Everywhere you look, there are new faces within the Toronto Blue Jays organization. In just over 12 months, there has been a complete facelift: there’s a new president, general manager, manager, and now a new coaching staff.
And since it’s a new regime, that means the changes translate on the field as well. Which leads us to the burning question: since there’s a new face just about everywhere else, who is the new face of the franchise?
It all came to head as I was trying to figure out which players to put on the new Blue Jay Hunter banner. I had to think long and hard about which players represent the brand new direction of the Toronto Blue Jays.
Generally speaking, the Blue Jays have at least two or three marketable players in mind before the season comes to an end. This past year, it was Adam Lind and Aaron Hill who were featured prominently in their marketing material such as pocket and magnet schedules.
Just a few weeks ago, I received my 2011 season magnet in the mail, and which Blue Jays were featured? None other than Jose Bautista, Vernon Wells, and Shaun Marcum. Apparently that’s mirrored as well inside the 2011 pocket schedules.
Not that a franchise player is necessarily crowned or announced, but you get the sense that each team has a “go-to guy”. One could argue that the Blue Jays really haven’t had a true franchise player since the days of Carlos Delgado and most recently, Roy Halladay.
Before I delve into who the next face of the franchise could possibly be, maybe we should explore what exactly constitutes a franchise player.
In my mind, a franchise guy has to be somebody who’s with the team for the long haul and either under team control for several seasons or signed to a multi-year contract. Automatically, names that fall into that category are Ricky Romero, Adam Lind, Vernon Wells, and depending on how many options are picked up, Aaron Hill.
They also have to be somebody who has displayed they aren’t flash in the pan or a one-season wonder. That’s my reasoning for ruling out somebody like Jose Bautista because as much as I love the guy, he’s going to have an uphill battle trying to match his stellar 2010 season. The bar has been set so incredibly high for him that anything less than 54 home runs in the eyes of some fans will be a disappointment.
One of the intangibles of a franchise player is they have to be an ambassador for the team. Somebody who isn’t afraid to speak to the media … especially after those tough losses. A player who’s very visible in the community, and is a good presence in the clubhouse: like Vernon Wells or Jose Bautista.
Now the organization has pretty much decided who their franchise guys are going to be for the next year, but I’m interested to hear what you guys think.
Which Blue Jay is the new face of the franchise? Take a second to vote in the poll below and/or leave a comment with your thoughts.
On the pitching front, I’d have to say the man who’s leading the charge is Ricky Romero. Armed with a new 5-year deal, RR Cool Jay isn’t going anywhere any time soon. And he even avoided the sophomore slump and actually performed a little better in his second full season than his first.
In my mind, Ricky Romero has quickly become a solid 200+ innings pitcher and is on the cusp of being crowned as the staff ace.
As far as position players are concerned, my vote for the new face of the franchise is Travis Snider. It’s been a long battle for Snider since his big league debut in 2008, and I truly think that 2011 will be his make or break season.
We’ve seen glimpses of brilliance from Travis Snider over the past three years, and hopefully it’s not something that’s ill fated. He definitely has the potential to be the new face of this franchise, and maybe his foray into the Twittersphere was the first step in that direction.
But if I had to pick between Ricky Romero and Travis Snider as the new face of the Toronto Blue Jays, I would have to give the slight edge to Ricky Romero.
I realize we only have two seasons and just 388 major league innings to go from, but even at the lowest of his lows, Ricky Romero is still a pretty damn good pitcher.
As far as Travis Snider is concerned, I’m still a little bit apprehensive to say he’s the new face of the franchise. The one thing that Snider has going for him that Romero doesn’t? At this point in his career, Snider’s ceiling is much higher.
We pretty much know what to expect from Ricky Romero going forward. However with Travis Snider, he could be a 20 home run hitter, he could be a 30 home run hitter, hell … he could even be a 40 home run hitter.
Either way, I’m happy with either (or even both) of these guys being the new face of the Toronto Blue Jays.