With the Jays' roll-over-Rover routine this week at the Rogers Centre pretty much ending their postseason hopes, sights are beginning to be turned towards next year's edition of the team.
We've heard J.P. say all year that he "likes this team", and that there likely isn't a lot that needs to happen to put this team into contention next year. As Jeff Blair noted in his column this week, we should expect the team to return pretty much intact, for better or for worse.
More over, the hue and cry from the fans (or at least the mental midgets who call in to espouse conspiracy theories on five-year plans to Mike Wilner) seems to be that the key to this team's future rests in the hands of John McDonald, Reed Johnson and Gregg Zaun.
(We won't even touch Dick Grffin's idiotic column on how the Jays are treating Reed poorly at this point, because others - OoLF and the DJF have already done an excellent job of taking him down.)
But here's the thing. As much as you can enjoy Johnny Mac's defense, or Gregg Zaun's grit, you just have to ask yourself: are we settling? Are we accepting a better than expected performance from mediocre players? Are we ready to go into next season with this same lineup, conscious of the fact that 75% of the other teams in the AL will be improved from last season?
And really, as much fun as it was watching Reed Johnson battle for a batting title (for whatever that's worth) and getting plunked a few dozen times per year, the guy runs like a girl and gets on base like our grandma these days. Have you noticed how far RJ stands away from the plate these days? Are we really willing to pay more than $3 million for a .320-something on base percentage just because we like his "grit" and "tenacity".
Seriously, given your choices between standing pat because Reed and Johnny Mac are gamers, wouldn't you rather see the Jays find a way to get an Adam Dunn in the lineup every day?
We can guarantee you this, if mashers like Dunn or Jose Guillen or (let's get fucking crazy here) A-Rod are available, then Boston, the Yankees, the Orioles, Cleveland, Anaheim(ish), Detroit and the White Sox will all be stumbling over one another to try and find a way to fit them into their lineup. If the Jays aren't amongst those off-season players, then they shouldn't be surprised to be looking upwards at them in the playoff race.
Let's hope that J.P.'s musings of complacency aren't indicative of his true intentions this winter. It's time to step on the goddamned gas and run some teams down.