Season preview: Blue Jays

Without Halladay, a whole new ballgame

April 05, 2010|By Dan Connolly | dan.connolly@baltsun.com

No matter how fruitless the recent past has been for the Toronto Blue Jays, their fans could always take solace in knowing they had baseball's most consistent pitcher in Roy Halladay.

The 32-year-old right-hander won the 2003 American League Cy Young Award and finished in the top five in voting each of the past four years.

But that streak will be broken in 2010.

This offseason, Halladay was dealt to the National League and its two-time defending champion Philadelphia Phillies in a four-way trade with the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics that netted the Blue Jays three prospects, including highly touted pitcher Kyle Drabek, 22.

It signaled the end of an era and the beginning of a rebuilding effort. The Blue Jays are officially taking a step backward in an attempt to get back to the playoffs, where they haven't been since winning the World Series in 1993.

It's going to be a long climb, especially in a division filled with talent. How difficult will it be to fill Halladay's shoes? The Jays' Opening Day starter in 2010 will be Shaun Marcum, who didn't throw a big league pitch in 2009 because of elbow surgery.

Toronto Blue Jays
2009 record: 75-87, fourth in AL East

2009 record vs.

Orioles: 9-9

2010 estimated

payroll: $86 million

Key additions: RHP Kyle Drabek, RHP Brandon Morrow, SS Alex Gonzalez, RHP Kevin Gregg, C John Buck, C Travis d'Arnaud, 3B Brett Wallace

Key losses: RHP Roy Halladay, C Rod Barajas, SS Marco Scutaro, 1B Kevin Millar

Projected lineup: RF Jose Bautista, 2B Aaron Hill, DH Adam Lind, CF Vernon Wells, 1B Lyle Overbay, LF Travis Snider, 3B Edwin Encarnacion, C John Buck, SS Alex Gonzalez

Projected rotation: RHP Shaun Marcum, LHP Brian Tallet, LHP Ricky Romero, RHP Brandon Morrow, LHP Dana Eveland

Projected closer: RHP Jason Frasor

2010 schedule vs. Orioles: At Rogers Centre, May 28-30; July 26-28; Sept. 24-26. At Camden Yards, April 9-11; July 16-18; Sept. 13-15.

Outlook: They have talent, but it's untested. So the Jays likely will drop into last place for the first time since 2004.

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