28 9 / 2011
Well… that’s the baseball season folks… for the Jays at least.
The Blue Jays season ended today after a late game comeback which saw their season end right back where they started, with the same number of wins as losses.
There were some memorable, and some not so memorable moments this year. The front office may have been the biggest story for the Jays in 2011, with the ridding themselves of the terrible Vernon Wells contract, the trading of clubhouse veterans Aaron Hill and Johnny Mac, and acquiring Colby Rasmus from the Cardinals for, basically, a bag of balls.
Sure there were some downs/ugly moments, like the 20-plus blown saves, Adam Lind never quite reaching that potential that would see him better as anything but replacement level (praying its an injury), and Travis Snider, once again, not getting the real shot he oh-so-deserved, getting less than 100 plate apparences before being sent to Vegas.
However, there were a lot of great moments for the Jays this year. Jose Bautista proved last year wasn’t a fluke, becoming the first player to lead the majors in homers for two straight years since Mark McGuire in 1998 and 1998, and managed to finish the season with an OPS over 1, thanks to an average that went up by more than 40 points and a whopping 131 walks (24IBB). Brett Lawrie came up and looked every bit as good as Bautista with his great batting eye and great power. Ricky Romero continued to get better, and next season should start getting some mentions a top pitcher in the AL. JP Arencibia arrived in the majors and flexed the muscle that we all knew was going to come and handled a young staff very well. Yunel Escobar, who missed the last couple weeks of the season with injury, finished with a .369 on base, which is just the type of thing you want to see from your leadoff hitter. We really began seeing the depth of the farm system, with guys like Alvarez and Thames making contributions to the team, and the long awaited return of Dustin McGowan.
All in all, I don’t think Blue Jays fans can be too disappointed in the 2011 season. For what was labelled as a “building year”, I think a .500 record is more than enough reason to be excited for next year, I know I am…
LATE EDIT: One thing I wanted to comment on, is that the 81-81 record most likely means the Jays won’t finish in the top (bottom?) half of the MLB Reverse Standings. What this means is that the Jays first round pick is NOT protected for the 2012 draft, so if the Jays are to go out and sign a big time free agent this offseason, they’ll lose that pick.
If there’s anything we’ve seen in Anthopolous’ two years behind the helm so far, it’s that he loves the draft, and is hesitant to give up picks. However, with the Jays not signing their first round pick from this year’s draft, Tyler Beede, they have a protected pick in the first round at 22.
Basically, this tells us that AA may be less hesitant to give up this pick as he normally would be. Combine this with some of the other free agents that will be most likely be leaving the Jays with type A and B status, and a big name free agent isn’t out of the question. I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but I am not saying it’s impossible.