The Toronto Blue Jays needed to make
some moves. After finishing 73-89 and in fourth place in the American
League East, they essentially made the first splash in the player
movement pool by pulling off a blockbuster trade.
They landed Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle,
Josh Johnson, John Buck and Emilio Bonifacio for essentially a bunch
of no-names, then proceeded to sign Melky Cabrera coming off a
successful but checkered 2012 season.
The question now is whether those
moves are enough to improve from 73 wins to 93 in a division where
even that many may not be enough. With the Yankees, Rays, Red Sox and
Orioles all a threat for the playoffs entering 2013, the Blue Jays
will need Johnson and Buehrle to anchor a rotation that scuffled all
of last year when it was spearheaded by underachieving Ricky Romero
and oft-injured Brandon Morrow.
A safe bet would be to say that at
least a 10-win improvement is in store for the Jays. 15? A stretch
perhaps. 20? Wishful thinking, but not impossible.
Many people forget the lengthy absence
of Joey Bats last season. Jose Bautista’s injury left a gaping hole
in the lineup, which allowed Edwin Encarnacion to blossom into the
star the Reds had once envisioned him to be.
Still, many in Toronto will rejoice at
the fact that the Rogers family appears finally ready to open its
wallet and bring in some big names to compete with the division’s
heavy hitters, New York and Boston.
Fans in Toronto are starving for
success. The Blue Jays have not made the playoffs since 1993 (for the record, some disenfranchised Blue Jay fans have come to think of the postseason as fantasy baseball). The
Maple Leafs have not won the Stanley Cup since 1967. The Raptors have
just five playoff appearances in 18 seasons of existence. Now is the
time for the Blue Jays to win, and the pieces appear to finally be in
Health always seems to be a key factor
for better or worse and, unfortunately for the past two decades for
Toronto, it’s usually been the latter of the two. But patience and
excuses are wearing thin north of the border. ’13 needs to be a lucky year in Toronto.