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Toronto Blue Jays: Spring Training Information
[ April 5, 2009 at 12:34 PM ] [ Comments (18) ] [ Full Story ]  [ Filed under: Blue Jays | Top ]
[ Tagged: , , ]
By Drunk Jays Fans
Location: Dunedin Stadium (Formerly Knology Park) - Dunedin, FLA
Pitchers and Catchers Report: Feb. 16th
First Game: Feb. 25th vs. New York Yankees

Projected Opening Day Lineup

1. Aaron Hill (2B)
2. Marco Scutaro (SS)
3. Alex Rios (RF)
4. Vernon Wells (CF)
5. Adam Lind/Travis Snider/Jose Bautista/Kevin Millar (DH)
6. Travis Snider/Adam Lind (LF)
7. Lyle Overbay/Kevin Millar (1B)
8. Scott Rolen (3B)
9. Rod Barajas (C)

Projected Rotation

1. Roy Halladay
2. Jesse Litsch
3. David Purcey
4. Casey Janssen 5. Scott Richmond/Ricky Romero/Matt Clement/Mike Maroth/Brett Cecil/Brad Mills

Additional Notes: Dustin McGowan should assume the 2-spot upon his return from injury in May. Shaun Marcum will miss the entire year after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Projected Bullpen

Spare Parts: Shawn Camp, Jesse Carlson, Jason Frasor, Brian Tallet, Brian Wolfe
7th Inning: Jeremy Accardo/Brandon League
8th Inning: Scott Downs
Closer: B.J. Ryan
Additional Notes: No, I'm not forgetting about Ken Takahashi.
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Key Battles

The most important battle this Spring Training will be for the hearts and minds of Blue Jays fans dismayed over their team's lack of offseason productivity. As the only squad in the American League not to sign a free agent to a Major League contract, the Jays used the current economic downturn as an excuse to scale their payroll back by more than $10 million.

However, as their communications conglomerate owner continues to turn record profits and free agent salaries reach bargain basement prices, Jays fans have more reason than ever to be upset at the likelihood of a sixteenth straight season without making the playoffs.

On a more tangible level, there should be some interesting positional battles occurring in Dunedin this spring as well.

The Starting Rotation

With Halladay, Litsch and most likely Purcey holding secured spots, it's up to a rag tag group of youngsters, rehab projects and other teams' rejects to fill out what was one of the best rotations in baseball last season.

While Clement and Maroth would make for heart-warming comeback stories and youngsters Cecil and Mills may be what the fans want to see, look for Janssen and Richmond to be given every opportunity to emerge as the fourth and fifth starters. I'll give Romero an outside shot at breaking camp with the team.

The Backup Catcher

With the departure of Gregg Zaun to Baltimore, the Jays will be missing out on more than blank cheques getting left around the clubhouse. Michael Barret and Raul Chavez both received invites to Spring Training, and management is bound to keep an eye on prospects J.P. Arencibia and Brian Jeroloman, all as candidates for the backup catching role.

The inside track to back up Barajas belongs to Barret, but don't be surprised to see Arencibia come up at some point during the year to get some on the job training for a position that is bound to be his in the near future.

The Useless Utility Guy

Nothing caused more of an uproar in the Blue Jays blogosphere this offseason than when Jose Bautista signed a one year/$2.4 million contract to avoid arbitration. That much money in this market for a bench player, especially with Jays ownership crying poor, was a head scratcher to say the least.

Now, with Kevin Millar accepting an invitation to camp, and Bautista's non-guaranteed contract status, it's not difficult to imagine Bautista getting paid $400,000 for a couple Spring Training appearances before he's sent packing.

Still, I'm sure the Blue Jays will at least pretend to consider him for the final bench spot.

What To Expect

Judging by the mini PR campaign that Blue Jays management orchestrated this offseason, they're hoping that you don't expect much, but still buy lots of tickets and merchandise.

Manager Cito Gaston has said that this year's Spring Training won't be a vacation for veterans, promising that the he'll treat the last week of exhibition games like the previous regime treated the first week of the regular season.

What else? A third place finish in the AL East ... a Cy Young season for Roy Halladay ... mediocre numbers from Travis Snider and Adam Lind ... better numbers from Lyle Overbay and Vernon Wells ... a return to power for Alex Rios ... a great year for Casey Janssen ... a bad year for Jesse Litsch ... and most obviously a clubhouse brawl between John McDonald and Kevin Millar over who's more likeable.

