Not that Shea Hillenbrand is prophetic, but he certainly was bang-on when he predicted last month that the Blue Jays’ ship was sinking because, as it turns out, it has indeed sunk — right out of playoff contention.
Even Perdita Felicien couldn’t hurdle all the teams the Jays need to hop over now to qualify for the post-season.
And, when all is said and done, the Jays won’t be any closer to supremacy in 2006 than they were in 2005.
And if you subscribe to the theory that the team’s top trooper, Vernon Wells, will be traded sooner or later because he has no intention of re-upping for less money than he could make elsewhere, well then, you don’t need to be Hillenbrand to see the shipwreck that’s in store.
Sources tell me Ted Rogers, the gazillionaire, isn’t interested in spending much more on his Jays next season — and that means George Steinbrenner’s Yankees and the big spenders in Boston will once again finish ahead of the Canadian entry.
The question is — did the Jays truly do all that was possible this season to take a run?
Tracy Ringolsby, a recent inductee into the writers’ wing of baseball’s Hall of Fame, doesn’t think so. He suggests the Jays “blew it” this year.
“They needed to be bold if they wanted to catch Boston and the Yankees,” he writes. “Instead, they kicked tires and talked the talk, but stumbled when it came time to walk the walk.”
It’s true that general manager J.P. Ricciardi did zilch when the time came to fortify the Jays around the recent trade deadline. The Jays’ pitching staff is subpar and inadequate and he did nothing to enhance it.
It’s also true that J.P. overpaid wildly for pitcher A.J. Burnett, who now has all of three wins with Toronto for his $55-million US contract.
And it’s also true that, after trading Orlando Hudson, J.P. left the Jays with the weakest middle infield in the majors.
Ricciardi probably won’t be fired, though. His contract is guaranteed, and Rogers isn’t the sort of fellow who likes to pay folks millions of dollars for doing nothing.
Ricciardi may fire manager John Gibbons, if for no other reason than to take some of the heat off himself.
According to my sources, though, the fall guy for this season will end up being bench coach Ernie Whitt. I’m told that neither Ricciardi nor Gibbons are pleased with Whitt’s work ethic, which means the former Jays’ catcher is as good as gone.
Marty York’s column appears Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Listen for Marty on The ROCK 94.9 FM, Monday and Friday at 8:40 a.m.