I have been a fan of the Blue Jays since 1986, which represented hay days of Lloyd Moseby and George Bell. In all the years of ups and downs, championships and failed season; to me the 2012 season ranks as the lowest point in the history of their franchise, quite possibly the worst. With this I decided to take the liberty to make a list offseason moves this franchise needs to make in order to regain their credibility, and perhaps make the postseason for the first time since 1993.
1. Fire Alex Anthopoulos
Whether people want to acknowledge it or not, Alex Anthopoulos has poor track record going back to the days when was with the Expos Organization (we all know what happened to the Expos). More specifically, the moves that Alex has made since he became GM have yet to benefit the Blue Jays team. From the list of moves and transactions he has made, the only one that I deem as credible was the December 2009 trade that had reliever Brandon League and minor league outfielder Johermyn Chavez traded to Seattle for Brandon Morrow; Brandon Morrow is arguably the most consistent pitcher the Blue Jays currently have on their roster. But what perhaps what defines Alex’s transactions, is how many of the players he traded went on to excel on other teams. Take for instance Aaron Hill, after his trade to Arizona in 2011, he went on to hit for the cycle twice this season. The best example is Roy Halladay: After his trade to Philadelphia in 2009, he went on to win pitch a perfect game, win Cy Young award in 2010, and pitch a post-season no-hitter, named Sportsperson of the Year in 2011, and become one of the best players in the game today. From that Roy Halladay trade, the only gain this team made in retrospect was Kyle Drabek; aside from this, I personally I don’t believe this organization gained anything from the Roy Halladay trade. What is most notable about the Toronto Blue Jays under is their record; 212 – 247 with no postseason appearances. My belief is that the Blue Jays need a stronger figurehead, that has a low tolerance for failure, very much like the late great George Steinbrenner of the Yankees organization. This team needs to be a winning team, with a GM that has that desire to win; unfortunately Alex Anthopoulos does not fit that bill.
2. Let go of Ricky Romero
The enigma that is Ricky Romero is one that Ricky himself may not be able to solve. How a player that came into the season with so much promise, can somehow post one of the worst season statistically in the history of this team organization, is beyond anyone’s reasoning. The one thing I know, this franchise spent more time trying to coddle and make excuses for Ricky, rather than focus on the goal of winning. After watching my Ricky Romero through his slump and how he struggled with control, with confidence, and with consistency; I strongly believe that his internal issues are too big for the organization to handle. To Ricky’s credit, from a character point of view, he handled his slump better than any athlete I have ever seen. But if we look at this objectively, many of those games where Ricky was unable to make it out of the first 3 innings without allowing more than 6 walks and 5 runs, were winnable games; unfortunately his poor pitching performances set a tone that would benefit the opposing team. Ricky is a great person with a great attitude, but if this team is looking to go into a winning direction, they a ensemble of people with a winning attitude; my belief is that Ricky may be too deep in a psychological stupor to fix this problem effectively for next season; hence my belief is that a change of scenery may be the answer.
3. More Off Season Conditioning
This is not to say that the many of the Toronto Blue Jays players are not in good physical shape, but much of that is based on physical appearance. One thing I have learned is that your physical appearance is not the factor that determines if a player is well conditioned or not. But the reason why I say conditioning is an issue is because of the major factor that led to this team’s decline, that being injuries. Many injuries are attributed to poor physical conditioning and the fact that so many Toronto Blue Jays players suffered a different variety of injuries, could be linked to conditioning. I am not a personal trainer myself, but I believe this each of the Blue Jays players should focus on the following aspects in regards to conditioning; flexibility training(ie: Yoga stretching), cardiovascular training, and strength training. If the Blue Jays have any hopes of making the preseason, they need to have the proper conditioning in order to last an entire season, rather that half the season. Conditioning I believe is an aspect that can determine the durability of each player; the more durable each player can be, the more effective the team becomes as a whole.
Before the Toronto Blue Jays decide to throw money at the situation, I believe they need to make the necessary steps to make sure their system from top to bottom is perfectly alined. In totality, if the Toronto Blue Jays Organization is not committed to being organized, then none of their initiatives including the ones I have noted, will result into a winning season next year.