April 2, 2013

Can we really expect the playoffs from the Jays?

by Dan Bilicki In: Baseball

There has been much ink spilled over the Toronto Blue Jays splashing a lot of money and overhauling their roster in the offseason. Now, with tonight’s opener, it’s finally time to put those players to the test and embark on a 162-game journey which will hopefully arrive at the playoffs come October.

But is it right to expect such a feat from the 2013 Blue Jays, a team that hasn’t been in the post-season since winning the World Series 20 years ago?

First of all, let’s just go over the team that most of the incoming players arrived from: The Miami Marlins. This is a team that basically brought in these very same players last year for a so-called instant rebuild, why should we think that it’ll be different in Toronto? Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonifacio and Josh Johnson were all part of one of the worst squads in baseball. It’s not unrealistic to think that they won’t work out perfectly here, in their new team.

Next up is 38-year-old knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. He’s coming off two amazing seasons – including a Cy Young last year – being the ace of the New York Mets, another one of the worst squads in MLB. The knuckleball is a pitch that can be terribly inconsistent, so can you trust that Dickey will be able to deliver another top-notch season, especially playing with a new tandem of catchers?

Melky Cabrera joined the Jays hot off a 50-game suspension for PED use. If you can’t see an issue with that, then I don’t know what to tell you. It remains to be seen if he is capable of duplicating his big numbers with San Francisco last year without that extra help.

It should also be mentioned that all of these players are coming over from the National League, which is a step below the American League talent-wise. There can be a definite drop-off after coming over to the AL, especially with pitchers who now have to face the DH every game.

You also have to remember that Edwin Encarnacion is coming off a career year that I’d guess he won’t be able to live up to and that Brett Lawrie is already injured. More concerning about Lawrie is that he suffered a similar rib injury to the one he had last season. If this is a reoccurring thing, it could seriously hamper his season, if not his career.

And don’t even get me started on the trainwreck that is Ricky Romero.

But hey, at least Jose Bautista has been mashing home runs and should return to his superstar slugger form.

All said, with a roster this talented, there’s no way that the Jays shouldn’t wrap up one of the wild card spots and will challenge the Rays for the AL East. But, then again, many – including me – thought the Marlins would do the same last year.

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