Enough with the spin, I know a fourth place team when I see one.
I’ll be that guy; you know, the one who tells you right now that unless Toronto has an ace up their sleeve (literally and figuratively) I’m not buying the Blue Jays as a contender in the American League in 2013. I saw how this movie played out in Miami last year when I let a $654 million dollar stadium, a manager who won a world series in 2005, and over $250 million dollars worth of free-agents fool me into thinking they were going to be legitimate.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, yeah that’s never happening.
Listen, I’ve played, studied, or just hung around this game long enough now that I shouldn’t have fallen for such foolishness in Miami. Now that the Blue Jays have acquired Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, John Buck, Emilio Bonifacio, and $4 million dollars (or better said: last years Marlins team) I’m supposed to believe they can overtake the Rays, Orioles, and Yankees? I don’t think I need to remind you (and its one of the first things I tweeted after the whole thing went down) that this was essentially the same group that finished dead last in the National League East. 29-games behind the Nationals and five out from the fourth place Mets. Tampa Bay finished with 90 wins last season in the American league East which was three behind Baltimore (Wild Card winner) and five behind the Yankees (division champs). Can someone explain where the Blue Jays made up 22 games in the standings with this trade? Not one of the players they received was worth much metrically in 2012 and given the age and injury history of some aren’t due for a dramatic turnaround.
Bringing in Melky Cabrera isn’t going to do it. Coming off a 50-game suspension for PEDs and watching his former employer the San Francisco Giants win the World Series without him you have to wonder how he’s going to perform. You also have to wonder what his real value is because pitching is the name of today’s game. While Buehrle notched 13 wins and a 3.74 ERA last season, those numbers will go up in the American League, where he will not have that break afforded him from the pitchers spot. I like Drabek, Morrow, and Romero as guys with great stuff, but I don’t like their development since they’ve arrived on the big club. Romero, in particular, seems to have taken a huge step back.
As I said before competing in baseball and this division requires pitching, and the fact that Blue Jays general Manager Alex Anthopoulos can’t seem to get that through his head is what confuses me. Jose Reyes was a nice addition and should benefit from the artificial turf in Toronto as he beats out choppers all over the yard. It will also be a detriment to him and those balky legs of his as Vlad Guerrero, Andre Dawson, Ozzie Smith and countless other speed guys can attest.
As I mentioned before, Toronto needs an ace; and the money spent on Melky Cabrera (which I would have loved to see go towards Adam LaRoche to shore up the infield instead) could have been used on a guy like Zack Greinke. Or why not try to match up with the Angels for a trade for Dan Haren and Peter Bourjos because its obvious Colby Rasmus isn’t being pushed hard enough for his job in center (OBP of .289, BA of .223, and 149 strikeouts make the 23 home runs and 75 rbi’s that come along with it not worth it). Could also get in on Rafael Soriano for a closer, which would allow you to move Casey Janssen to what I feel is a more suitable eighth-inning guy and to use Darren Oliver (the ageless one) interchangeably in the seventh or eighth depending on the situation.
This team isn’t a contender in the American League East or Wild Card race. There is still some time left for them to make moves to change my mind, but if this is their big swing (Marlins trade, Cabrera signing) and any indication of what they plan on doing then they need someone with a better vision on how teams are being built today.