Spring training is finally underway for Major League Baseball, and that means that the Toronto Blue Jays are back on the diamond getting themselves ready for the upcoming season.
Coming off a disappointing 2009, the Jays’ new general manager, Alex Anthopolous, traded Roy Halladay and brought in young, fresh talent. In other words, the Jays are in a rebuilding phase.
For anyone who has ever been a fan of a rebuilding franchise, you know that it is a long and painful road ahead. Many experts are already predicting the Jays to finish last in their division, Rogers has increased ticket prices, manager Cito Gaston has decided to have Vernon Wells bat fourth, and the Jays are far from having any stars on their roster.
However, despite how gloomy the season ahead may look, there could still be some reasons to check out the Jays this year.
First off is the team’s rotation. The five projected starters are all young and will be developing over this season, which could make them quiet but deadly on the mound. Ricky Romero became a fan favourite with the team last year, and was nominated for AL Rookie of the Year. Along with him, the Jays acquired Brendan Morrow who should have a lot to prove coming over from Seattle. Jays fans should also be excited to see Shawn Marcum, who missed most of last season following a surgery.
In the batter’s box, Adam Lind and Aaron Hill both had huge seasons last year, and fans will be waiting to see what they can do this time around. Hill was an all-star and led all second-basemen in homeruns for much of last year, while Lind really turned it on in the second half of the season. These two should provide some power and entertainment by hitting the long ball throughout the season.
Lastly, this will be Cito’s last season managing the club. While some of his decisions in the past few years have had Jays fans scratching their heads, he is a legend of the organization and this last year will likely be played up as a homage to him.
As you can see, this won’t necessarily be the greatest season ever, especially if you’re just trying to get into the game. But even though a young team with no real expectations may hurt to watch, it should be fun to watch the team develop and see if they can pull off any big upsets throughout the year.