2009 Toronto Blue Jays Season Outlook
It was an extremely quiet offseason for the Toronto Blue Jays, who seem stuck between a rock and a hard place.
The only offseason move of note was the team's decision to let pitcher A.J. Burnett sign with the New York Yankees. They also lost catcher Gregg Zaun to the division rival Baltimore Orioles.
Burnett's loss is a big hit to the rotation, although health and consistency were always concerns for the flame-thrower.
The Blue Jays will once again lean on ace Roy Halladay, who is well known throughout baseball for his incredible durability and ability to pitch deep into games. He routinely leads the league in complete games by a significant amount.
Toronto has spent the past few offseasons believing they were finally ready to compete with the big boys of the American League East only to find out during the season that they still had a lot of room to improve.
With the economy in the tank, the Blue Jays were just one of many teams around baseball to proceed with caution in the offseason.
Now the question becomes whether or not the Blue Jays are looking to rebuild or still believe they can compete in the AL East.
There is no question that the team has some talented, young starting pitching, but the offense is a huge concern. You aren't going to win many games in this division without an explosive offense, and the Blue Jays struggle to put runs on the board.
The team had just re-signed Vernon Wells to a big deal a couple of years ago, but he has hasn't put up the type of numbers they had hoped and has been prone to injury.
The injury bug has bit Wells yet again this season, as the outfielder pulled his hamstring and might not be ready for Opening Day. Whether he is or isn't ready for the start of the season, the fact he is already hurting is a bad sign.
Toronto isn't likely to make the same mistake of believing they can compete for a division crown or even a playoff spot coming into the season. Instead, the Blue Jays would do well to secure fourth place and stay ahead of the slowly improving Baltimore Orioles.