Toronto Blue Jays Try To Become a Contender Once Again

Matt Eichel@@mattyalloutSenior Writer IJuly 24, 2008

Call them what you will, but the Toronto Blue Jays have been a bit of a laughingstock, to say the least. They are always potentially deadly at season's start, yet they always fail to meet expectations.

Say goodbye to John Gibbons and hello to an old face in Cito Gaston.

But it'll take more than the good ol' manager from the early '90s to bring the Jays back into the limelight of MLB.

They have a solid rotation that doesn't come through 110 percent. Roy Halladay has been the anchor for the past six years now, and he has shown signs that he's frustrated with the team's lack of success.

Despite finishing with a winning record of 83-79 last year, 13 games behind the Boston Red Sox, the Jays always seem to not come through when they need to.

A.J. Burnett provides some needed support for Halladay, but injuries and inconsistency have kept him from his peak performance. Lately, Burnett has found his niche in Toronto, despite trade rumours.

The rest of the team seems to be a mish-mash of different players at different places. Back in the early 1990s, the Jays were known for superstars such as CF Devon White, RF Joe Carter, 2B Robbie Alomar, 1B John Olerud, and 3B Ed Sprague. Players that the fans knew, and the players knew that they would be at those positions most every night.

However, with an overload of fielders, the Jays have run into problems. J.P. Ricciardi decided to give SS John MacDonald a new contract to boost his confidence, and then tore it down again by signing SS David Eckstein. Add that to the signing of SS/3B Marco Scutaro and having utility man Joe Inglett, and the Jays' infield is a mess.

Injuries to Vernon Wells and Alex Rios have kept the Jays down in the power department. With the departure of hard-hitting Frank Thomas, the Jays don't have one player with 10 home runs this season. Rios leads the team with a measly 44 RBI, followed by Wells with 42.

The Jays need consistency to stay competitive. Look at other teams in their division. The Boston Red Sox have players playing the same position most nights. Dustin Pedroia is normally at second, Jacoby Ellsbury is usually in CF, Kevin Youkilis is usually over at 1B, while Manny Ramirez is being Manny in LF.

However the Blue Jays decide to break it down, they'd better start winning series in order to get back out of the cellar in 2008, or it'll be another season with high hopes and low outcomes.

And another year to wait since 1993.