|Image courtesy of Yahoo/AP|
As the final outs of the Toronto Blue Jays season ticked down last night, I didn't want to leave my seat at the Rogers Centre.Perhaps part of the reason why I didn't want to leave was because walking out the doors would officially put an end to what was an otherwise disappointing Blue Jays season.
After all, it was just six short months ago when the Blue Jays entered Opening Day boasting their best Spring Training record ever. One could argue that the buzz about the Blue Jays was much higher than it had been in many years. Especially after the new uniform reveal and a slew of offseason trades and signings, optimism was abound in the city of Toronto.
While it was fully expected that 2011 was going to be a development year for Toronto, 2012 was supposed to be a year in which the Blue Jays would take a step forward. Instead, it was a year where the Blue Jays took a step or two backwards.
There were some pleasant surprises along the way: Edwin Encarnacion, Casey Janssen, Darren Oliver just to name a few. And there were some outright disappointments in Ricky Romero, Yunel Escobar and Colby Rasmus.
In order to field a successful team, ultimately the good needs to outweigh all the bad. The pleasant surprises and the career years need to compensate for regression and just flat out bad luck. That simply was not the case for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2012.
Although the Blue Jays managed to get an extended look at guys like Anthony Gose, Moises Sierra and Adeiny Hechavarria, there are still a lot of questions surrounding them heading into 2013. Despite the fact they all had 40 plus games under their belt this season, I honestly don't know where these guys fit in next season.
In retrospect, the front office was foolish to think they could get away with a starting rotation that included members like Aaron Laffey, Joel Carreno, Jesse Chavez, Brett Cecil, and even to some extent, Henderson Alvarez.
But when a team was decimated with injuries like the Blue Jays were, you're merely looking for somebody ... anybody to stop the bleeding. Who could have foreseen that the Blue Jays would not only need to employ Plan B, C and D with the starting rotation, but that their contingency plan would go as far as Plan E, F and G?
Unless you're as fortunate as the Cincinnati Reds were to have basically the same five starting pitchers all season long, the Blue Jays need to continue to build their pitching depth in the minor league system. Because those guys could get a call at a moment's notice.
That being said, this team is not built for success in 2013 the way it is currently constructed. Not just pitching wise, but offensively as well. The current one through nine and starting five needs to be overhauled in order for the Blue Jays to contend.
Just look at what happened with Jose Bautista; before he went down to injury the Blue Jays were 45-45. Down the stretch without Bautista in the lineup, they were 28-44. Obviously, Toronto depends on Jose Bautista ... but if he were ever to go down again, they need offensive contributions from somebody else.
Not that any team can foresee who will get hurt and the duration of their time on the disabled list, but there always needs to be a backup plan. Had the New York Yankees just pat and not made any trades or free agent signings, they might have been just like the Blue Jays; on the outside looking in.
I echo the sentiments of the young man in the photo above; there is always next year.
If you think about it, that sign is an actually incredibly enlightening and depressing statement at the same time. There will always be next year ... and there will always be another game. But at the same time, tomorrow may never come if you don't play for today.