Winter of Discontent
Apologies for the lack of activity on the blog this winter, but there hasn't been too much to write about where the Jays are concerned. With two promising young arms out for extended stretches in Marcum and McGowan, and A.J. Burnett off to the Bronx for Yankee millions, the Blue Jays have not exactly been players this off-season.
Not that they've been idle, but while the Yankees have busied themselves by attempting to stimulate the U.S. economy solely through free agency, the Jays have taken a more fiscally cautious approach. Essentially, they've invited anyone with a working elbow ligaments to spring training. An ecclectic mix of pitchers returning from injury, busted #1 draft picks, aged Japanese hurlers, converted infielders, journeymen and castaways will converge in Florida, in the hope that a couple of worthy arms can be mined to soak up innings behind Roy Halladay and #2 starter Jesse Litsch. Gulp.
For this team at this time, it's the right approach. With the Yankees bent on revenge-spending, a solid young team in Tampa and the Red Sox to deal with, this was not the time to lavishly flail money at the second tier free agent leftovers.
The Jays are capable of great improvement, but it will have to come from within. A healthy Scott Rolen and Vernon Wells. Ditto Aaron Hill. Alex Rios playing like a $10 million outfielder for a full season. Adam Lind and Travis Snider taking steps forward. David Purcey establishing himself as a rotation regular. Dumpster diving and waiting for your young players to pan out aren't the sexiest ways to build a team, but they beat wasting $40 or $50 million on Ben Sheets and the shaman you need to pray that his shoulder holds together. Meanwhile, the only risk involved in inviting Mike Maroth to spring training is that he'll show up.