10/16/09 2:24 PM ET
Inbox: Will Halladay stick around?
Beat reporter Jordan Bastian answers fans' questions
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
-- Trent S., Orlando
First off, Halladay is under contract for 2010, so he will be back with the Blue Jays next season unless the organization believes it makes more sense to trade its ace pitcher. That being the case, sure, if Toronto is in a position to contend midway through next season, it'd be logical to keep him in the fold.
How close the Jays are to contention will ultimately play the biggest role in Halladay's future.
Halladay has made it no secret that he wants to be in a position to pitch in a World Series soon. That means Halladay will lean toward testing free agency after his contract expires if he is not convinced Toronto is close to helping him achieve that goal. So, it's definitely on the Jays to show Doc that they can make a run in the immediate future.
With that in mind, pursuing some high-profile players this offseason would definitely be a way to try to convince Halladay to seriously consider an extension. But, big-name acquisitions do not guarantee Halladay will stick around after 2010, and the Blue Jays are not going to just throw money around without really gauging the situation.
You can bet that new general manager Alex Anthopoulos will talk with Halladay over the winter as he examines the free-agent market, potential trades and plans a team payroll for 2010. If the Jays do not feel they are in a situation to immediately contend in the increasingly-competitive American League East, the club may opt to take more of a big-picture approach.
That route would likely include exploring what trade offers might be out there for Halladay this offseason, knowing he is probably going to become a free agent next year. The Jays listened to offers during this past season, and even Halladay acknowledged that the club was simply looking out for his best interests, as well as the team's future.
What happened to Dustin McGowan? In Spring Training, didn't the Blue Jays say he was supposed to be back some time in May or June? Now, he might not even be ready next spring?
-- Gary D., Edmonton
McGowan underwent surgery on his right shoulder in July of 2008 and, yes, the initial timetable -- based on the type of procedure -- called for a possible return by May or June of this past season. The problem is that comebacks from shoulder injuries can often be trickier than returning from elbow issues.
In McGowan's case, he suffered a series of setbacks, including a freak injury to his left knee while he was running in July. Under the circumstances, the Jays were not going to even attempt to rush the right-hander's comeback. The team's hope is that he can return next season and be the pitcher he was in the past.
The good news is that McGowan was throwing again at the end of this past season and reports were that he was looking strong. Barring another setback, the Blue Jays believe he might be ready for Spring Training. That would be a big help, considering Toronto also has pitchers Shaun Marcum and Jesse Litsch coming back from injury.
Will the Blue Jays re-sign catcher Rod Barajas? I don't think they have to. Raul Chavez is a solid backup. They should probably save the cash for another position or another starting pitcher.
-- Daryn, Cape Dorset, Nunavut
Chavez is indeed a solid No. 2 catcher, but the Blue Jays may not want to use him as its starter behind the plate in 2010. Toronto is interested in bringing Barajas back and the veteran has said that he would love to return. That might be a good move, considering Toronto's alternatives.
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With the great seasons that second baseman Aaron Hill and designated hitter Adam Lind had in 2009, do you think either or both could hit 40 or maybe 50 home runs in a season in the future?
-- Sonny H., Hamilton, Ontario
Hill joked all year that he is not a power hitter and no one should expect him to continue to belt home runs in bulk. Given his compact swing, Hill's breakout showing of 36 homers in '09 -- a club record for a middle infielder -- might be his plateau. Lind hit 35 homers this year and his smooth left-handed stroke seems to make him the more likely of the two to top 40 homers down the road.
Does Lind become arbitration eligible this offseason? With all the talk about Travis Snider's eligibility status this past year, I was wondering where Lind stood, seeing as he's played more in the big leagues.
-- Dustin W., Binghamton, N.Y.
Lind probably wishes he was eligible for arbitration after the huge season he just had offensively, but the Blue Jays have a bargain on their hands right now. Toronto's arbitration-eligible players this winter include: Jeremy Accardo, Jose Bautista, Shawn Camp, Chavez, Edwin Encarnacion, Jason Frasor, Brandon League, Marcum, McGowan and Brian Tallet.
It appears as though the Jays need a closer. Do they have one in the Minors, or do they have to look elsewhere?
-- Ross H., Newmarket, Ontario
Right now, the Jays don't feel they need to find a closer for 2010. The ninth-inning duties will likely be split among the right-handed Frasor and the left-handed Scott Downs. Hard-throwing Jays reliever Josh Roenicke, who was acquired from the Reds in the July trade that sent Scott Rolen to Cincinnati, might have a future as a closer.