Tag: Ricky Romero

Why the Toronto Blue Jays Do Not Need to Sign Josh Johnson Long Term

The Toronto Blue Jays have done a tremendous job remodeling their team into a playoff contender during the offseason.

No. Make that a World Series contender.

I may be getting a little ahead of myself, but the odds makers in Las Vegas have them pegged as the clear favorites.

What’s even more impressive: Almost every major player they have acquired this season is set to wear a Blue Jays uniform for at least a few years, except starting pitcher Josh Johnson. Johnson will make $13.75 million this season as his four-year contract comes to an end (originally signed by the Miami Marlins).

While Johnson will not be the “Ace” or opening day starter for the Blue Jays, he will play a vital role in the Jays success or failures this season.

But you have to wonder if Blue Jays General Manager Alex Anthopoulos wants to dish out the money to have him as a staple in the rotation for another couple of years, or if will he let him walk at the end of 2013.

Beyond this year, the Jays will have R.A. Dickey, Mark Bheurle, Brandon Morrow and Rickey Romero still in their rotation. Adding Johnson makes that one of the best—if not the best—in baseball. But  how much do the Blue Jays lose by taking him away?

I think that depends on who you  replace him with. There are plenty of options available to the Blue Jays in 2014.

Personally, while I think having him in the rotation will be amazing and fun to watch every fifth day, I don’t think future success beyond this year warrants giving him a Felix Hernandez-type contract. And while I don’t think Johnson will be able to get that kind of money ($175 million over 7 years) from anyone, there’s reason to believe he can get a hefty payday by testing the free-agent waters.

If the Blue Jays are willing to spend money and looking at locking up a guy long term they can always resign Johnson. The players expected to hit the free agent market provide some intrigue.

  • Two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum: This is the same Lincecum the Jays could have had if they parted with Alex Rios in the infamous trade that wasn’t. How does that look now, J.P. Ricciardi?  While Lincecum was banished to the bullpen last year, I think that he has too much raw talent to not bounce back and be a very good starter once again. If he has another bad year, do the Jays look at getting him—hopefully, cheaper—than any other two-time Cy Young winner?

  • Matt Garza and Ubaldo Jimenez: I link the two together because they are both pieces that wouldn’t bring to the table what Johnson brings, but would get the job done on the back end. If Rickey Romero bounces back to his 2011 form, do the Jays need a Josh Johnson, or would they prefer a Garza or Jimenez? I don’t think they would command anywhere near the same kind of money that Johnson would, even if both Garza and Jimenez have good years. They are steady veterans that give you a chance to win.
  • Roy Halladay: Potentially, the Philadelphia Phillies pitcher could hit the market. While Doc has stated he wants to finish his career in Philadelphia with the Phillies, I think it would be a pretty classy move to bring him back to Toronto for a couple of years to be another veteran arm in a formidable rotation.

We also can’t forget about in-house options the Blue Jays have—all those guys on the farm that were looking at being possible hopefuls for this year’s rotation before AA’s wheeling and dealing. There are guys that will start at Triple AAA, Double AA or the disabled list that would have been given an extra look, and opportunity to make the big league club in April of 2013.

But because there are a number of veterans poised to slot into the rotation, this list of candidates gets some extra time to develop their game on the farm and, barring any injury, will stay there for the whole year and compete for that supposedly vacant spot in 2014.

  • Chad Jenkins made his debut last year with the Jays. He posted a 1-3 record with a 4.50 ERA in 13 games, including three starts. Jenkins showed some promise last year, and would be most likely to be called up first in the event of an injury. Either he or J.A. Happ would get the chance to start, and I thought deserved a chance to start before the moves were made. I don’t think he figures into the team’s long term success, though, so he may not be an option to replace Johnson.

