2010 Toronto Blue Jays Roundtable Part 1

Welcome to the 2010 edition of the Toronto Blue Jays roundtable. This year we have 10+ participants sharing their thoughts on the 2010 season and beyond. Due to the length of the post we’ll cover the first two questions today and remaining two questions on tuesday.

Line-up

bluebirdjays-roundtable2010 7.jpg

Featured Article: Book Review: The Bullpen Gospels, by Dirk Hayhurst

Banner 2 (Hill Lind Snider)jays-roundtable2010 1.jpg

Featured Article: Mike McCoy is the new Slap Chop

DrewBlogBanner-V3jays-roundtable2010 3.jpg

Featured Article: Take it Ruizy

aaron and adam 2jays-roundtable2010 6.jpg

Featured Article: Lind’s Elbow Has It’s Revenge

Screen shot 2010-03-22 at 7.21.07 AMjays-roundtable2010 11.jpg

Featured Article: Blurring the Lines

Screen shot 2010-03-22 at 7.22.56 AMjays-roundtable2010 12.jpg

Featured Article: The Fantasy Side of the 2010 Jays Hitters

4094414501_ef0d2d9d5e_ojays-roundtable2010 8.jpg

Featured Article: Fly Over, 1984

a-rod johnny macjays-roundtable2010 5.jpg

Featured Article: Shaun Marcum’s the veteran all of a sudden…

Screen shot 2010-03-22 at 7.19.38 AMjays-roundtable2010 9.jpg

Featured Article: A Story Forgotten: Roy Halladay’s Reinvention

Screen shot 2010-03-22 at 7.20.19 AMjays-roundtable2010 10.jpg

Featured: Guide to a good life: Why sports matter

TheSouthpaw5jays-roundtable2010 2.jpg

Featured Article: Revised Top Prospect Rankings

satcjays-roundtable2010 4.jpg

Featured Article: Man of the Hour

Question #1 – What type of manager is going to replace Cito? Speculate on replacements… (or throw out a recommendation)

cito-gaston-retires.jpg

Bluebird Banter

What type? Younger (now there is a prediction for you, be pretty tough to find an older choice), good communicator, teacher, doesn’t mind working with younger players, someone that isn’t averse to sabermetrics.

My first interview would with Brian Butterfield.

Blue Jay Hunter

I’m not exactly sure what type of manager will take over for Cito, but my guess is that it will be a younger manager. Brian Butterfield seems like a favourite to be the next to wear the manager’s cap. I guess it also depends on which managers are cast aside mid-season, as Alex Anthopolous may be interesting in bringing them in as well.

Ghost Runner

I generally believe a new manager should mostly be the polar opposite of his predecessor. I’m of two minds when it comes to how to pull this off post-Clarence. One part of me thinks about an energetic young guy who can relate the youthful core, the other thinks really cuddly old guy with a ton of experience, a guy the kids can’t help but respect. see: McKeon, Jack and the 2006 Marlins.

Unfortunately, that leaves out the guy I’d most like to get it: Brian Butterfield. He falls too much in the middle between those two extremes, not experienced enough to play the “in my day” card but not youthful enough to pound Rolling Rock with Brett Wallace on a cross-country flight. A youthful candidate? How about Sal Fasano? He hasn’t paid his dues yet (and doesn’t drink, dammit) but he could be the right man at the right time. Or he could be Buck Martinez 2.0.

Hum and Chuck

The type of manager to replace Cito should be one that is good with kids (if that is where the team is headed), is good at developing talent. Someone like Cito seems better suited to a team with more established players. One thing that seems to be a common theme in successful/winning managers is that the guys respect them and want to win for them. A common issue for the Jays seems to be that they are a little too loose, so a guy to light a fire under them without alienating anyone would be awesome. As for who, it seems Butterfield is the likely candidate. Suggestions? A manager who does cocaine would lead to a fun year in blogging (so jealous, Texas bloggers), but perhaps not from a “best for the team” standpoint.

Infield Fly

I’ve got two thoughts as to what qualities a new manager should have. The conclusion they lead me to is hardly groundbreaking, but what can I do. To me, a new manager has to be someone who can help develop the young players if Anthopolous is going to stick with building through the farm system. I believe a familiarity with the players will help that process. The other quality I feel the new manager should have is a strong ability to help players improve their defensive skills. If defence really is the new moneyball, then defence is set to go the way of OBP and became quite expensive in the next little while. If you can’t afford defence, you’ll have to create it. Who’s the man who can do both of those things? Toronto’s current third base coach, Brian Butterfield. Told you I wasn’t breaking any new ground here.

