The Blue Jays are playing their Grapefruit League home finale against the Philadelphia Phillies today. Opening Day starter and former Cy-Young award-winner Roy Halladay will take the mound in this 1993 World Series re-match.
With their season beginning in Tampa Bay this upcoming Monday, there are various questions regarding the Jays in 05. Of utmost importance to their fortunes this year is the needed return of both Halladay and outfielder Vernon Wells to their 2003 form. Both had disappointing years in 04 following huge breakout seasons.
With a balanced team-first approach, and owner Ted Roger’s commitment to pump more cash in to the upcoming payrolls, the Jays hope to be competitive in the menacing American League’s East division. Apart from boasting the top two teams in baseball – the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees – the AL East is also the new home of homerun legend Sammy Sosa. Sosa signed with the Baltimore Orioles this past winter, rounding out what is sure to be one of the league’s best offenses.
Sadly, the Jays will likely not finish any higher than fourth in their division, leading to added pressure being placed on their off-season signings, Corey Koskie and Shea Hillenbrand. The Jays’ newest two bats will be highly counted on to justify letting fan-favourite Carlos Delgado depart for Miami via free agency.
The Jays open-up at the newly re-named Rogers Centre on April 8th against the aforementioned Red Sox. Velvet Revolver guitarist Slash will be on hand to perform both National Anthems. No word on whether Duff McKagan will be on vocals for O Canada.