This time around we have some help from Andrew Stoeten from the site Drunk Jays Fans Make sure yo visit the site and show some Oriole love.
There’s a lot of talk about rebalancing the MLB to make the AL East more competitive, how to Jays fans feel?
I think most Jays fans would love it, though personally I think it’s a complete cop out. There are something like 6 million people within an hours drive of the Rogers Centre. Toronto is a huge, rich market, and a team here, if properly managed, given time could easily generate revenue on par with Boston. I mean, when the Jays were winning World Series’ in the early 90s they were filling the SkyDome and spending more than any club in baseball. There’s no reason it couldn’t happen again, and the idea of wanting to slink out of the division with our tails between our legs kind of offends me– not that there’s much of a chance of that anyway, since ownership here loves all the home games against Boston and New York, which always bring in the crowds.
Do Jays fans think this team is retooling on the run or is the organization planning to tear things down completely like the O’s did? How much faith do fans have in the front office to build a winning team?
Whether the team is retooling on the run or not really depends on the performances of prospects like Snider, Drabek, Wallace, and now perhaps Hechevarria. Their eyes seem to be set on 2012, but that would require a lot of things to go right, development-wise. Fortunately, fans here do have faith in the front office– especially with the return of Paul Beeston as President, who essentially ran the club (along with Pat Gillick) from its infancy through the World Series years. I think they’ve learned from the mistakes of the past decade and won’t start spending wildly unless they really feel they’re ready to compete in this division, so at some point they might decide to tear things down even more completely, but for now it feels like they’re starting out on the right path.
What is the biggest strength of this team? What are fans most concerned about?
The biggest strength, I suppose, is that they’ve got lots of very good, young, controllable arms who are either in the majors or very close. None of them will turn into a Halladay, but the rotation, for the time being, doesn’t feel like it’s going to be a concern going forward– that is, once they sort out who’s a keeper and who isn’t.
As for what the fans are most concerned about, I think it’s absolutely unfounded and ridiculous for a number of reasons, but the grim spectre of what happened up the road in Montreal really does seem to have got into the heads of many fans– especially after the SkyDome (excuse me, Rogers Centre) hosted its two smallest crowds ever at the end of last season, and following that with trading away the face of the franchise and starting this rebuilding process. It’s a bit completely hysterical to think the Jays will end up like that, if you ask me, but that isn’t stopping a lot of folks from being concerned about it.
How long will it take this organization to start to see returns on the Halladay trade?
The most reasonable date to put on it is the 2012 season. Brett Wallace should see time in the majors this year, and Kyle Drabek will probably be up in September, if not sooner, but obviously it’s a little unreasonable to expect them to start setting the world on fire from the outset. But by mid-2012 we should have a pretty good idea of whether or not we got completely screwed in the deal.
What young player could make the most impact for the Jays this season?
We’re all still waiting on Travis Snider, who has been up with the Jays for spells during the previous two seasons despite still being only 22. We know– and boy have we seen– that he’s going to strike out a lot, but there’s is a world of potential in his bat, and he’s killed at every level he’s tried, except the majors. There’s not really anything left for him to prove against minor league pitching, so they’re going to give him a huge opportunity to figure it out in the majors this year– and if he finally does, look out.
Have you already felt the effect of the Halladay trade?
I don’t think think it’s really going to hit home until the Jays start playing home games, however… I can’t really speak for anybody else, but I’ve been pretty resigned to the fact that he wouldn’t be here for a long time now, and I’ve long been convinced that it was the best thing for the team to get as much for him as they could. I’m happy with the returns, so Halladay isn’t in my thoughts much anymore. I’m over it.