  • Kyle Drabek and Drew Hutchinson are coming off Tommy John surgery and will get an entire year and off-season to regain their arm strength. Both will be looking to find a spot on the big league roster when they return, and both have a legitimate case to make. Drabek was starting to mold into the pitcher the Blue Jays hoped he would be when they traded Halladay to get him. He was 4-7 with a 4.67 ERA and a WHIP of 1.60, and improving with every start. The 23-year-old Hutchinson was called up to the big league roster almost out of necessity after the first week or so into the season. In 11 starts, he went 5-3 with an ERA of 4.60 and 1.35 WHIP. He will be 23 this year and will hope to bounce back from a tough injury at a young age. TThese guys are probably the cheapest low risk/high reward options for the Jays in 2014.

Other names you can throw out there include Dustin McGowan, Aaron Sanchez, Roberto Osuna, Daniel Norris, Marcus Stroman, Deck McGuire and Adonys Cardona. With the exception of McGowan, it may be too soon to bring them up, but you never know how they may develop over the course of 2013.

But should injuries occur to the starting 5, some of these names may get a big league debut this season, and an extended look heading into 2014. As for McGowan, if he ever gets a lucky break and finds that his arm allows him to compete, I think the Jays will give him every chance to make the rotation.

It has happened a few times in the past where athletes perform at their best level when on their final contract year (A.J. Burnett for example threw 200 innings  went 18-10 with a 4.07 ERA and opted out, as his contract allowed after year three, his best season).

If Johnson looks like he is leaning towards cashing in on a big pay day on the market, then let him go out there and show the whole league why he deserves that money.

It’s debatable whether Johnson wants to pursue free agency. Shi Davedi  writes  in a recent article that free agency doesn’t really appeal to Johnson. While it could be something his agent told him to say, It could be true and he may want to be with the Jays for a lengthy period of time.

The Jays have a handful of options. I don’t think signing Johnson long term is an immediate need for this team.

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MLB Trade Rumors: R.A. Dickey Trade Would Solidify Toronto Blue Jays’ Chances

It would appear the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Mets have agreed on players for an R.A. Dickey trade, but according to Jon Heyman of CBS, stranger things have happened than a trade like this falling through. 

But should this deal go through, Dickey will be the final addition to a Blue Jays squad that catapulted itself into a playoff contender. 

The key Toronto player involved in this trade is top prospect Travis d’Arnaud

If you’re not familiar with who he is, d’Arnaud was the cog when the Blue Jays traded Roy Halladay in December 2009. 

Last season he hit .333/.380/.595 in an injury-shortened season. But regardless, he is in fact scheduled to make his MLB debut in 2013, and he seems to have all the tools necessary to make for a solid big league catcher. 

R.A. Dickey is the reigning NL Cy Young winner, and at 38, it’s difficult to tell whether his knuckle ball will continue to break over the plane of the plate for seasons to come.

But alas, there’s no reason to believe it won’t because 2012 wasn’t Dickey’s only quality season. 

Since 2010, Dickey’s had a record of 39-28 and an ERA of 2.95 in 616.2 innings pitched. Not to mention he’s the proud owner of a 1.15 WHIP and two consecutive 200-plus-inning seasons. 

In hindsight, the Blue Jays made it seem as though they were looking for a fifth starter. The misconception, though, was that the pitcher was to be a fifth-in-the-order calibre pitcher. In Dickey, Toronto is on the verge of snagging an ace. 


Although the Blue Jays have lost blue chippers Adeiny Hechavarria, Jake Marisnick, Justin Nicolino and now possibly Anthony Gose and Travis d’Arnaud, this is a case where they have to take risks to win games. 

With the Boston Red Sox trying to sort things out and the New York Yankees getting old and creaky, the time for Toronto to spend money is now. 

Not only do they have a mixed dynamic of power and speed in the batting order, but in Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Brandon Morrow, Ricky Romero and possibly Dickey, Toronto has a chance to win every time one of those pitchers take the mound. 

Assuming the team stays healthy and plays consistently, they will be tough to beat. And although the odds are already in their favor, the only thing left to do is go out and play. 