Jays Journal

I would like to see someone in there with positive energy. Someone who’s willing and able to get the most out of his players. Also, it should be someone that is a great communicator, is dedicated to being with the franchise for a long time, and someone who knows the game inside and out. My favorite for the job, and I’ll be stunned if he doesn’t get it, is ex-Jays catcher Ernie Whitt. I could also see Ernie bringing in Sal Fasano and Brian Butterfield as assistants.

Jays Tumblr

If Cito does indeed retire after this year and if this team does need a couple more years before they can compete then Brian Butterfield has to be given a shot, doesn’t he? He’s been with the organization since 2002, done an amazing job with the players defensively and it doesn’t seem likely that there would be any kind of revolt against him. The only way I don’t see him getting the job is if Alex Anthopoulos feels the pressure to bring in a name to appease some fans and Toronto-media after what will be a tough season this year. Luckily, I don’t think AA is a wiener so congratulations Brian, the job is yours.

John McDonald’s Cabinet

Cito Gaston is the traditional stick with your guns manager that is a more effective hitting coach than manager. Gaston never believed that he could lead the team in the first place, but he received plenty of support from the Blue Jays coaching staff and everyone believed in him and believed they could make the playoffs. It was all about believing and the teams from ’85 to ’93 made it all happen.

AA is running the team this year. Paul Beeston is running the team. Cito seems to be more of a figurehead.

With all the latter in mind- it will be someone who can take on more responsibility, someone who fits the mold of AA and Beeston’s vision moving forward.

Someone once said to me that younger people’s minds are easier to change and influence. We may see one of the youngest managers in baseball of all-time, like a recently retired player. We live in an era where the game of baseball along with the rat race of the world is constantly evolving and changing and one must continue to follow current trends while accurately predicting future trends.

I’m thinking a completely fresh face from outside the organization UNLESS there is one or two guys inside the organization that know it so much inside and out so they’d be fit to lead- maybe someone who knows the minor league system best.

Mop Up Duty (Callum)

I think a teaching manager, much like Carlos Tosca of the early 2000’s. Someone who has an extensive knowledge of the game and has a good rapport with the players. Of course, unlike Carlos Tosca this manager is going to have to be able to manage a bullpen. That person could very well be Brian Butterfield. Wins and losses won’t matter as much right now as long as the team develops and the manager can baby the young arms. When the team contends they may need a proven winner and I don’t know if Butterfield is the guy, but he deserves the chance much like Cito in 1989.

Mop Up Duty (Matthias)

Personally I feel that the teacher tag is over-rated. Players deal with ‘teacher’ style managers from rookie ball all the way up to AAA. Let the numerous specialization coaches teach and the manager manage. With that said I’d like to see someone that will work with players, yet isn’t afraid to kick a little ass if need be. I’m sure this selections won’t be popular but I’d like to see former 2007 AL manager of the year Eric Wedge given a shot (bullpen woes and all). Another potential candidate is Bobby Valentine. He has a vast amount of experience when factoring in his Japanese work and would fit the vibe of a young club.

National Post

There are probably two ways to go here, both of which would emphasize the growth of young talent. Anthopoulos could seek to find his Joe Torre/Terry Francona, a low-maintenance manager with some experience who can led a team for the next decade and become a household name. Both Torre (Mets, Braves) and Francona (Phillies) had mediocre managing records when they arrived in the AL East. But that clearly doesn t predict future failure. The list of guys who fit this bill currently is pretty short, as short as two, perhaps: Willie Randolph and Alan Trammell. As much as it would pain me to see one of my sporting heroes decked out in the Jays powder-blue pajamas, Trammell would be an excellent choice. The Tigers teams he managed simply lacked talent. He comes from the Sparky Anderson family tree and is Lou Piniella s bench coach in Chicago.

The Jays could also go young and find an up-and-coming talent to lead a young roster. I m not well-versed in this category, but I would be intrigued by someone like Nationals third-base coach Pat Listach, who already has minor-league managerial experience as high as Triple-A.
Or you can just go off the board. Gary Carter anyone?

