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There is no question that the Toronto Blue Jays have been the busiest team during Major League Baseball’s offseason.  General manager Alex Anthopolous not only pulled off one of the biggest trades in franchise history, but followed it up by signing Melky Cabrera (who served a 50-game suspension as a member of the San Francisco Giants last season for using PEDs) and acquiring last years National League Cy Young Award winner, R. A. Dickey.

These acquisitions have writers and analysts around the baseball world talking about the only MLB team north of the border.  Since the Dickey trade, Vegas odds have the Jays at 8-to-1 odds to win the World Series – making them the current favourite.

But with this kind of hype, comes a lot of pressure.  The team will need to be aware of media expectations, fan expectations, and team or individual expectations.
So here are some things the Blue Jays will look for in 2013:

  1. The ability to stay healthy.  Last season the tea was hit with the injury bug.  They lost Morrow, Drabek, and Hutchison from their starting rotation.  Santos, who they acquired to close from them, went down early and was gone for the season.  Add that to the extended injuries to Lawrie, Bautista, and Arencibia and you’ve got a pretty depleted lineup.
  2. Fill the holes.  Toronto has made some big moves to fill empty holes in an otherwise very good lineup. With the addition of Melky Cabrera to the outfield, you’re now looking at a Melky-Rasmus-Bautista outfield.  On top of that they filled holes up the middle getting rid of problematic shortstop Yunel Escobar and adding seasoned vet Jose Reyes and Emilio Bonifacio who can play second.  If Adam Lind can get back to his former glory, the Blue Jays infield could be one of the best defensively and offensively throughout the league. If he doesn’t though, AA will have to look at replacing the, once, promising first-baseman.
  3. Time to repeat.  The Jays will be looking for repeat performances from some of their players this year.  Edwin Encarnacion had a career year last year with a .280 batting average jacking out 42 HRs and 110 RBIs.  If he can have similar numbers this year, and the Jays can get a comeback year from Bautista, the two would make for a great one-two punch.  Add to that breakout seasons from Lawrie and Arencibia with a lead-off man like Reyes and the lineup is looking pretty frightening to opposing pitchers.  And hey, having a utility guy that can hit like Bonifacio doesn’t hurt.  The Jays will also look to Dickey for a repeat of sorts.  It may not be another Cy Young year, but consistent and quality starts will give the Jays lineup a good opportunity to win games.

There’s no question that this year will be exciting for players, coaches, and fans.  And only time will tell whether or not the Vegas odds are right and if the Toronto Blue Jays will bring the World Series back – north of the border.

Blue Jays Jerseys

New Guys Numbers (Career #’s at the Roger’s Centre):
Emilio Bonifacio – 2GP; 2/10; 1RBI; 2K; .200AVG
Mark Buehrle – 6GP; 1-4; 2CG; 43.1IP; 3HR; 8BB; 28K; 2.91ERA; 1.04WHIP
Melky Cabrera – 33GP; 31/114; 6 2B; 2 3B; 2HR; 17R; 11RBI; 4BB; 17K; .272AVG
R. A. Dickey – 5GP; 2-2; 22.0IP; 4HR; 9BB; 15K; 6.55ERA; 1.68WHIP
Maicer Izturis – 18GP; 17/66; 5 2B; 2R; 10RBI; 2BB; 6K; .258AVG
Josh Johnson – 1GP; 1-0; 1CG; 9.0IP; 2HR; 3BB; 6K; 3.00ERA; 1.11WHIP
Jose Reyes – 3GP; 9/14; 1 3B; 1HR; 5R; 2RBI; .643AVG

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