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Drew Hutchison the Latest Toronto Blue Jays Victim of Ridiculous Injury Bug

Well, this stinks. 

I can’t ever remember a team losing three starting pitchers to injury in less than a week.

Both Brandon Morrow and Drew Hutchison were pulled after only nine pitches each. I almost expect to see John Farrell cover Ricky Romero up in bubble wrap after the eighth pitch this afternoon.

Throw in the fact that the National Post is reporting that Kyle Drabek has a Monday appointment with “Dr. Doom” (James Andrews) himself , and you got a pretty tasty bad luck sandwich going on in Toronto right now. 

Oh, and don’t forget to add Vladimir Guerrero sauce too.

The old “us against the world” cliche has never been so applicable. Especially since it seems like everything in the world is literally trying to defeat you. 

What makes it all worse is that a small part of me feels like I jinxed them. Especially with Vlad and Hutch.

Listen, every team battles with injuries. Baseball is a game of attrition. In fact, no team knows this better than the Phillies, who go up against the Blue Jays today. But this ridiculous string of bad luck is even more deflating for a squad like the 2012 Blue Jays. So much hype had been built around the potential of this year’s team. But their margin for error was admittedly small. Especially in the AL East. 

This is definitely a character-check moment for this super young group. It feels like Toronto has gone from “buyers” to “sellers” in a blink of an eye. If this team has any hope to compete throughout the season, then the offense must carry the slack. Jose Bautista can’t do everything

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Guide to the Toronto Blue Jays Stealing the AL East Title

One thing that the Toronto Blue Jays have shown this season is that they are consistently inconsistent.  On occasion they have looked like a team equipped to raise their play to a new level—only to follow it up with disappointing stretches against teams they should beat (teams worse than .500) or fall short against teams they are competing with for a playoff spot. 

They also haven’t been able to get on a roll.  As of May 23, they have gone on five winning streaks of two or more games followed by losing streaks of two or more games.

They began their season alternating wins and losses two at a time—splitting their first 12 games. They then swept the Kansas City Royals (April 20-24) but then lost their next four—bringing them back to .500 (10-10) after 20 games. 

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Brett Lawrie and the Blue Jays Connect to Toronto Like No Team Before Them

There is a certain feeling in the air in Toronto about this year’s Blue Jays team. Jose Bautista is coming off his second straight season as the American League’s home run king while the Blue Jays’ farm system is jam-packed with top prospects such as Anthony Gose and Travis D’Arnaud. Finally, ownership has given Alex Anthopolous the resources to become a player in free agency.

This gives the Blue Jays a realistic chance at signing top free agents Prince Fielder or Yu Darvish. 

These are not exactly new ideas for the Blue Jays. They have had All-Stars before, their farm system has produced very good players such as Alex Rios and Roy Halladay. The Blue Jays have made big free agent signings in the past such as Frank Thomas and Troy Glaus.

However, this time around, it seems like this Blue Jays team is innately “Toronto” and connects to the fan base like no Blue Jays team before. 

The first, and arguably the most overlooked part of the rebirth of the franchise, is the logo and jersey rebranding. This offseason, the Blue Jays introduced a modernized version of the uniforms that they wore during their two World Series runs. To no surprise, this renaissance was met with rave reviews.

Although the uniforms are not exactly the same, they are close enough that a hat, jersey or T-shirt is surely on every Torontonian’s Christmas list. The uniforms remind fans of the magic from nearly 20 years ago; now fans can create a link between their former heroes to their current ones.

Each time Jose Bautista puts one over the fence in the Rogers Centre in his new number 19 split-scrit jerseys, fans will be reminded of the old number 19, 1993 World Series Most Valuable Player, Paul Molitor.

Secondly, the young Blue Jays stars have used social media to connect to the fan base in a way that former Blue Jays never had the opportunity to. J.P. Arencibia, Brett Lawrie, Ricky Romero and Jose Bautista have used Twitter to connect with a fan base in a way that resonates with them.

