Jays Journal was invited to the “State of the Franchise” address in order to take part in what could really be the turning point in franchise history. Well, the second turning point after the first pair of World series we took in the early 90s. Sadly, I was forced to decline and am unsure as to whether Jared and/or Scott will be able to attend, as I am currently on course in Winnipeg, earning my Wings in the Royal Canadian Air Force.
However, as I sat back after letting the Jays brass know that I couldn’t attend the event, I was faced with the same dilemma that every single Jays fan out there is forced to face every day of 2012. The dilemma is simple ans is as follows: we know the team is getting better and is close to something special, the questions are, how close and how special? That, my friends, is the Toronto Blue Jays Fan Dilemma.
As most MLB fans know, Alex Anthopoulos has been one of the, if not the, hardest working GMs in all of MLB for the last 2 years. That’s why you almost always see the Jays being linked to every single FA or trade rumor out there, he just seems to be involved in – or is suspected of being involved in everything.
Here’s what we know for certain. The Jays have 2 cornerstone pieces in Jose Bautista and Brett Lawrie that other teams would kill to have. That duo alone makes the Jays a formidable team. We also know the Jays have one of the most under-rated pitching aces in MLB in Ricky Romero, and a newly-found closer in Sergio Santos that should help curtail the many late inning losses the Jays were submitted to in 2011.
We also know that help, and not the low-end kind, is on the way. From Travis d’Arnaud to Deck McGuire, the Jays could be the few AL East clubs actually holding players back so that they can give their in-house guys a chance to heighten their trade values. For example, do you give Travis Snider many ABs in order to get a better sense of where he stands, or do you call up Anthony Gose half-way through the season and trade Travis Snider for the value he builds in AAA? Such are the issues the Jays GM will have to work though as much of his built up talent gets close to being MLB ready.
Even for the Jays GM, it’s a dilemma.
This is just a hunch and one that is base solely on observations of recent Jays deals, but I have a feeling that the Jays GM will be eager and willing to deal much of his in-house talent for top-end controllable talent. Just as he has acquired Colby Rasmus and Sergio Santos by dealing pieces which didn’t seem critical to Jays success, he will be on the hunt for similar pieces in 2012. What that tells me, in all honesty, is that if the Jays are in contention in 2012 by the time the all-star break comes around, Alex Anthopoulos may have more ammunition than ever to bring the Jays to the next level through a wily deal or two.
But, as a Jays fan, how do you brag about that when talking to other MLB fans?
You can’t. All you can do, is sit and wait and point to the future as being a very, very bright one for the Toronto Blue Jays.
And thus stands the Toronto Blue Jays dilemma. How do you get behind a team that could go either way? Do you really believe the Jays ARE a playoff contending team for 2012? Or, do you simply contend that they have enough to be competitive and could become more competitive if the GM makes the right move or two?
Personally, I’m under the impression that the Jays are really on the cusp of something special. How special remains to be seen, and is part of the Jays fan dilemma, just how improved will this squad be? However, I know one thing for certain: there is more talent bubbling to the surface in the Jays organization than ever before, and to me, that’s more important than anything else.
Drew Hutchison, Deck McGuire, Chad Jenkins, Adeiny Hechavarria, Anthony Gose, Moises Sierra, Travis d’Arnaud, Michael McDade, and many others are just itching to get a chance to prove themselves as they sit atop the charts of one of the top 5 minor league systems in all of MLB. Few franchises have comparable talents to what the Jays have from LoA to AAA. Does this mean the Jays will be able to count on them in 2012? Who knows? Who knew how Eric Thames would react to more playing time in MLB in 2012? Who knew that Henderson Alvarez would make the jump to MLB in order to put himself solidly in place for a rotation spot in 2012?
The truth of it all is that nobody knows for certain.
Aside from players who are incoming to help the current Jays regulars, I also know this for certain: the Jays and their fan base are both energized and looking for the results to prove what they already know, that something special, very special, is brewing in Toronto.
As I sit back here in Winnipeg, awaiting my next flight on the Gonzo, a Dash 8 military aircraft we use for training purposes, all I can think about is the Toronto Blue Jays and how soon they may win another championship. Do I brag about it and hype up the Jays to my friends? Not at all. I believe that the best way for Jays fans to settle the dilemma of how competitive the Jays will be in 2012 is to let the 2012 Toronto Blue Jays do the talking for them, on the field and unquestionably.
Anything else Jays fans do or say just doesn’t hold water until results warrant it. And there, my friends, lies the whole source of the Toronto Blue Jays fan dilemma. Until results are shown to the entire world, all of the work done by Alex Anthopoulos and how great it is becomes here-say.
The Toronto Blue Jays fan dilemma will continue, until the Toronto Blue Jays put up a championship….or two.
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