| Blue Jays: | |
The enter the season in a quite different light than they have entered any season for the past decade-plus: They are in the spotlight. No team garnered as many headlines as the Blue Jays in the offseason, as they went out and added , , , , and more. Will this be enough to make a 73-89 team into a contender? Absolutely, because we must consider how much injuries ravaged the Jays last season. They used 12 different starting pitchers, was held to 92 games and was held to 125. Also, there is expected improvement from some younger players like Lawrie and , in addition to a bounce-back season from former ace .
1. Jose Reyes, SS2. Melky Cabrera, LF3. Jose Bautista, RF4. , 1B5. Colby Rasmus, CF6. Brett Lawrie, 3B7. , DH 8. , C9. , 2B
1. R.A. Dickey2. 3. Josh Johnson4. Mark Buehrle5. Ricky RomeroALT:
Closer: Setup: , Lefty specialist:
IF , OF , C
Remember when the ? Maybe not, since they have made two blockbuster trades since then, but Izturis could serve as a backup at second base, shortstop and third base while being fully capable of starting several times a week. He has a career .337 on-base percentage, good speed (17 steals in 19 attempts last season) and is a capable defender. That’s a pretty good player to have around as an insurance policy at three different positions, especially since the Blue Jays had such major injury woes last season.
“A limited number Former Chelsea midfielder Steve Sidwell has revealed Didier Drogba was in tears by Jose Mourinho’s sacking.Sidwell recalls how none of the players agreed with a decision which destroyed the “family culture” in the Chelsea dressing room.”I’ve been at of saves caused Janssen’s breakthrough to go by the wayside last year. But while , and made history with the kind WHIPs they were putting up, Janssen’s 0.86 mark ranked fifth among closers with at least 50 innings. And it’s not like his 2.54 ERA or 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings were anything to sneeze at. So then … about those saves. Beginning 2013 as the team’s closer will help. He didn’t claim ninth-inning duties from an injured Sergio Santos until May last year, and by then, the Blue Jays starting rotation was so decimated by injuries that a closer was hardly necessary. They either outslugged the competition, or they lost. Obviously, that formula is destined to change this year with all the upgrades they made this offseason, particularly to their starting rotation. Add, say, 15 to last year’s save total, and you’ll see why Janssen is a bargain after the top 20 closers go off the board.” — Scott White 
I think it’s how well-rounded the offense is. There are speedy table-setter types in Reyes, Bonifacio and Izturis. There are two potential 40-homer power hitters in Encarnacion and Bautista. There’s the power-speed combo in Lawrie and a possible hit-machine in Cabrera. As long as the Jays stay healthy — which is a huge question after last season — they will be able to beat teams offensively in a number of ways. Teams this well-rounded are great bets to stave off extended team-wide slumps.
The back end of the bullpen. Janssen has never been a full-time closer, Santos is coming off surgery and Delabar has had control issues at times. Overall, I don’t think this is a huge issue and the trio is more than capable enough to have a py Aston Villa following a training ground bust-up.The on-loan Chelsea man reportedly headbutted Villa teammate Jota, with his future at the club now being discussed.Phillips says he’s surprised about the conduct of his former Leicester teammate, but roductive season, but I had to name something here, and there really isn’t a glaring weakness on this ballclub.
For the first time since 1993, the Blue Jays win the World Series. They definitely have enough talent, and this should be the ultimate goal for this club in 2013.
There are obvious areas where the wheels could totally fall off here. Reyes, Johnson and Morrow are injury risks, to various degrees. Which Melky are the Jays gonna get? What if Encarnacion’s power surge last year was a fluke? What if Janssen spits the bit as closer and Santos can’t regain pre-injury form? What if Romero is just as bad as he was last season? What if Lawrie’s all-out style recklessy injures him? Rasmus and Lind are enigmas offensively as well. Dickey’s old and last season’s numbers are an outlier compared to the rest of his career. In the tough AL East, if everything that could possibly go wrong does, I could see the Blue Jays ending up in last place.
Honestly, though, what are the odds that every single bad thing listed above happens and nothing good happens? Very, very low. There will be injuries, but every team deals with those. Dickey’s 2012 season came from out of nowhere because he started throwing his knuckler harder, not because he just started to get lucky out of the blue, and Encarnacion has always shown the ability to hit for big-time power when he’s in the lineup.
It’s tough to predict how Cabrera, Rasmus and Lind will fare, but overall there is so much talent here that I don’t see a realistic scenario where they miss the playoffs. In fact, I predict they win the AL East for the first tining over a loan deal for Islam Slimani.Inter are turning to the Algeria international after being informed that Chelsea were removing Olivier Giroud from their transfer list.Slimani is currently on-loan with AS Monaco, but both parties are willing tme since …
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