Southpaw

I think it’s still early enough in the process that Alex will still be thinking “teacher,” Further, he seems to be big on recognizing and rewarding organization men (Walton, Malave) and recognizes the value of relationships. All that, in my opinion, adds up to Brian Butterfield.

I’m sure he’ll do due dilligance and interview a lot of guys but I think Butter will get the job, and should.

Sports and City

Anyone but Cito, or “The Manager” as he’s fondly been labeled, right? After Cito sails off into the advisory role sunset, I’d be all over Brian Butterfield becoming the next manager of the Toronto Blue Jays. He’s been with the club since 2002, has lived through a few regimes, especially the latest purge, and is immensely well-respected within the organization and within baseball. If management was willing to give a guy like Alex Anthopoulos a shot, why not Butter? If the Jays are looking for a manager with more experience, and more of a track record, there’s always the regular carousel of guys. In a perfect world, the Jays could pry Ozzie Guillen out of Chicago, and bring him north, for sheer entertainment value. Who doesn’t love Ozzie?

Question #2 – Predict the following: Jays Record, Batting MVP, Pitching MVP, Breakout Player

2010-jays-predictions.png

Bluebird Banter

Record: 75-87
Batting MVP: Adam Lind
Pitching: Ricky Romero
Breakout: Oh please please let it be Travis Snider. Him and/or Marc Rzepczynski.

Blue Jay Hunter

Record: 70-92
Batting MVP: Adam Lind
Pitching MVP: Shaun Marcum
Breakout Player: Randy Ruiz

Ghost Runner

Jays Record: 71 – 91
Batting MVP – Adam Lind
Pitching MVP – Real? Ricky Romero. Most wins? Shaun Marcum.
Breakout Player – Randy “Dufresne” Ruiz !!

Hum and Chuck

The record- 65-97, although that looks really ugly but also likely generous. There will be a big, red headed hole that will come up every five days.

Batting MVP-Adam Lind- Boy can flat out hit.

Pitching MVP- Shaun Marcum- if he is healthy, he is the senior guy on the staff without Doc. And he is also a really smart pitcher.

Breakout Player- Shaun Marcum.

Infield Fly

Jays record: 80-82
Batting MVP: Adam Lind
Pitching MVP: Shaun Marcum
Breakout player: Brandon Morrow

Jays Journal

Jays Record: 82 – 80
Batting MVP: Aaron Hill
Pitching MVP: Marc Rzepczynski
Breakout Player: Travis Snider

Jays Tumblr

Batting MVP: Adam Lind. It’s between him and Hill (and Vernon if eyebleaf files one of these from India) and I think Aaron will find a happy-medium between his numbers in 2007 and 2009 rather than improve on what he did in 2009. Either way he’ll still make Pedroia look 2nd tier.

Pitching MVP: Ricky Romero. Sorry folks, Marcum’s not back back.

Breakout Player: If you know me you’d know I think Randy Ruiz is the correct answer, but I’m saying Travis Snider. He will no longer swing at fastballs at eye level, he’ll hit 20 HRs / 80 RsBI and will finish the year batting 5th in the order. Suck on that, Cito.

John McDonald’s Cabinet

The Blue Jays will be better than expected. The Blue Jays will contend for second place in the American League East at times this season. They will finish the season with over 80 wins. The rookie of the year might just be Ruiz. I expect Hill to lead the team in on-base percentage but ultimately the offensive superstar might just be Travis Snider- he’s poised for a breakout year much like Lind was. On the pitching side of things, Toronto should have a solid one-two punch in Shaun Marcum and Ricky Romero. Unlike the Kansas City Royals who seem to be the only other team that has a similar rotation to the Blue Jays in the sense that it could really surprise some baseball people, Toronto should be able to outslug their way to a few wins with an explosive offense that boasts a lot of power.

Mop Up Duty (Callum)

Jays Record: 68 – 94

Batting MVP: Hill

Pitching MVP: Marcum

Breakout Player: Travis Snider is the safe bet, but I’m not sure that this is his breakout year. He has a lot of development yet to do. If I had to guess, it would be one of three arms: Kyle Drabek, Zach Stewart or Josh Roenicke.

Mop Up Duty (Matthias)

Record: 71 – 91

Batting MVP: Adam Lind keeps on rocking

Pitching MVP: Shaun Marcum (if he’s allowed to toss 175+ IP). Otherwise let’s go with Marc Rzepczynski. A darkhorse candidate would be Brian Tallet!?!? With the young staff in place his flexibility to switch in and out of the rotation will be extremely valuable to the club.

