Friday, August 21, 2009

Are the Blue Jays on the "Right Track?"

Hidden in this article about Jays Prez Paul Beeston is this gem from Commissioner Bud Selig about the future of the Blue Jays:

Plenty of questions have been raised locally about where the team is headed, and Selig feels Beeston is the right man to set the course.
"I have a lot of faith in Paul Beeston, he was very successful there the first time around, he'll be successful again, I wish he'd stay there a long time, that's how much faith I have in him," Selig said Thursday from his office in Milwaukee. "Having said all that, I think they're doing things the right way.

"Look, they've traded some players, they've signed a fair amount of their draft choices, but they clearly are building for the future. ... It may take some time, but do I believe they're on the right track? You bet I do."
Hmmm...interesting. Are the Blue Jays on the right track? Maybe....

If by right track the commish means that the Jays can be mediocre and somewhat competitive, then sure, the Blue Jays are on the right track. Pitcher Shaun Marcum and Dustin McGowan hopefully will return alongside Roy Halladay and Ricky Romero in 2010 and the rest of the Jays
of the Jays pitching staff has the chance to be solid in the future. And hey, who knows, maybe Aaron Hill, Travis Snider, and Adam Lind will continue to develop into the core of the Blue Jays offense for years to come.

I'll admit, there are some very nice pieces in place in Toronto. There has been so much that has gone wrong in Toronto over the past few years that I believe people have a tendency to look past the Blue Jays positives.

At the same time, my enthusiasm for Blue Jays baseball is beaten by two things:

1. They play in the AL East

-hands down the toughest division in baseball year after year....teams cannot simply be good to compete in this division, they have to be great. Can the Blue Jays build a great team given their current economic situation?

2. Vernon Wells

-and by "current economic situation" I am clearly referring to Vernon Wells, who in 2011 will probably take up more than 1/4th of the Blue Jays payroll. From 2011-2014, the Jays owe Wells more than $80 million bucks. And unless Wells turns it around, he probably will not only take up 1/4 of their payroll, but he could very well be a below average player to boot. That combination is absolutely frightening.

So I would say that there are plenty of reasons for Jays fans to be optimistic about the future. However, their ability to compete in the AL East is probably directly tied to Vernon Wells' performance. If Wells can turn it around, then the Jays could be a dangerous group in the future.

However, I can't help but feel that if the Jays don't get a substantial contribution from Vernon Wells in the future, that this team that could potentially be on the "right track", will be taken off course and left in the land of mediocrity.

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