With all of the mid-winter rosterbation going down these days, there are lots of plans be floated by armchair GMs who have pretty much got their fingers on the pulse of what is going down with the Blue Jays. (Or so we think.) Most of these are looking ahead several years, as though we could just sim through the 2010 schedule and get right to the good stuff a year or two down the road.
But the fact is that there is still a 162-game slate ahead of this team next year, and you can't just flush it down the toilet and expect that the beleaguered fan base is going to put up with it. Tank Nation might sound like a clever idea, but this is a team that has lost a lot of currency, and has to be ready to put up a fight next year.
With that in mind, the odd thing that we keep noticing (or tripping ourselves up with) is the fact that barely anyone even acknowledges the existence of the two Major League veteran corner infielders that are currently under contract and on the roster.
Maybe it is a sign that, with the new regime and the new decade and the dawn of the Eternal Building Process, people are ready to cash in on Lyle Overbay and Edwin Encarnacion. They'd rather think forward, beyond 2010, towards the day when Brett Wallace will waddle around at first base and something (lord help us) will patrol the other side of the diamond.
But the odd thing about this is just how much we've all diminished the contributions (or potential contributions) of the two guys that's we've got. Overbay posted a WAR of 2.0 in 2009 and Encarnacion posted the same number in his last healthy season ('o8), which aren't league-leading numbers by any stretch, but they are at least positive contributions.
And that doesn't even account for the forgotten 1B/DH Randy Ruiz, who ripped it up good (10 homers / 1.019 OPS in 115 MLB at bats) when he finally got his shot. Nor does it account for Brian Dopirak, who put up an .876 OPS versus the PCL in 232 ABs (versus Wallace's .870 in 203 ABs in the high and dry offensive air out west.)
The Jays probably aren't the only team with a bunch of 1B/LF/DH types cluttering up their 40-man rosters, but we might be the only team to have disregarded the potential contributions of half of those players before pitchers and catchers report.