TORONTO BLUE JAYS – 2013 PREVIEW:
Who has convinced themselves that the Toronto Blue Jays will not be a playoff contender in 2013?
The majority who answered yes were New York Yankees fans.
The reasons given were that the Jays have too many new pieces thrown in the mix to be productive; or Toronto hasn’t been in the playoffs since 1993 when they won the World Series so they lack experience.
Well I am sorry to burst the bubble of the disbelieved but fact is Toronto has the most well-rounded team in the AL East, which give them the best odds to win the division.
After finishing in fourth place for the last five seasons to then spearhead into first is no easy to do, but the Jays have time on their side.
The competition in the AL East has plummeted. The Yankees have had a stronghold in the division for over a decade, but did not retool during the off-season where Toronto did.
Without questions the Blue Jays did the most damage during this off-season, as it seemed like there was a Yankee party up in Canada.
Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos not only gave the Jays a new skipper; he made the lineup deeper; the team speedier; the starting rotation solid; and made sure to have bench depth.
Adding Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio, Melky Cabrera and Macier Izturis to the trio of Jose Bautista, Brett Lawrie and Edwin Encarnacion to their offense is legit. Remember that Bautista was on DL for a lot of last season and the Jays still hit the sixth most homers in baseball with 204. They also stole 123 bases, which was eighth most in baseball.
This new Jays line-up has major power, speed and can hit for average, which means they can beat opponents many ways. It also now features four switch-hitters.
Now did you happen to watch any of the WBC games featuring Team Dominican Republic?
Well trust me, mandatory if you are a Blue Jays fan, and watch this please. Oh and you’re welcome.
Dickey is the reigning NL CY Young winner and the only active knuckleballer left in the majors. Buehrle is the definition of durable and like Dickey, will throw over 200 innings.
And last but certainly not least is Johnson, who when healthy is one of the best pitchers in the game. Johnson’s injury history has kept him off the mound more than on but not last season. As in 2012 Johnson made 31 starts and threw just shy of 200 innings, which is promising considering the Marlins were a disaster.
If the Blue Jays new and old players have natural chemistry this is their division to lose.
But more likely Toronto will go through ups and downs, but that is when attitude comes into play.
If the Blue Jays can stay focused on winning as a team, they have the players in place to make the playoffs in 2013. I am sure Toronto fans would love for their Jays to break this 20-year divisional jinx by winning the AL East too.