In fact, as I write this article, and watch the Maple Leafs, my Twitter feed shows a tweet from Arencibia stating, “Yeahhhhh and power play coming up!!!! Not over till the fat lady sings!!!” just as Phil Kessel scores.

It is no secret that nothing matters more in Toronto than the Maple Leafs, and to see the Blue Jays showing their support for the Leafs shows the City of Toronto that every player on the Blue Jays is one of them.

In fact, the Blue Jays have befriended the Maple Leafs through Twitter with the creation of #TeamUnit, a Toronto sports fraternity consisting of the city’s biggest young stars. Whether its asking fans for Fantasy Hockey advice, or tweeting pictures of Tyler Bozak at batting practice. The young Blue Jays are showing that they are proud to play for, and represent, the City of Toronto.



Finally, the Blue Jays’ rebirth is led by a national hero, British Columbia’s own, Brett Lawrie. Every city has and needs a player that represents its city. New York has Derek Jeter, the calm and collected Shortstop who grew up a Yankees fan and is unfazed by the big lights of New York City.

Minnesota has Joe Mauer, the St. Paul native who was an All-State athlete in three different sports. Although Lawrie is not from Toronto, he connects with the city through Canada’s national pride. The Blue Jays’ number one marketing scheme is to market themselves as Canada’s team.

They represent a nation, not just one city, as the only major league team in the country. It is only fitting that (although he hates to be called it) “The Saviour” comes from the other side of the country, but still connects with this team on a personal level.

The entire country loves Brett Lawrie and Brett Lawrie loves Canada. He has been willing to represent the country in international events such as the World Baseball Classic and the Baseball World Cup.

     Ultimately, unless the Blue Jays show that they can contend with the Yankees and the Red Sox in the American League East, the excitement will eventually die out. However, the optimism that it can be done this year is higher than ever. That optimism will fill seats, and maybe give the team the moral support to play their first playoff game since Joe Carter “touched them all.”

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Blue Jays Ace Ricky Romero Holds the Key to His Success

Jim Clancy, Doyle Alexander, Dave Stieb, Jimmy Key, Pat Hentgen, Roger Clemens and Roy Halladay. 

Whether by accomplishment or leadership attributes, when one thinks of the all-time Toronto Blue Jays starters, they usually top anyone’s list. 

With Shaun Marcum being dealt to the Milwaukee Brewers, Ricky Romero is in a position to become one of the elite, the one Toronto will remember for years to come. 

Drafted sixth overall out of Cal State Fullerton, Romero was the Jays’ first-round pick in the 2005 draft and all signs pointed to “an ace in the making.”  Find below Romero’s scouting report courtesy of MLB.com

“Fluid, easy delivery. Has two kinds of FB: a slider-like cutter and a nasty sinker that drops late. Can change speeds on 12-6 CB. Features a sharp slider. Very intense on the mound, keeps hitters off-balance. Potential front-end starter.” 

Sounds pretty accurate to me! 

Romero compiled 81 starts, 16 victories and over 400 innings pitched while honing his craft in the Jays minor league system for five years. Now, after two full MLB seasons, the Jays rewarded Romero with a generous five-year $30 million contract and some added responsibility.   

Presently, Romero is right on schedule to becoming this generation’s Roy Halladay.  And statistically speaking, he has improved in nearly every category since his 2009 rookie campaign.  Unfortunately walks continue to be his Achilles’ heel, just like his predecessor.   

All young pitchers deal with control issues, even Halladay, who had to return to the basics to regain his form to uncover his true ability.   

For Romero to become elite, he needs to perfect his control.  A pitcher can only bonus the opposition for so long before he gets burned.  History has proven that the additional work and the excess wear and tear on the arm has ruined or derailed many promising careers. 

