Offseason blogging can be a tough racket, given the paucity of news surrounding these Toronto Blue Jays of late. Once tied to every player available and many who aren't, the search term Toronto+Blue+Jays won't get you a whole hell of a lot on google (or even MLBTR) these days. And what news there is can leave the most ardent of fans scratching their heads.
Item: Toronto re-signs Edwin Encarnacion to play 1B/DH
The optimists among us will point to Encarnacion's obvious power, and the fact that his worst attribute (his, um, inaccurate arm, to be charitable) is minimized with the stated intention of banning him from the left side of the infield. Plus, he hits lefties well and comes cheap. Plus plus, we get another year of milking this (paying attention, Blue Jays in-game promotion staff?). What's not to like?
Well, for starters....bringing back the artist formerly known as E5 doesn't exactly ring the bell on fresh starts and upside. Given 400 AB, we'll see 25 HR and not much else. And that cheap price tag? Well, it's exactly that. Edwin is a low-cost alternative to a veteran free agent and saves Anthopoulos from dipping into the minor league stocks to acquire a long-term solution at either infield corner.
The jury's out on this one. I like the move, but 6 months from now Edwin could be clearing waivers and here we go again....
Item: Jays lose Downs, Gregg, and sign.....?
Yeah, Frasor is back on an arbitration gamble. And Tallet's innings have been replaced by Villanueva. But word from the front office is the club is happy to let the market "sort itself out", leaving the Jays to leverage the arms not yet invited to the dance.
Cost-effective bullpen management, or frugal decision making?
This scene, I'm not so rosy on. Seems to me that filling the 'pen with picked-over stocks does not a contender make.
And that's the heart of all this, isn't it? Should the fans expect the Jays to be making moves this offseason to transform the club into a 2011 contender? Or is the prudent move to bide (at least) one more year of time and let the club mature?
To the disappointment of many, I'm sure....it's becoming clear that seems to be the way management is leaning. Forget Manny, forget Derrick Lee, forget any veteran FA looking to cash in. That's not the current m.o., and I suppose it never has been.
Does that mean all is lost - another year of flailing away in the middle of the AL East, devoid of enjoyment for fans craving a winner? Pardon me, but fuck no.
I expect the comments to reflect anger & impatience, but this is where the club is. Barring an unforeseen blockbuster, the names making up the Jays of 2011 will be much the same as those of 2010 (bullpen notwithstanding). The worst possible scenario is a step back from the veterans such as Wells, more of the same from Hill & Lind, and a lack of a step forward from the young rotation and Travis Snider.
And maybe this offseason is the hedge. Answer some of those questions and then make the definitive move. And hey - last year was fun, right?
Or maybe Anthopoulos pushes his chips to the middle and pulls off a Greinke/Upton/Rasmus deal before this post is cold.
That might be fun too.