Friday, September 22, 2006

Blue Jays 2006: Failure?

Seems like everywhere you turn recently, you'll find someone eager to pile on the 2006 Blue Jays and label their season a total failure, a huge disappointment and a colossal waste of money futilely spent.

That may well be the case for people who had predicted the Blue Jays as their dark horse World Series winner, or touted them as winners of the AL East. Meanwhile, those of us who kept our heads and knew this was a long-term project meant to secure key pieces of the puzzle for half a decade, are left scratching our heads at all the talk of gloom and doom.

The Blue Jays are currently 8 games above .500 with 10 games to go. With a four-game series on tap against the Red Sox, the Jays could easily finish higher than 3rd in the division for the first time since their last World Series season of 1993. They have already tied their win total from last year, sitting pretty with 80 victories.

A.J. Burnett has been dynamite for the past 2 months, Doc has been Doc, Stavo Chacin has gone 8-3 in an injury-riddled season and the bullpen has been steady. Aaron Hill has emerged as a stellar infielder (11 errors while playing short and learning 2nd), while his bat has caught up to its potential (.290 as of this writing). Brandon League has made jaws drop with his 100 mph fastball, and been retiring the league's best consistently.

The big money free agents have delivered exactly what was asked of them: Troy Glaus, AJ Burnett (after recovering from injury), Benji Molina and BJ Ryan have strengthened the lineup considerably. With Ted Rogers' proclamation that he wouldn't mind pumping even more money into the lineup, JP Ricciardi should be well-equipped to go get a solid #3 starter and a shortstop since Ted Lilly will surely leave for California in the offseason, and John McDonald looks as bad at the plate as he looks good on D.

With all this in mind, it's mind-boggling to witness the Toronto media's negativity towards this season, when such obvious improvements have been made. Then again, it's the Toronto media.