Whether I like it or not, being a rabid (and bordering on somewhat obsessive) fan of the television show “Lost” and the Toronto Blue Jays is a very similar experience.
Often tortured and teased, we receive very few answers and more often than not, once we actually do receive an answer, they just end up unearthing even more questions.
You’re probably wondering how in the hell all if this relates to the Toronto Blue Jays. Well, just as J.J. Abrams has yet to answer many unanswered questions on the final season Lost, the Blue Jays have yet to make the final decisions on quite a few key areas before Opening Day.
Who is the closer?
Neither Alex Anthopoulos or Cito Gaston have given us a concrete answer on whether it will be Scott Downs or Jason as the official closer for this team. Both have indicated that the position is up for grabs, and Cito even mentioned that Jeremy Accardo could be a dark horse candidate to reclaim the job he held down back in 2007.
To add another layer of complication to the issue, apparently MLBTR has reported that the Blue Jays have stated that Scott Downs and Jason Frasor will be available, as the Chicago Cubs have already kicked the tires on both relievers.
Who will hold down the corner outfield spots?
As of now, the only player who’s spot is guaranteed in the outfield is Vernon Wells. It sounds like left and right field are entirely up for grabs, with as many as seven players vying for both positions (Lind, Snider, Bautista, Gathright, Reed, Lubanski, Padilla).
I’m guessing that either left/right field goes to Snider, and the remaining spot is platooned between Bautista and Gathright. Cito would be mad to play Bautista as the everyday leadoff man/corner infielder, but we have already assumed that’s exactly what he’s going to do. Hopefully management can talk him out of it.
Who will be the ace?
Obviously whomever steps into the number one starter’s role in the rotation will have some big shoes to fill after the departure of Roy Halladay. In late December, I threw in my vote for Shaun Marcum to be the new ace for the Blue Jays, but that title could just as easily go to Ricky Romero, Marc Rzepczynski, or even Dustin McGowan. When it comes to the starting five, there are so many question marks that it’s incredibly difficult to gauge who will come out on top.
Some would argue that at this point, the Blue Jays don’t have a true “ace” and are more so comprised of number two and number three starters. I would tend to agree with that statement, but anybody could come out of nowhere and surprise us all – as Marc Rzepczynski did last season.
Who will manage this team after 2010?
Speaking of everyone’s favourite manager (who happens to confuse his relievers and lobby for players to be signed), who is going to replace Cito Gaston? Alex Anthopoulos said he would prefer someone who has at least some coaching experience at the major league level.
I’m not completely sure if that means all the current members of the Blue Jays coaching staff are up for consideration, but Nick Leyva and Brian Butterfield seem like a couple of possibilities. And even though he ended his tenure with the Blue Jays on a bad note, don’t rule out a return by Ernie Whitt.
One would also have to assume that any mid-season firings will automatically be at the top of the list for candidates to replace Cito. It’s not like a Mike Scoscia falls into your lap every day, so after 2010, the Blue Jays may have to survive on another team’s leftovers in the interim.