Leave it up to the Toronto Blue Jays to always leave it up to the younger players—plus the players who need a chance to prove themselves.
With rumours of the foreseeable departures of aces Roy Halladay and AJ Burnett, the Blue Jays would be in a world of hurt with their rotation. Or would they?
The last few seasons have seen the development of many younger and more talented players coming out of the minor league ranks, including the latter half of their rotation.
Shawn Marcum, turning 27 around Christmas, may see his stock rise as a result of the possible departures of Halladay and Burnett. Dustin McGowan, 26, is also on the rise. Both pitchers developed in the Jays system and have become solid contributors in their rotation.
McGowan's 12-10 record in 2007 and Marcum's 12-6 record in 2007 show they both have the potential to become aces on the Jays staff. Bothered by injuries much of the 2008 campaign, Marcum has entered back into the fray, while McGowan's 2008 season has been cut short due to right shoulder surgery.
In the field, the Jays have more up-and-coming stars than they can handle. They are juggling young outfielder Adam Lind into an already crowded outfield including veterans Vernon Wells, Shannon Stewart, Alex Rios, Kevin Mench, and Brad Wilkerson.
Since finally getting somewhat consistent playing time under Cito Gaston, Lind has paid dividends. After hitting 11 homers and driving in 46 RBI last season, he has already hit for five homers and 22 RBI along with a .312 AVG.
Lind seems to be the future of the team's outfield alongside Rios and Wells, and Gaston recognizes Lind's rise to consistent play.
In the field, John McDonald seemed to be the story of the 2007 season with his spectacular play. Yet, the Jays went out and decided to lure in David Eckstein to possibly help give McDonald a mentor to get him into the mindset of playing shortstop on a consistent basis.
Along with McDonald, Marco Scutaro and Adam Hill have both been playing well as of late and have proven to be consistent and good players. Despite a concussion to Hill, the Jays' infield still has many proven veterans such as Eckstein, Scott Rolen, and Greg Zaun.
Don't get me wrong, the Jays have many proven players such as Wells, Rolen, Eckstein, Halladay, and BJ Ryan. Yet they are still building and developing into the contenders they once were. These players need mentoring and are getting it from the vets. With a few more seasons of mentorship, the Jays should be good to go.