Breakout: Randy Ruiz if he gets his fair share of AB’s. Otherwise let’s go with Brett Cecil.

National Post

The record doesn’t even really matter this season. I would be surprised if they had a 100-loss season. A .500 season is probably a stretch. I wouldn’t be surprised if they put up the same record as last year (75-87), or slightly worse, but in a much less disheartening fashion.

Batting MVP: Vernon Wells. He s too good a player to remain in this funk and the pressure is off this season.

Pitching MVP: This is simply a stab in the dark with all the variables here. Let s say Ricky Romero, simply because he has the minor-league dues invested not to take too much of a sophomore step backward.
Breakout Player: Let’s take a stab and say David Purcey excels in short bursts out of the bullpen and become a valuable left-handed setup man.

The Southpaw

Jays Record: 83-79
Batting MVP: Adam Lind
Pitching MVP: Shaun Marcum
Breakout Player: Travis Snider/Brandon Morrow (Zep will have a big year but so many people are on him that I want to be a bit different)

Sports and City

Jays Record: 82-80; the boys will shock the world.

Batting MVP: Vernon Wells. I’m serious. OK, fine: Adam Lind; he will prove 2009 was no fluke. But I’d love it if Wells raked.

Pitching MVP: Ricky Romero; having been written off as a bust, and a mistake at #6th overall in 2005, Romero will ride the chip on his shoulder to 15 wins, and the front of the Blue Jays’ rotation.

Breakout Player: Travis Snider; last year it was the Aaron Hill and Adam Lind show. This season it’s all about Snider, and his penchant for opposite field home runs.

Written By

has written for mopupduty.com since 2006. Follow Matthias on Twitter, Facebook and Google +

  • Wow, looks like we have a lot of Brian Butterfield fans here! Matthias I like your out of the box thinking with Eric Wedge. Guy too with Pat Listach. If we want a proven winner – let’s pry Paul Molitor away from Minnesota! He fulfill’s Joanna’s prerequisite for doing cocaine and can play the World Series MVP card whenever needed.

    • Wedge is my man. He got a raw deal in Cleveland with injuries and forced payroll cuts ordered by ownership.

      Awards:

      * Carolina League Manager of the Year (High A)
      * International League Manager of the Year (AAA)
      * MLB Manager of the Year

      He’ll be 43 on opening day 2011. Sign him up

      • Sold. Listach was a fine choice also.

  • Really interesting read, thanks for putting it together, and thanks to those giving their input.

  • Ian

    Honestly, Eric Wedge as Manager had never crossed my mind, but now it seems like a great idea. Sign me up to join the Wedge movement.

    • Really like the off-board managerial picks in Wedge and Listach as well. I was all set on Bobby Valentine, but I think I’m guilty of pining for a sexy name, which is just rehashing a bunch of the same managers. Isn’t that how the Jays got Cito again?

  • I think a “teaching” manager can be beneficial. Case in point, Adam Lind & Cito. Lind credits Cito with getting him over the hump at the major league level with his one-on-one sessions before and after at bats and providing him with approaches to have at the plate. We’ll see if it works with Snider. Teaching managers aren’t necessary with a veteran-laden team a-la 92/93 Jays, but are critical when it comes to a new major leaguer becoming a successful major leaguer.

    • Re: Lind

      At the same point couldn’t a good batting coach develop a bat as well?

      I always like to think of the LaRussa/Duncan combo. LaRussa, the ex-catcher isn’t out there working with the pitchers. Duncan specializes and gets the job done.

      IMO a field general surrounded with good to great specialization coaches is better than a “teacher” manager with mid-tier coaches. And to be honest how many of the new school set of mangers these days wouldn’t fall under the teacher banner? Very few.

  • Pingback: Toronto fire services « Infield fly()

  • Pingback: 2010 Toronto Blue Jays Roundtable Part 2 « Mop Up Duty | Baseball News Sabermetric | Baseball History Bio()

  • Peter D

    Everyone who has projected the Jays to finish at .500 or better has lost all credibility in my opinion. They do not have the ability to evaluate their favorite team from an unbiased perspective. Which to be fair, is a hard thing to do.

  • It appears I gave them the worst projected record, so I guess that means I’m the most respected. Woo!

  • Pingback: R.I.P., optimism « Infield fly()