It's easy in the middle of the season to get lost in the mire of your team's most recent events.
Talk to most of us (Jays fans, bloggers, tweeters, commenters, what-have-you) in over the Winter months, and we were all pretty sanguine about the prospects for the 2011 team, and the degree to which we would bear with some temporary pain for longer-term gain. It should have been obvious that such a stance would be much harder to maintain once we were looking at Corey Patterson in the two-hole everyday.
Oh sure, back in the months of offseason rosterbation and speculation, no one was picturing such an eventuality. But then again, we weren't figuring on a lot of the downside that has come to fruition in this first third of the year.
Because if you'd told us about the cavalcade of calamities that have befallen this team before the season started, there's no way that we could have pictured much more than a 100-loss season, and maybe worse. It's entirely possible we would have folded the blog and found another hobby...like javelin catching.
Seriously, look at the misery thus far...marvel at it! What would you have expected if we'd told you back then that as the Jays were about to play their 50th game:
That Brett Cecil and Travis Snider were justifiably demoted.
That Adam Lind came back, only to get hurt.
That Jo-Jo Reyes pitched worse than expected? (And really, not much was expected to begin with, aside from a few kind words from yours truly.)
That Aaron Hill has gone from turning into a pumpkin in 2010 to becoming a rotting carcass of dilapitated two-weeks-past-Halloween pumpkin in 2011.
That Mike McCoy will get 45 at bats, will be deservedly demoted several times, and still put up better numbers than Aaron Hill.
That Edwin Encarnacion, Aaron Hill and Rajai Davis combined to have as many home runs as Chris Woodward (or us, or you for that matter!)
That Corey Patterson and his .737 OPS would seem like an offensive asset when compared to Juan Rivera (.662), Rajai Davis (.649), Aaron Hill (.616), Edwin Encarnacion (.586) and Travis Snider (.540).
And then if we were to tell you that the Jays managed to stay within three and a half games of the AL East lead, and sat just a game below .500...Would you be relieved?
Thus far, the season has played out worse than we could ever have expected. Well, with the notable exceptions of the One Man Gang, José Bautista (4.5 fWAR!) and a very respectable rookie campaign from J.P. Arencibia. But still...you see what we're saying. For all that's gone wrong so far, there's an upside to this season, and our heroes aren't even all that far off the mark.
Unless, of course, things get really bad.
One Man Gang. Yes.
Don't forget about the resurgence and then injury of Jesse Litsch and the fact that not only has Dotel been even worse than last year against lefties, Farrell continues to send him out against them almost as much as against righties.
I am loving that Cibia has been better than expected. My 7 year old now wants to be a catcher because of him. And he already knows to keep his right hand behind his body. Something Cibia still seems to have trouble with occasionally.
One Man Gang forever.
I don't think Farrell has been especially egregious in his use of Dotel. Left him in versus a couple of lefties. Early in the season, I think you have to at least test it out and see if the previous year was an aberration, or if he really is that bad.
(Don't remember the last at bat against a lefty for Dotel...so maybe there was a lesson learned already?)
Injury of Litsch could have been mentioned, though I think I figured that Jesse would go down at some point. I know it's cute that he's athletic for a round guy, but bad bodies eventually get hurt.
One! Man! Gang!
Are you guys seriously saying you expected better from the team going into this year? That sounds like leaf talk and completely unreasonable expectations.
This team has a long way to go, but they've also come a long way in certain respects as well. Hopefully they keep up the mostly competitive play and continue to help the young guys, who are ready, grow to the next level.
Escobar deserves some love at the end there, too. 118 OPS+ and generally looking like the player he was prior to 2010.
Aaron Hill is the worst
Justin: It is fair to say that some people - myself included - had expected/hoped for better things from the individual players mentioned in the post, but that overall the team's record and place in the standings is really not that far off where we expected.
I expected to see some actual prospects not this collection of pathetic losers we trot out every day. We could cut 5 guys from the offense and replace them with ANY AAA players and be better off. Let alone if out GM grew some balls and called up Lawrie and Snider already to see what we've got. This team couldn't be more boring.
It hasn't been that bad yet . . . wait until one of Romero/Drabek/Morrow blows out their elbow!
Just want to add my agreement to what Anonymous (@855 AM) said.
Having been a fan for 30-odd years, in my opinion the bunch out on the field now for Toronto is amongst the most bleak, depressing crews they've assembled in the post-expansion era. It's one thing to lose. My expectations for the season were modest. But it's quite another to lose with a roster full of 30-35 year old cast offs. And to boot, to lose due to poor fundamentals, baserunning mistakes, and fielding mistakes.
Let me ask - if and when Toronto is ever in position to contend again, which of the following players is likely to be still in MLB, let alone on the Blue Jays roster?
1) Edwin Encarnacion
2) Jayson Nix
3) Corey Patterson
4) Rajai Davis
5) Mike McCoy
6) John McDonald
7) Juan Rivera
8) Jo Jo Reyes
9) Octavio Dotel
Not one of these guys is a quality regular, and some are not even quality bench players.
I would see nearly half of the Toronto roster, if released, would not get even a minor league contract.
These are old, mediocre to poor players. All should be evaluated by the management as to whether they should continue or be waived. And once the trash is taken out, then maybe some of the alleged prospects in AAA can get some ABs.
@rdillon99 - Agreed, however some of the expectations on these prospects are too much too fast. Growth takes time and some prospects will never meet their expected potential.
@Anonymous & David - giving a prospect MLB ABs, just because the alternative is marginal veteran role players, is not the answer. The prospects are still in the minors because for the most part their skill levels are still developing. In rare cases (maybe Lawrie) they are kept down a bit longer to delay their arbitration clock. But you have to remember, just because you don't watch minor league games to know what we have in these players, doesn't mean management and coaches don't know exactly what they have and at what stage of development these players are at.
A lot of the veterans on the team that we all hate to watch are simply placeholders until the prospects are ready in a year or two. Rushing prospects is the worst idea!
In my opinion one and all should browse on it.
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