So long Stairs

For those of you still paying attention…it’s over for the Toronto Blue Jays.

As I mentioned at the all star break, it was basically over by the end of July. Losing the series against the Red Sox last week essentially pulled the plug, and back-to-back tough losses to the Rays has slammed shut the door of the morgue.

Today the Jays shipped Matt Stairs to the Phillies for a minor leaguer to be named later. Good for Matt. He’s a professional hitter, a consummate team guy, and a future hitting coach in the majors. At age 40, it’ll be nice to see him take part in a pennant race. His numbers were a bit of a disappointment this year, but every time I went to the ballpark, I hoped he was in the line up.

But his departure means it’s really time to start thinking about next year. The Jays desperately need a big bat, since it’s starting to look that 20 homers is all you can hope for from Rios and Wells, and Rolen’s days as a power hitter are over (though he remains a very useful player and a decent bat in the 6 or 7 slot). I like Overbay, but you can’t have Rolen and Overbay on the corners for another season, producing 25 home runs and 120 RBIs between them.

On the upside…Purcey’s start the other night made me think, for the first time, that he might be able to ease the sting of losing Burnett in the off-season. IF McGowan can come back (a pretty big ‘if’) then a rotation of Halladay, Marcum, McGowan, Litsch and Purcey, might just work. But much depends on McGowan and Hill returning to form in time for next spring training, and bringing in a genuine run producing bat in the off-season.