How Good Are the Blue Jays?

Courtesy: businessinsider.com

Courtesy: businessinsider.com

You can’t buy championships…Well, maybe you can. The New York Yankees have tried to and the Los Angeles Dodgers and Angels seem to think that it is possible. The Blue Jays are taking a new approach. They seem to be trading for AND buying a championship, acquiring an All-Star team this offseason (and their contracts) to become immediate contenders in the American League East.

Toronto is absolutely loaded. Starting pitching…upgraded. Bullpen…upgraded. Offense…upgraded. Manager…well, they brought back a former manager, John Gibbons, so that is questionable.

Still, you have to like what GM Alex Anthopoulos has done, and if you’re a Blue Jays fan you have to love it.

Courtesy: northjersey.com

Courtesy: northjersey.com

The starting rotation is stacked. If the club rotates right-handed, left-handed, the rotation is: R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, Ricky Romero, and Brandon Morrow. Morrow could be the No. 2 starter for most teams, possibly the No. 1 starter for many other. Morrow’s BB/9 IP have fallen from 4.1 in 2010 to 3.0 in 2012, when he posted a 2.96 ERA, also the lowest of his career. If Johnson stays healthy, he is capable of winning 20-games, having won 15 games in 2009, the last time he pitched 200 innings. Romero was 42-29 with a 3.60 ERA in his first three seasons (2009-2011) before imploding to a 9-14 record and 5.77 ERA in 2012. Buehrle has only tossed 200 innings in the last 12 seasons, winning 170 games in that time, and Dickey…a Cy Young in 2012 and a 39-28 record with a 2.95 ERA since 2010, when he seemingly became a totally different pitcher from his 22-28 record and 5.43 ERA that he posted in his previous seven seasons.

The bullpen is solid, as well, providing an end game from the Jays dominant rotation. Casey Janssen was dominant as a closer in 2012, Darren Oliver (if he doesn’t retire) has been one of the best left-handed relievers in baseball over the last seven seasons, Brandon Lyon is a former closer turned set-up man, Sergio Santos is coming back from shoulder surgery, and Esmil Rogers, Aaron Loup, and Brad Lincoln still have potential to become great bullpen arms.

Cabrera, Reyes, and Bautista - the new core. Courtesy: nydailynews.com

Cabrera, Reyes, and Bautista – the new core. Courtesy: nydailynews.com

The additions of Jose Reyes and Melky Cabrera provide, quite possibly, the best leadoff and No. 2 hitter in baseball, setting things up perfectly for the powerful Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. Brett Lawrie will continue to establish himself as one of the top third basemen in baseball, starting in 2013, as his power, speed, and athleticism make him an elite talent. Adam Lind and Colby Rasmus have shown glimpses of talent in the past and they are both young enough to rebound and become great contributors, even All-Star talents. The club has a lot of power at catcher with J.P. Arencibia around, who now has a clear future with Travis d’Arnaud going to the Mets in the Dickey deal.

While you can look at all of the deals that sent talent like d’Arnaud, Jake Marisnick, Justin Nicolino, Henderson Alvarez, and Noah Syndergaard away from the club, the Blue Jays still have a lot of young talent in the system. Lawrie, Moises Sierra, Anthony Gose, and David Cooper will contribute at the major league level in 2013, and great prospects like Aaron Sanchez, Daniel Norris (who will surely rebound from a disastrous 2012), Marcus Stroman, Roberto Osuna, Sean Nolin, and D.J. Davis still within the system.

While the Boston Red Sox try to rebuild without making a huge splash in free agency and the New York Yankees aim to get under the luxury tax threshold by 2014, the Toronto Blue Jays have just made their move…or moves…to become a huge threat to the entire divison and the league. Could Toronto be battling Tampa and Baltimore as the Red Sox and Yankees try to determine how they are going to build in the future? The future is now in Toronto and the Blue Jays could approach 100-wins with their upgraded roster in 2013.

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3 Comments

They definitely have made a lot of moves and upgraded over the offseason, but you can’t claim a World Series champion in the offseason, that is what the regular season and playoffs are for. Last year everyone though the Angels and Marlins would meet in the World Series last year after all the spending they did, but both teams ended up missing the playoffs. The Phillies ran into the same problem in 2011 when they lost in the first round of the playoffs after all the talk about their outstanding rotation. Did the Jays greatly improve their team? Yes. Is it ridiculous to say they are going to win the World Series? Of course.

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I dont see where, or when, any mention was made in this blog regarding the World Series. While you can site all the examples where spending has failed, there are a still many examples of when it is successful as well. Remember, only one team can win each year, so its not about automatically being handed a WSC but instead about giving your team and your fans the best possible chance of winning it all.

Im pretty sure most sane and competent fans would prefer to see their team doing what the Tigers, Rangers, Sox, Yanks, Phillies etc have done or are doing as opposed to hoping for cinderella seasons ala A’s, Orioles.

Its as much about winning the World Series as much as it is about being competitive on a consistent basis with a legitimate threat to be in the mix come the playoffs.

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Truer words have never been typed into a comment screen. I agree with you 100% that no regular fan would like to see their team build; however, I’m sure no intelligent fan would like to see their team hand out a five-year, $125 million deal to an OF when your team already has 4 OF (like the Angels). The big contracts can be crippling, just ask the Rockies.
If a team spends wisely, I don’t think going for it all of the time is a bad choice. You just can’t give 10-year contracts to 31 year old players who are already regressing.
For some cities, rebuilding has become the norm and needs to continue to be the norm. With Tampa Bay’s attendance issues and terrible stadium, they don’t have the financial flexibility to sign stars. It just seems like everything the Rays do ends up working out for them.
Competitive and competent teams have more attentive fan bases, though, and they long for titles because they are attainable. Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Kansas City, New York (Mets), and Miami will just continue waiting…for a long time.

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