Going into spring training the Jays had many questions to answer. For example the one that was most talked about was who would get the left field spot Eric Thames or Travis Snider.
Snider, who in 2008 started off as one of the best call ups in Jays history, had fallen off a bit and was sent to the minors after struggling in the majors. However Thames, whose only two years older then Snider, was called up in May last year for his first experience of the bigs and did pretty well hitting .271 in a shortened 95 game season.
To be honest I would lean on Thames getting it (I know he already got it just wanted to give my opinion) because of his season last year compared to Sniders. However I wouldn’t be shocked at all to see Snider on the team by mid May.
Another question from spring training is the starting rotation. According to Alex Anthopolous the Blue Jays general manger, the only guys who had a spot locked was the ace Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow. This left Alvarez, Drabek, McGowan, Laffey and Cecil all battling for the final three spots.
Half way through spring training it looked like the Jays were going to go with Cecil after an impressive start against the Phillies but things change, as Cecil slowly started to deteriorate through spring training and in the final week which most people say is the only one that kind of counts, he gave up 9 runs and then the Jays decided to start him in the minors.
Not that spring numbers mean much but Alvarez was strong throughout the entire month having an E.R.A of 3.00 and didn’t get credited with any losses. Also in his first start of the regular season he pitched excellent, going six innings of one run ball against the Red Sox.
Unfortunately here’s where the number one problem comes as the Jays don’t have a fourth or fifth starter. Right now Kyle Drabek is pitching well, but to be honest how much longer can that last. Last year he started off well only to be sent to the minors in June after a couple of atrocious outings.
Looking at the free agent market Roy Oswalt is still available and is willing to be signed to a short term deal which is what AA is interested in.
One of the strong points of the Blue Jays though is supposed to be the offense. With arguably the best hitter in baseball and Brett Lawrie who plays with a ton of enthusiasm and hustle the Jays are supposed to have one of the best duos in baseball. However this season has not started off well for pretty much the entire team.
The Jays strong pitching is winning them games by scores of 3-1 or just coming short like last Saturday in Cleveland, however you can’t really look at stats until at least the end of April to get a semi non distorted view on things.
To sum it up I think we have a legitimate shot at the second wild card. If the offense does what it’s supposed to do and the pitching surprises us the Jays could be a legit contender for the second wild card.
Since 1993 we haven’t had many teams with this much potential other them the late 1990s and even then there wasn’t this much excitement surrounding the team. No matter what were still going to have an exciting year of Blue Jays baseball.