I have to admit - even I'm getting sick of my subtle (?) pissing and moaning concerning the lack of improvements made to the big league roster this winter, following up on a season full of promise. It's easy to get caught up in the daily talk and innuendo surrounding each and every player available through free agency - or made available via trade.
With the Jays tied to them all and coming home with none, I fell into a solemn state of acceptance that improvements to the big league squad would likely come later rather than sooner. Surely with this young club, the logic went that every step forward is likely to be countered by a step back.
And while every conversation surrounding the team's potential success in 2011 invariably includes some variation of a throwaway line on the re-emergence of Aaron Hill and Adam Lind... have we ever really - I mean, really - considered the potential impact there?
Aaron Hill 2009: .829 OPS (seems like it should have been higher...)
Aaron Hill 2010 : .665 OPS
Adam Lind 2009: .932 OPS
Adam Lind 2010: .712 OPS
Look at those numbers for a moment. The dropoffs are staggering, and it's hard to believe an 85 win team ran those two statlines out for 600 plate appearances each. Begs the simplest of questions:
What in the fuck happened?
While it's fair to say that Lind's 2009 season was his likely high-water mark, a return to .850 seems entirely reasonable. Aaron Hill will likely never hit 36 home runs again, but neither is an OPS hovering around .800 with great defense a reach.
Think about those numbers again & their contributions to the '10 Jays. Now think about the '10 Jays with numbers approaching "reasonable" from each. Of course, nobody expects Jose Bautista to lead the league in home runs and beard growing again (OK, maybe beard growing), but I don't expect just 14 longballs from Travis Snider either. Shaun Marcum's 13 wins and post-game quips won't be easy to replace, but 2011 should see full seasons from Kyle Drabek and New Brandon Morrow.
I suppose what I'm trying to get at here - as awkwardly as ever - is that we don't need the Big Splashy Move to have hope for another step forward for this Jays club.
Stable does not necessarily equal stagnant.
And since I'm here.....Early Season's Greetings
Sincerely wishing every one of you who takes the time to read this page a very safe and happy holiday season. With the Tao off gallivanting (fun word) across the land down under and this dude unlikely to be back until sometime after the 25th, here's hoping you all enjoy the break with those you love.
Happy Holidays, everybody.