As the sun set on yet another disappointing season of baseball in Toronto, there were more questions of what will be, in a season filled with questions of what could have been.
In a season that many predicted would be a struggle for the blue birds, it turned out to be just that, but not before the Blue Jays gave fans a perspective of hope to begin the season. After forty two games, it appeared the Jays were on the verge of putting together a special summer, not seen in Toronto since the glory days of Joe Carter and Roberto Alomar, sprinting out of the gate to an impressive 27-14 record good enough for first place in the division.
Headed towards June, there was hope that the Blue Jays would finally compete in the tough-as-nails AL East. Which is probably what made the snap back to reality so hard for the blue jays faithful to deal with. After an ugly ten game losing skid, the thought of a possible playoff chase had turned to the thought of another long summer of meaningless baseball.
As the blue jays stumbled though June, the focus began to shift towards the possibility of trading long time Blue Jay ace, Roy Halladay. Once again pitching lights out headed towards the all star break, the doc began to become subject of many trade talks. With the Philadelphia Phillies emerging as the front runner to land the coveted cy young contender, Jays fans showed their support for Halladay, and their displeasure for then GM J.P Ricciardi. But as the trade deadline came and went, Halladay and Jays fans were granted their only wish of the season, to see doc finish the season in Toronto.
With another season all but lost, the Blue Jays frustration came to head on September 15th in the Bronx. After being the target of many hit batters, the Jays finally retaliated by throwing behind Yankee catcher Jorge Posada, which would spark a bench clearing brawl. When the dust settled, the Yankees were left laughing headed to another AL East title, while the Blue Jays were left to stumble to the end of another disappointing season.
But for a season with so many negitives, there were a few bright spots for the blue birds. Coming off a injury shortened season one year ago, second baseman Aaron Hill rebounded with an all star season that featured 36 home runs, 108 runs batted in and 198 hits. Another bright spot was the play of young star Adam Lind, who powered himself to 36 round-trippers and a .308 batting average to finish the season.
As well as Lind, another young star emerged for the blue jays in the form of rookie pitcher Ricky Romero, who would post a very respectable 13 win season for the Blue Jays with an impressive 141 strikeouts in a memorable rookie campaign.
While young stars emerged for the Blue Jays, they were overshadowed by the struggles of Vernon Wells who posted a poor .260 batting average in a season that only featured 15 homers and a dismal 66 RBI's. Also struggling would be the overpaid Alex Rios who only managed to hit .264 before being picked up on waivers by the Chicago White Sox.
While veterans struggled around him, Roy Halladay continued to produce solid numbers, ending his distraction filled season with a solid 17 wins and an impressive 2.79 ERA. But as another strong season is put to rest for the doc, many are left to ponder if it was in fact the last for halladay in a Blue Jays uniform.
With no contract in place beyond next season for the club ace, it would be no surprise to see the last name Halladay stitched on the back of an opposing jersey come next season. With the desire to at least compete for a playoff contention, it would be understandable to see the doc traded to a contender.
The doc is only one of many question marks headed into a offseaon of uncertainty for the Blue Jays, with young talent starting to show in the forms of the previously mentioned Aaron Hill, Adam Lind and Ricky Romaro, it would not any stretch of the imagination to see new GM Alex Anthopoulos use those three as key building blocks in a rebuild of the Toronto Blue Jays.
Heading into another long offseason, roster moves are as expected as personal moves as the season ended with rumors of unhappiness towards Cito Gaston and still no replacement for interim president & CEO Paul Beeston.
With a long winter ahead, one thing is clear in Toronto, the time for change is here, for better or for worse.