With a new season on the horizon, 2011 is Romero’s time to shine.  There is no doubt in my mind that at 26, this “wily veteran” will continue to evolve into the superstar we all expect and, hopefully sooner than later, lead the Jays back to the top of the mountain.

Devon is the founder of The GM’s Perspective

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Toronto Blue Jays 2011 Preview: Are They a Better Team Than Last Year?

At first glance, it would appear as if the Toronto Blue Jays have had a quiet offseason.

There were no big contracts, no major deals, no guys named Greinke or Ramirez. 

In fact, they seemed to lose more players than they acquired: Scott Downs, Brian Tallet, Kevin Gregg, All-Star catcher John Buck and first baseman Lyle Overbay have all signed elsewhere. 

Oh, and they traded Shaun Marcum, their Opening Day starter, for prospect Brett Lawrie.

Some have suggested that the Jays will actually field a weaker team than they did in 2010, one that’ll be unable to capitalize on the Crawford-less Rays and an aging New York Yankees. 

But in reality, GM Alex Anthopoulos has been flying under the radar, bolstering the club’s already impressive farm system with several low-risk acquisitions, such as outfielder Corey Patterson and reliever Wil Ledezma. The Jays will have a competitive spring training in which many players will be competing for few jobs, particularly in the bullpen. 

They signed former closers Jon Rauch, Octavio Dotel and Chad Cordero, who will battle it out with Jason Frasor to be the everyday closer. The fifth spot in the rotation is also up for grabs, with Marc Rzepczynski, Jesse Litsch, Brad Mills and newcomer Zach Stewart all vying for the position. And if Dustin McGowan somehow manages to get healthy, you can throw his name into the mix, too. 

Whether the Jays brass will admit it publicly or not, the club is not realistically looking to contend for the AL East title until 2012. Having said that, there’s plenty to be excited about in 2011. Let’s take a closer look at the changes made over the offseason.

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Toronto Blue Jays: John Farrell Signs As The Blue Jays’ 12th Manager

Alex Anthopoulos finally made it official by announcing the Blue Jays have hired John Farrell, the former pitching coach of the Boston Red Sox, to be the twelfth manager in Blue Jays history. Farrell was considered one of the best minds available. In fact Terry Francona stated it was not a question of whether he became a bench boss, or even how long (he knew it would be this year), it was a question of where.

By hiring Farrell, Anthopoulos solidifies the idea that the Blue Jays will build from within. Farrell was famous for making the Cleveland Indians farm system one of the best in baseball. This caught the eyes of the Red Sox brass and they promptly hired him as their pitching coach.

Under his tutelage some of the bright young stars of the Boston Red Sox pitching rotation were formed. This would greatly help the young pitchers the Blue Jays have on the team now (Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow, Shaun Marcum, Brett Cecil etc.) but also the ones coming up through the system like Kyle Drabek, and Deck McGuire.

Anthopoulos is taking a huge risk in hiring this unproven manager. Of course it is highly unlikely a proven manager would come to the Blue Jays by leaving their current jobs. As for the ones who don’t have a job now, most of them are old and so would not be able to make as big of an impact by the time they would retire. By getting someone as young as Farrell (48) he is able to take the risk of getting a stud manager for years to come.

Lots of people are saying this is another one of those brilliant moves by Alex Anthopoulos. I tend to agree. But don’t just take my word for it. Even Manny Ramirez agrees. He claims to have been a fan of the Blue Jays since the 1980s because of all the Dominican players that they had on their teams.

Now with the addition of Farrell, whom he claims is extremely knowledgeable about the game, he is apparently considering signing with the Blue Jays. Of course one wonders at the age of 38 who really wants him, but then again this is still Manny Ramirez.

Now Farrell has to build his team. That is to say he has to decide if he keeps the current coaching staff or not. He can decide to bring in his own guys, and maybe even do the job of the pitching coach himself. I am against that as I believe it extends the manager too much and he has to be able to delegate this stuff. Furthermore, if the Jays had been able to keep their former pitching coach Brad Arnsberg there is no question he keeps him but now its all up for debate. 

