Monday, November 19, 2012
The Blue Jays have kick started their team with a strong opening to their offseason, but I feel the remaining moves they make will determine just how successful the team will be in 2013.
Today, the team announced the twelve player blockbuster that will bring SS Jose Reyes, SP Josh Johnson, SP Mark Buehrle, IF/OF Emilio Bonifacio, C John Buck, and cash considerations north of the border. Also, they made official the signing of maligned OF Melky Cabrera to a two year contract that will pay him eight million per year.
The quick movement of Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos, who also signed the underrated Maicer Izturis away from the Angels, has certainly boosted the clubs chances to compete next year. Depending on what some of their rivals in the American League can accomplish before the season begins, the Jays might be looking at a 90 win season even if they put their feet up for the offseason.
This is where the sledding gets tough though. Baseball people always say it is easy to get your team to 80 or so wins, but it is the next ten or fifteen W's that will test your ability to assemble a team that will assure themselves an opportunity to compete for and in the playoffs.
While the financial commitment Rogers has already made to their baseball team shows how committed they are to winning in the coming years they may be doing themselves a disservice by stopping now. I feel like there are some opportunities out there still that could benefit a team like Toronto and I know Anthopoulos will be searching high and low for the right opportunities.
There are still some big ticket free agent pitchers that could be fit into the rotation such as Zack Greinke, Hiroki Kuroda, Dan Haren, Edwin Jackson, or Anibal Sanchez. These pitchers are guys that might not have made sense on the team as soon as two weeks ago, but now they may be just what it takes to push the squad over the top.
SP Brandon McCarthy would be a smart addition to the back end of the rotation that would ensure a strong six starters for the Jays. He has been an effective starter, but his scary injury last year and injury riddled history would allow for the Jays to sign him to a reasonable deal.
McCarthy's teammate last year with the surprising Athletics, OF Jonny Gomes would make a perfect platoon partner with current 1B/DH Adam Lind, who has proven that he struggles to hit left-handed pitching. Gomes has crushed lefties in the last three years to the tune of a .903 OPS.
All of the options I have listed are currently free agents, but the team still has enough prospect capital remaining to complete trades for some high calibre major league players. For example, the Jays could potentially form a package of players (or include a third team) to satisfy the Arizona Diamondbacks to part with Justin Upton. He could fit right into RF and the Jays could move Jose Bautista to first base.
Anyway the point of this article wasn't to list off players that I would like to see on the team next year, but rather to express that the front office still has work to do. A lot of fans are pleased to see the direction the team has gone, but if you are going to make a financial commitment to win then it might just make sense to go all the way and improve your odds that much more by adding those projected wins where you can.