Roy Halladay as a No. 3 starter? The all-time Blue Jays, for a franchise that only began play in 1977, have a pretty deep pitching staff even without a certain federally indicted former right-hander.
Batting-wise, we end up with a left-right-left combo of power hitters who each drew 100-plus walks. Those pitch counts will get run up. Meantime, with Roberto Alomar at second base, the starting lineup includes four Gold Glove winners, for what it is worth.
The Duane Ward-Tom Henke combo makes an appearance in the bullpen.
- 2B Roberto Alomar,# 1993 (6.4). I'm over that he was denied his rightful status as a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 2010. The vox populi of the BBWAA has trouble evaluating second basemen, who have a high burnout rate. Besides, it is better to burn out than to fade away.
By the way, remember the Alomar bio Stephen Brunt published soon after the 1992 World Series? Small world: one of his researchers one interviewed yours truly for a job as a copy editor.
- 1B John Olerud,* 1993 (8.4). Outside of Wade Boggs, Oly in 1993 had the highest OBP (.473) in the majors in more than 30 years. Yet he batted fifth all season. Genius, Cito.
- 3B José Bautista 2010 (5.6, but 7.1 oWAR). Gotta at least ask the question ... What has Joey Bats (pictured) got for an encore after that 54-homer, 100-walk season in 2010?
- DH Carlos Delgado,* 2000 (6.5). The late 1990s-early 2000s answer to Fred McGriff, who he just beats out to for a roster spot.
- LF Vernon Wells, 2003 (4.9). Not a cheat, as Vernon moves to the left on the defensive spectrum to provide the all-time Jays with an all-Gold Glove outfield. He was never better than he was while putting up a .317/.359/.550 slash line in 2003.
- RF Jesse Barfield, 1986 (7.3). Nothing obscure here, this is the season when he became the first Jay to win a home run title. He also had the best outfield throwing arm of the 1980s, can play centre in a pinch and apparently found the Fountain of Youth.
- C Ernie Whitt,* 1987 (2.8) / C John Buck, 2010 (3.0). A catching platoon of Ernie and Buck. Jays fans in their mid-30s will approve. It's okay to admit you're picturing Whitt's corkscrew swing.
- SS Marco Scutaro, 2009 (5.5). A tough call, but WAR has Scutaro's 2009 season (100 runs scored, .379 on-base as the best year by a Blue Jays shortstop, especially considering he was only being paid $1.1 million.
- CF Devon White,# 1993 (6.0).Two decades later, Jays sites are still doing tributes to the catch in the 1992 World Series.
- RHS Pat Hentgen, 1996 (8.4). You can impress people and win drinks at cocktail parties by stumping them on who had the best season by a Jays starter that wasn't suspicious. Hentgen probably is among the more anonymous Cy Young winners, but between him and Roy Halladay, this staff will keep the ball in the park.
- RHS Dave Stieb, 1984 (7.7). The second-best Jay of all time, Stieb was hosed in the Cy Young voting at least once.
- RHS Roy Halladay 2003 (7.5). The second Hall of Famer to have spent the majority of his career in Toronto? At 34, the current No. 34 of the Philadelphia Phillies has already met the standard for the Black Ink and HOF Monitor tests. Granted, a lot of the former includes leading the league in complete games, which is no longer really a relevant stat.
- LHS Jimmy Key, 1987 (6.6). The stylish lefty who was much easier to love than Stieb. Pitched the most important win in team history.
- RHS Juan Guzman, 1996 (6.5). High-risk, high-reward, much? Guzman was kind of a poor man's Pedro Martínez in the '90s, at least during the two seasons when he was fairly good. His ERAs over one six-season stretch: 2.64, 3.99, 5.68, 6.32, 2.93 and 4.95.
- LHS Ricky Romero, 2010 (3.4). RickyRo gets the sixth-starter slot (meaning he's the 11th-best starter in Jays history) with the expectation he'll move up when this is revised in some future season.
- OF Shannon Stewart, 2000 (4.6). A better fourth-outfielder candidate than Reed Johnson, again.
- 2B Dámaso García, 1982 (4.4). The second Jay to bat .300 over a full season; later survived a malignant brain tumor.
- 3B Eric Hinske,* 2002 (4.0). The point of the exercise is to construct something approximating a 25-man roster. Hinske gets in since he can plug a leak at all four corners.
- 2B Orlando Hudson,# 2004 (3.2). Probably won't play much with a Hall of Famer ahead of him, but good to have around.
- RHR Mark Eichhorn, 1986 (6.4). Innings-eating sidearmer. Almost won the ERA title in '86, when he fell five innings shy of qualifying.
- CL Tom Henke, 1987 (3.4). Probably one of the game's best closers east of Dennis Eckersley from 1985-92. His 1995 season (36 saves for St. Louis) was probably one of the best 'final' seasons.
- RHR Duane Ward, 1992 (3.2). Was good for 100 high-quality innings a summer in those days when a team let a late-inning reliever throw that much. He even led the Jays in strikeouts one season as a reliever, which is like, what, a quarterback leading a NFL team in rushing? Too bad biceps tendinitis ended his career at age 31.
- RHR Paul Quantrill, 1997 (3.0). On late-night Canadian TV you can see former Jays pitcher Paul Spoljaric appearing in commercials for a furniture wholesaler that cuts out the middleman. This other Paul was a perfect middleman in his day; his 841 career appearances is the most ever by a Canadian pitcher.
- LHR Scott Downs, 2008 (3.0). A pox on left-handed hitters.