Personally I think the only person safe from being fired from the coaching staff is Brian Butterfield as he has done a solid job being the third base coach. The only difference I see is that Farrell may choose to move him around to first base or maybe even hitting coach, but a man of his caliber probably has a job with this organization for quite a while.

Now that Farrell has finally been hired, the question is what’s next? The Blue Jays play in one of the toughest divisions in baseball with the Yankees and Red Sox spending a tonne of money on their rosters. So will Farrell be able to get the extra 11 or so wins needed to get into the postseason next year or will the Blue Jays have to keep building (Anthopoulos refuses to call this a rebuild) their team? The answer to these questions remains to be seen. 

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What We Learned About The Toronto Blue Jays Future In 2010

The 2010 edition of the Toronto Blue Jays was full of surprises and provided many promising glimpses into the team’s future. Whether or not anyone besides Blue Jays fans noticed is another matter entirely. The Jays were widely expected to finish at the bottom of baseball’s toughest, deepest division, the mighty AL East. They only wound up one spot above the basement but they also went 85-77, the kind of thing that can only happen in AL East.

The fourth place finish despite the winning record is both a reason for optimism and cause for concern. The winning record is something to build on and at least shows the club is headed in the right direction. They were able to compete despite the loss of both Roy Halladay and Alex Rios from a year ago and survived disappointing seasons from Aaron Hill and Adam Lind, a pair who never came close to matching their 2009 breakout campaigns.

The cause for concern stems from the daunting task of taking this team from 85 wins to 95 wins. A big part of the Jays success stemmed from the excellent performance of it’s young starting rotation. Will that rotation be able to perform better collectively in 2011 and 2012? Will it be able to stay healthy? And then there’s figuring out how repeatable Jose Bautista‘s 2010 performance will be going forward. There’s also questions about the situations at first base, third base and catcher to consider.

But what to do we know now that we didn’t before the start of the season? First and foremost, Blue Jays GM Alex Anthropoulos has asserted himself as a man who knows what he is doing. He brought in Brandon Morrow and gave the kid a chance to pitch a full season as a starter. Morrow took the ball 26 times and pitched a career high 146 1/3 innings and finished up the season with a 3.16 FIP. Anthropoulos picked up Fred Lewis for next to nothing from the Giants and the twenty-nine year old turned in a solid season hitting .262/.332/.414 and stealing 17 bases in 23 tries.

Anthopoulos also made a pair of moves to sure up the teams future at the hard to fill position of shortstop by first signing Cuban shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria and then spinning the aging Alex Gonzalez for twenty-seven year old, Yunel Escobar. Hechavarria is a few years off but held his own in Double-A at just twenty-one years of age.

Escobar had fallen out of favor with the Atlanta Braves organization after two excellent seasons at the plate and in the field. The Jays picked him up in the midst of his worst season but he rebounded to hit .275 with a .340 on-base percentage. Anthopoulos picked up a cost controlled shortstop in his prime, the type of player that can often be impossible to go outside an organization and acquire.

Anthopoulos also made the controversial move of shipping first baseman of the future, Brett Wallace, to the Houston Astros for a relative unknown in center fielder, Anthony Gose. Several years will have to pass before seeing if the gamble pays off. But once again, Anthopoulos went out and got a talented up the middle player, a definite weakness in the Blue Jays player development system.

Vernon Wells is about to become an incredibly expensive player starting next season. It’s unfathomable that Wells will be able to provide twenty million dollars plus worth of production over the next couple of years. In 2010, Wells turned in a solid performance hitting 31 homers, his first season of 30 or more since 2006. He stayed healthy playing in 158 games and hit .273 with a career high isolated power of .242. He isn’t likely to produce All-Star caliber numbers anymore as he’ll be 32 entering next season. His 2010 did show that not all hope is lost for the Jays highest paid player.

