Created on: March 10, 2013
If one observed the Toronto Blue Jays offseason, it is quite clear that their front office was done with being the AL East doormat. It used to be that when Toronto looked down, they at least saw the Baltimore Orioles, but 2012 saw them sink all the way into the basement of the division. GM Alex Anthopoulos had seen enough and knew he had to make a significant change. With that in mind, Toronto became the Miami Marlins of 2011, making bolder moves than anyone in baseball.
The team can only hope it works out better for them than it did Miami. In one fell swoop, Toronto picked up Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonifacio, and John Buck from Miami. They then turned around and sent Buck, Travis D'Arnaud, and others to the New York Mets for 20-game winner R.A. Dickey. Suddenly, the Blue Jays have gone from pretenders to the popular pick to win the American League East. The question is: are those experts correct?
Well, chemistry plays a major role on teams thrown together like this so that fact remains to be seen. On paper though, the Blue Jays are much improved. The fascinating thing was the acquisition of three starting pitchers in the offseason. Toronto had considerable talent already, which held them in the race till the halfway point of the season. Injuries got to the staff, but they did well. The team had Jose Bautista, Kyle Drabek, Drew Hutchison, Sergio Santos and J.A. Happ on the staff last year, but some of these guys will have to head back to the minors or the bullpen. Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow figure to be the two guys that round out the staff.
Last year, this team's offense revolved around Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, but that will not have to be the case in 2013. Sure, they will still be able to slug it out if need be, but this team now has the added bonus of speed to work with. With Jose Reyes and Emilio Bonifacio in the lineup, the Blue Jays should be able to manufacturer runs easier, giving them multiple ways to attack teams while on offense. Not mentioned yet are names like Melky Cabrera and Brett Lawrie, who make this Toronto team look like a juggernaut on paper.
The key phrase there is on paper. This team can be tremendous, but a lot of it is going to be predicated on luck. Can Josh Johnson and his arm troubles hold up all season, and does Mark Buehrle still have something left in the tank. Reyes has been plagued by nagging injuries over the past few seasons. Perhaps their biggest question is with new closer Casey Janssen. Janssen is essentially new to the closer position, meaning that this team built to win now is asking a novice closer to finish things for them. It will be an interesting experiment to watch in 2013,
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MLB team previews 2013: Toronto Blue Jays
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