Is there anything worse than seeing another team celebrate clinching a post season berth on the field at your own expense? Oh there is… let me guess… is it when said team hasn’t won the division in 17 years and has only made the playoffs one other time in that duration? OR is it seeing a team celebrate clinching a division that YOU once had a 6.5 game stranglehold on (including over the eventual division champs)?
There is no wrong answer.
Seeing the Orioles celebrate winning the AL East was just the proverbial cherry on this crap sundae called the 2014 Blue Jays season. The days of win streaks and division leads seem like a lifetime ago (remember when we swept the A’s at the Dome or sweeping the Tigers IN DETROIT!?).
Despite a season in which the Jays (SHOULD) finish above .500 for the first time since 2010, it will be remembered more for the “what if’s” and “could’ve beens,” than it will for any positives. I would love to drone on about the emergence of Stro and Hutch as big league starters, the flashes of brilliance shown by Sanchez or (ANOTHER) great season from Joey Bats and Edwing. Unfortunately the positives of our bright future, reemergence of Melky and solid seasons by Lind, Buehrle and Navarro aren’t enough to keep the stank from creeping off of this season.
I think the one thing that this Jays season will be remembered for is MISSED OPPORTUNITIES.
Blown leads, blown saves, no run support, lack of movement to solidify a paper thin roster that was OVERACHIEVING while the rest of the division underachieved and most importantly… a lack of sense of urgency.
There was no reason for the Jays front office to have sat idly by waiting for the other shoe to drop while the injuries mounted and the division lead slipped away. Apologies to Danny Valencia, Nolan Reimold and John Mayberry Jr. but those are not the trades you make when you have a legitimate chance of October baseball. They didn’t have to mortgage the farm or deal away the Stromans, Sanchez’s and Norris’ of the world, but are you telling me that we couldn’t have gotten rental players like Brandon McCarthy and Chase Headley for the same turd sandwiches that the Yankees got them for?! You know… not like those players have helped the Yankees to the EXACT same record that the Jays currently sit…
So as we sit here and get to watch (again) as more and more teams clinch and celebrate, the only thing left to contemplate is where do we go from here?
The Jays currently look to enter 2015 with only one OF position completely spoken for (Bautista in RF) and the other two up for grabs, a bullpen with more vacancies than sure things, a now hiring sign for the closers position and that isn’t even including the questions about who plays 2B, 3B and SS next season…
What Should Happen
First things first, the BIGGEST offseason priority should be re-upping the Melkman’s contract. I honestly don’t know what the Jays are waiting for on this one. I hate this BS about not negotiating with players during the season. Correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t both the contract extensions doled out to Joey Bats and Edwing come during the season? What is the hold up? We stole the Melkman with a 2 year/$16 million deal before the 2013 season. PED’s or not, that was a steal. After an abysmal 2013 campaign that saw him hindered by a TUMOUR in his SPINE, the Melkman was arguably the Jays best player this season until his season came to a premature end on a pickoff play (sigh). Melky hadn’t missed a game until that illfated dive back to 1B and was an absolute monster at the plate, hitting .301/16/73 with a .351 OBP! In fact he had the 2nd most multi hit games in the AL this season, behind only the diminutive 2B for the Astros, Jose Altuve.
How did AA not offer Melky a contract extension during the season!? Now we get to see him hit the open market where his price will be driven THROUGH THE ROOF! Are you telling me that Melky shouldn’t be looking for/demanding a contract in the same neighbourhood that Shin Soo-Choo got just this past offseason – 7yrs/$130 million. Hell… Melky should actually get more seeing as he is a) younger than Choo, and b) THE BETTER PLAYER!
But no… instead… the Jays are happy to extend a qualifying offer to Melky. But hey, AT LEAST we will get a supplemental draft pick for him (most likely late 1st round) when he signs with another team. Knowing the Jays luck, said draft pick will probably not sign with us either…
Be honest… do you honestly believe that the Jays have a chance of contending for a post season spot next year knowing that 2/3 of our OF will be made up of a combination of Kevin Pillar, Tony “the Chain” Gose and MAYBE Dalton Pompey!? I sure don’t…
Here is another shocker, another need that should be addressed is the addition of more SP, even if it’s depth signings. Right now we look to enter 2015 with a rotation of Dickey, Buehrle, Happ, Stroman and Hutch. And that’s not including the possibility of Norris and Sanchez cracking the rotation. If that happens that is A LOT of expectation to heap upon 2 and maybe more 23 year olds with less than 200 innings MLB experience apiece. Whats more likely to happen: a) a trio of young Jays pitchers morph into the Oakland Big 3 (Mulder, Hudson and Zito) and lead the team into contention… OR… b) One, maybe more, of the young pitchers doesn’t pitch up to expectations… or worse… they get injured. Let’s be honest here… we know how this one ends.
Speaking of pitching, there were rumours circulating that the Jays should look to move one of Dickey or Buehrle a little while back. What is the upside into moving one of, if not both, of our only proven starters? Is it a money thing? Is it an age thing? If it’s either, why make the move for them in the first place? Did the Jays think they were going to get younger and cheaper as the years passed? And what would we realistically get for a 40 year old novelty pitch pitcher and a 36 year old soft tossing southpaw? Rumours like this solidify my belief that the Jays are looking to offload salary and will never dole out the money and contracts needed to make this team a winner. Simple as that.
Coffee is for Closers
It looks like the revolving door at closer has started to spin up once again. I hate to see Janssen go but he did all but show himself the door this season. His late inning struggles could have been looked past but his critiquing of the Jays management and their lack of urgency to win is what nailed his coffin short. Unfortunately for Casey, his contract is up and he isn’t as valuable as Bitching Bautista, so it is time for him to have his torch extinguished. Its a shame to see one of the longest tenured Jays leaving, but Im not all that surprised. Well here we go again… Time to interview for another closer…
Bye Bye Bama
When the Jays made the decision to move the struggling Colby Rasmus to the bench in favour of more playing time for Gose and Pillar, that all but sealed the deal on Bama’s future as a Blue Jay. To Rasmus’ credit he handled the demotion like a true pro. He said all the right things that need to be said, how he would be there to help the team if and when it was needed, and he was correct. Rasmus blasted two (clutch) pinch hit HR’s and eventually saw more playing time with the season ending injury to the Melkman.
As a Jays fan I am sad to see Rasmus go. He made everything look too easy. He patrolled CF with the ease of a gazelle and his ho hum pop is some of the EASIEST power I have ever seen on the baseball field. What really makes me sad about Rasmus leaving is wondering what could have been.
For someone who has so much promise and talent, it amazes me how much they can struggle and look lost. I guess thats why the Cards were so willing to ship him out in favour of Jon Jay. Oh well, not like we gave up a lot for Rasmus. What scares me is knowing that he does have the raw ability and pure talent to turn his career around in the blink of an eye. I just really hope it doesn’t come back to haunt us…
One of the only things worse than knowing that the Jays season is all but officially over, is knowing that the heartbreak of the Maple Leafs season is just around the corner. Don’t worry though, Im sure there will be no drama in Leaf land this year, not like reports are already circulating about a rift between Phil Kessel and an Assistant Coach, and this is BEFORE Training Camp starts… Oh well, at least the Raptors are looking pretty decent….