What if Ricky Romero didn’t have the American League’s highest walk rate, and its highest ERA. What if Romero pitched like he did in 2010. What if the Blue Jays drafted Troy Tulowitzki, and not Romero. (Editor’s note: We use that one every year.) What if Jose Bautista didn’t get off to such a slow start. What if Joey Bats didn’t hurt his wrist.
What if Kelly Johnson didn’t strike out so often. What if the Blue Jays kept Aaron Hill. What if Adam Lind was more than a one-year wonder. What if Yunel Escobar’s .298 OBP wasn’t 56 points below his career average. What if Escobar could be consistent; how good could he be?
What if Dustin McGowan — ha! — and Jesse Litsch were healthy. What if Kyle Drabek didn’t need a second Tommy John surgery. What if Drew Hutchison didn’t need his first. What if Brett Cecil found the two missing miles per hour on his fastball. What if Luis Perez didn’t tear his ulnar collateral ligament. What if Brandon Morrow started more than just 16 games.
What if J.P. Arencibia placed his right hand behind his back, the way he’s supposed to, and a foul ball didn’t break his hand. What if the Blue Jays never signed Francisco Cordero. What if Jason Frasor didn’t finally hit the disabled list. What if Brad Lincoln can’t get it done in the American League.
What if Adeiny Hechavarria and Anthony Gose could hit. What if Travis d’Arnaud was healthy; what if d’Arnaud’s ready for The Show. What if David Cooper wasn’t the ultimate replacement player. What if Henderson Alvarez could strike batters out. What if Carlos Villanueva can’t do it again.
What if Colby Rasmus could hit left-handed pitching. What if Rasmus’ season didn’t always fall apart after the All-Star break. What if Rajai Davis could get on base at a league-average clip; how many bases could Davis steal? What if Jeff Mathis didn’t have to play so often. What if Sergio Santos pitched more than five innings.
What if Brett Lawrie hit for more power; what if Lawrie stayed healthy. What if Yan Gomes, Joel Carreno, Robert Coello, David Pauley, Chad Jenkins, Ben Francisco, and Jesse Chavez weren’t completely useless. What if Omar Vizquel wasn’t mostly useless. What if Travis Snider became the player — and the answer in left field — we all envisioned he could be. What if Moises Sierra could catch fly balls.
What if it didn’t rain at the SkyDome.
They add up.
Image credit: The Christopher David Ryan Experience.