Get all your Blue Jays coverage at Drunk Jays Fans.

18 Comments | Leave a comment

With the outlook being what it is in Toronto, wouldn't the team be better served in attempting to deal BJ Ryan to a contender before the season starts? That's when the most teams would be in play, and they know that they have 0 chance of signing him after 2010, so why not trade him now when his value is highest? They have other candidates in Accardo and Carlson to take the job and also have Farina coming up in the minors. For a closer like BJ they could surely pry a Bret Wallace type prospects that will help them out soon and for the long term. Thoughts?

3rd place finish? 4th if they are lucky

A third place finish? With the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays all in the same division? Please, without Marcum and Burnett, the Jays will be lucky to get fourth place.

The Jays will be the same as last year and the year before around 85 wins. Enough of Burnett he had one good year actually one good half and in 12 of his wins the bullpen pitched from the 6th on. Given that they should have picked up and arm or two.

Sorry, but the Jays are going to battle it out with Baltimore for a 4th place finish. Trading Ryan sounds like a decent idea, since the Jays should be in full rebuilding mode right now. Unfortunately, closers haven't been in great demand this offseason... there's bound to be a team or two interested though. A Halladay trade should be considered as well - he is the best thing your team has going right now, but his talent is wasted on a 4th place team and I doubt he will stick around once his contract is up. You could get some nice prospects for him, especially since his ~$30M over the next two years is a bargain.

as much as some may feel they should blow it up 'cause they have no chance, those people are wrong. the jays are building for a run in 2010, w/a healthy marcum and mcgowan, and more experience under the belts of Lind and snider they should actually be in a position to contend(they had the 3rd BEST pythagorean record in MLB last year).

Also as shocking as it seams Doc Halladay has continually stated he has no desire to leave as long as the Jay are fielding teams with intent of winning(he's some kind of anachronistic, loyal, honest, moralist, work ethic fueled, all-around good guy, mormon; every one has a bad quality)

However It's my opinion that the jays will be looking to move Ryan. his contract is meh at 10M per year, the jays are looking to save some cash and their bullpen is full of good relievers both left and right handed(provided Scott downs recent elbow MRI is indeed nothing to worry about as has been said by the club, but with JP one can never know; he's purposefully dishonest to the fans/media regarding injuries) and even if ryan is moved the Jays are still MUCH better then BAL

I cannot believe we are carrying Lyle Overbay and Bautista/Millar at 1B and DH.

If this GM was good, he would have found a way to trade for a young stud middle of the order bat, without taking on salary (someone like SD 1B Adrian Gonzalez).

What's wrong with Overbay? Or are you not familiar with baseball?

And I'm sure SD would absolutely give up their young, cheap stud, for no reason what so ever.

Re: Whats wrong with Overbay?

He had a .777. Was among the league worst in hits, runs, HR's, RBI's etc etc etc for 1B's.

And dont argue that his OBP is the reason is great. It was good, but not great and he was TERRIBLE for the first half of the season.

A championship team needs more from its 1B.

With regards to Gonzalez; you sound like a bittern man.

I certainly didn't suggest SD would give away a great young hitter -- but rather suggested, we need to see our team pull off some of a great deal that addresses team needs, within the financial constraints they have given themselves.

No one in baseball claims that JP is a great GM. Yet we hear this about Billy Beane and Jon Daniels, and we used to hear this about Twins GM Terry Ryan all the time. Those are teams will small budgets that have pulled off many VERY good trades. If JP wants to be known this way, he needs to risk giving up a Lind, Snider, Cecil or JP Arencibia (whom no one else is nearly as high on as the Jays) and find a young reliable stud hitter and/or pitcher, that can make the difference now.

Friedman had the stones to trade "Baseball America's Top Prospect", for two players that helped win a World Series. He is a GREAT GM. Clearly. He has made countless excellent (and lucky) transactions that allowed his team to win.

Not JP and not the Blue Jays.

Blue Jays first baseman Lyle Overbay revealed yesterday he underwent three hernia surgeries over the winter. Overbay added he will likely miss the first week of the Grapefruit League schedule, which opens next Wednesday. The Jays will decide on whether to place him on the disabled list.

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