Thoughts at the Half
43-44 isn't exactly where you want to be at the All-Star Break, unless you happen to be the Kansas City Royals. But despite the disappointing record for a team that was hopeful of contention, there were some bright spots in the first half:
- Alex Rios' 2006 was no fluke.
- Aaron Hill may well deserve the Gold Glove at 2B.
- Matt Stairs seems to think its 1997.
- All of the "Plan B's" in the rotation: Tomo Ohka, John Thomson and Victor Zambrano, are off the roster, because:
- The young pitchers have delivered in a big way. Janssen, Tallet, Accardo and Downs have been great out of the pen, but the big story has been Shawn Marcum and Dustin McGowan. The easiest way to contend on an annual basis is to have cheap, effective starting pitchers and the Jays look to have two good ones.
The best news is that after all the trips to Dr. James Andrews, the Jays are still only 8.5 games out of a playoff spot, and no team that's 8.5 out at the break is really out of it. The Jays are a hot streak away from being a serious part of the wild card discussion. That said, they'll probably have to go about 50-25 to make the playoffs, and while that's possible - 2005 Astros, anyone? - it's hardly likely.
The Jays can't play the part of buyers at the trading deadline. If they come out of the break and take 6 or 7 from Boston and New York, then stand pat and take your chances. If they're no closer to the wild card in three weeks, then J.P. Ricciardi can look at dealing the likes of Troy Glaus or a reliever or two for young players. With the big names signed to long-term deals and the young players improving, the Jays aren't in a win-now, the-window-is-closing situation. It's not much fun to say "wait 'til next year," but that's the reality for 29 of 30 teams each season.