Prince Fielder in a Toronto uniform is something Jays fans, like myself, cannot help but dream about. But as it looks right now, Fielder is not going to accept a contract of the length that the Jays are willing to offer. This doesn't mean Toronto is doomed for another season of mediocrity, however.
The Jays have a lot of young promising players and are a club that could surprise this year. No doubt, as the teams stands now, they would have to overachieve a bit to find themselves playing baseball in October.
Even with a guy like Fielder, the Jays most likely wouldn't be a top contender for the World Series next season, as the starting pitching staff is still young and unproven, but they would be a playoff team and a World Series contender in two or three years.
But for this team, and the city of Toronto, just a single playoff game might mean more to a club than any other franchise in baseball. Since the lockout and since the Jays were a perennial contender in the early '90s, Toronto has struggled to to recapture the interest of fans.
That's where my Roy Oswalt theory comes into play. Believe me, I know what the risks are of bringing in a guy like Oswalt, who is on the last leg of his career and struggled with injuries last year, but hear me out.
There have been numerous reports that Oswalt may be willing to accept a one-year contract which, no matter the price, would absolutely be worth the risk for Toronto. Not only would the team acquire a pitcher that is loaded with talent when healthy, but a veteran that could provide an enormous amount of leadership to a young staff.
The current Jays roster certainly has the offensive capabilities to get this team to the playoffs, as they ranked sixth in runs scored and fifth in home runs last season. The offense is anchored by Jose Bautista, and they will be expecting even bigger things out of Brett Lawrie, Colby Rasmus and Adam Lind in 2012. The lineup will pose a significant challenge to any staff in baseball next year.
With the offseason acquisitions of Sergio Santos, Darren Oliver and Jason Frasor they could have one of the stronger bullpens in Major League Baseball. That leaves the starting pitching staff as the main area of weakness.
If the Jays were to roll the dice and acquire the services of Oswalt, and the former 20-game winner regained even some of his once-dominant form, the 2012 Jays would have a legitimate shot at a playoff seed.
Ricky Romero has improved every year since entering the majors and seems destined for a breakout season. Brandon Morrow has shown he can be dominant at times, and guys like Henderson Alvarez, Brett Cecil, Dustin McGowan and Kyle Drabek give Toronto some viable options when filling out the rest of their rotation.
Oswalt could take that staff to the next level and the fact that he is seeking a one-year contract basically takes most of the risk out of the deal. The organization has money to spend and if they were willing to dish out $50 million just to talk to a guy who has never won a game in the bigs, then where is the risk in dishing out $8-9 million on a former three-time All-Star?
This team is just a few adjustments short of reaching the postseason and Oswalt could supply them with that missing component. That payout makes Oswalt well worth the wager and an October game in Toronto could give everyone a glimpse of what's to come. That is exactly what this fanbase needs.