid arbitration altogether.

    QJays, Shaun Marcum is actually my favourite pitcher on the staff and have quite an affinity for him. The only reason why I'm weary of appointing him as the new franchise guy is there is a chance he could be dangled as trade bait in the off-season. If the Jays are going to make a play for a first or third basemen, they're going to need to include somebody like Shaun Marcum to sweeten the pot.

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  9. My vote is for Travis Snider simply because the team's success (or lack thereof) is likely to be inextricably linked with how he develops as a player. I'm not saying that if he becomes a Carlos Delgado level offensive stud (with a better clove in an outfield corner and better wheels on the bases) then the Jays are guaranteed to be a competitive team or that if he fails to become a star-level player then the team has no chance at all of being good.

    However, there is nobody in the organization with as much big league experience (parts of three different seasons) who is under control for as long as Snider going forward (through 2015) and has anywhere near the ceiling that he has. If Snider becomes an elite level corner outfield bat in his age 23 season then that may very well kick open the Jays competitive window. If he is again hampered by injuries (*knock on wood that he isn't*) or needs more time to develop then the club is unlikely to have enough offensive firepower to compete.

    It's extremely early to make a statement like that, but if we can safely assume that Snider is going to be in an outfield corner for the Jays in 2011 then that brings with it a lot of offensive responsibility. A team's corner outfielders (especially its left fielder) are usually among the better hitters on the team and good teams usually have good hitters. To be a major difference-maker in left Snider needs to be a .380+ (ideally closer to .400) wOBA player. He has the talent to be that kind of player next season. Whether he lives up to those demands will go a long way in determining how good the 2011 Blue Jays are.

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  10. Nick, thanks for stopping by and I appreciate the well thought-out comment. The upside of seeing Snider for portions of the past 3 seasons is he's under team control for that much longer. There's no question Travis Snider is an integral part of this team moving forward, and he will be shouldering a huge load these next few years. You're right: the potential is there, we just need to see a full season of Snider to have a better idea of what to expect.

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  11. Ian,

    You're a very agreeable guy on the comments. What if I had said something batshit crazy like:

    Brett Cecil - hands down. Dude clearly outshines the rest of the pitching staff in his stats and his heart, and is a leader in the clubhouse.

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  12. QJays, admittedly I'm an optimistic person. For the most part, what folks have said here make a lot of sense.

    The funny thing is choosing Cecil wouldn't be all that ludicrous. His first full season in the big leagues was a little rocky at times, but that just means hopefully things improve next year. He wouldn't be my first choice for face or the franchise, but it all depends on what happens in the future.

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  13. OK - that is certainly an optimistic response, not that there's anything wrong with that. I was just checking.

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  14. QJays, I know it seems like it never happens on this blog, but once in a blue moon I'll disagree with a comment. But that's a very rare occasion, as I'm admittedly very non-confrontational. I'm a lover, not a fighter!

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