In addition to Morrow, Ricky Romero and Shaun Marcum were an impressive 1-2 combo at the front of the rotation. Romero’s 3.73 ERA and equally impressive 3.64 FIP were fueled by his tremendous 55.2 percent groundball rate. Marcum walked just 1.98 batters per nine innings and sported a 3.74 FIP and a 3.64 ERA. Brett Cecil had a solid performance as well with a 4.03 FIP and above average control walking only 2.81 batters per nine.

Down in the minors several players showed promising development and moved closer to contributing to the big club in the future. Catcher J.P. Arencibia hit 32 homers for Triple-A Las Vegas while showing the best plate discipline of his career. Arencibia hit .301 with a .359 on-base percentage and a thunderous, even for the hitting happy Pacific Coast League, .325 ISO. If John Buck leaves in the off season, J.P. is ready.

The other prized prospect, pitcher Kyle Drabek, performed well enough with Double-A New Hampshire to earn a late season call up to Toronto. Drabek struckout 7.3 per nine innings and had a 3.87 FIP in 162 innings. It’s possible Drabek will start 2011 in the Jays rotation.

Another player from New Hampshire to keep an eye on is right fielder, Eric Thames. In just his second pro season at age twenty-three, Thames hit 27 homers while batting .270 with an 8.4 percent walk rate and a .238 isolated power.

There’s an awful lot to discuss this off season about the direction of the Blue Jays. 2010 has to be considered an organizational wide success. The team added talent, got younger, and pumped new life into it’s player development system. The Tampa Bay Rays have shown twice now in three years that Boston and New York can be bested, The Jays are starting to look like they have a path of their own to the top.

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Toronto Blue Jays 2010: Leadership Transition From Roy Halladay To Shaun Marcum

Roy Halladay is known as perhaps the greatest pitcher to ever pull on a Blue Jays uniform; some would say that it is without a doubt that he is.

That could be quite intimidating for a young pitcher in the rotation with him.

Last year when Halladay was still with the Blue Jays, Ricky Romero and Brett Cecil came up to pitch with the team for the first time.  Halladay was the undisputed leader among the pitching staff at this time due to his experience and almost legendary status.

Having a pitcher on the team who can lead by example the way Halladay did cannot be underestimated. Simply watching Halladay practice and pitch could be a giant learning experience for pitchers just coming up to the Major Leagues.

But as ball clubs change and develop, different leaders are appropriate for the different times.  When Halladay was traded in the winter, Shaun Marcum became the veteran leader on the Blue Jays staff despite losing last season to injury.

The 2010 season has seen Marcum recover with surprising success, putting up a 3.63 ERA, a 13-8 record with 161 strikeouts and just 43 walks.  His control and consistency, as well as his experience, has made him the pitcher that the other staff looks to for leadership.  But it is his easygoing and fun approach to the games that has helped to make this a very different pitching staff.

With Marcum being the oldest starter at 28 years old, this is a very young pitching rotation with many of the starts coming from pitchers from the minors such as Kyle Drabek.

There are also new additions such as Brandon Morrow, who came over in a trade from the Seattle Mariners.

With this combination of youth and new pitchers, it is important to have someone who can bring the picthing staff together.  Marcum has become that pitcher, and because of that, the Blue Jays have a very noticeable bond and camaraderie.

This companionship has created a sense of friendly competition and pushed the starters to a surprising and rather impressive year.  Romero established himself as a future ace with his play this year, and broke the 200 innings milestone for the first time.  Morrow led the league in strikeouts per nine innings this year and learned to control his powerful arm.  Cecil greatly improved on last year with his all-around numbers and led the team in wins.

Halladay personified greatness in a Blue Jays uniform, but in the end, perhaps it was the right time for him to move on.  He gets a chance to compete in the postseason this year as he justly deserves, and the Blue Jays have the opportunity to evolve into a different team, one that once again has a chance to make it to the playoffs.  

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