Toronto Blue Jays
Filed by: Brad Koesters – Prospect Junkies MLB Corrospondant
Key Additions—Francisco Cordero, Darren Oliver, Sergio Santos
Key Losses——-Jon Rauch, Frank Francisco
Lineup—While they did not add any big hitters or any real upgrades to their offense, having another year of experience with some of their younger players should only add to this lineup being better. Their outfield is flanked and led by Jose Bautista. One of the best hitters in the game, he will continue to lead. I still think Colby Rasmus can be a pretty good centerfielder, and hopefully now that he is out of St. Louis and playing full time we will see his potential. I think they are a little week in LF with Eric Thames, but all in all this is a pretty solid outfield. In the infield I like the left side of the infield quite a bit, with emerging youngsters in Brett Lawrie and Yunel Escobar. They should only continue to get better. Kelly Johnson is a good solid 2b, and if Adam Lind can produce like he did last year he will be a solid run product, and JP Arencibia, although will hit for a low average, will hit for power and drive in runs. All in all, I like the balance and potential of this lineup.
Pitching—While I don’t think they have the absolute lock down guy at the top of this rotation I do believe that with Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow they have 2 solid guys who should rack up innings and wins. However, my belief in this staff ends with those 2. I just don’t believe in anyone else in the 3-4-5 spot in that rotation. Brett Cecil will get one of the spots, but not sure he can be consistent. Dustin McGowan will get another, but I have the same fears with him. And whoever gets the 5th spot obviously is not going to be a reliable part of the rotation. With that being said, I really like what they did with their bullpen. It is not too often you lose 2 quality relievers, and still come out ahead in your bullpen. Santos is a young up and coming closer, and to add Coco as well, who has been a closer for most of his career; he should fit in well in the 8th inning. Oliver is a great acquisition, as I think most people do not realize how good he has been. If you are able to throw these 3 out in the 7-8-9 innings of games, you really have the ability to shorten games.
Outlook—I look at their offense and think that is absolutely a lineup good enough to make the playoffs, even playing in the AL East. I look at that bullpen and like how they have added depth and power arms to the pen, and again think that the bullpen is strong enough to make the playoffs. But then I look at that rotation, and get quite a few question marks. With that being said, although they have dealt some pieces of late, if they are able to hang around and make a splash for a top tier starter at the trade deadline, this is very much a team that could have a decent shot at getting to the postseason. The sad truth is, if this team were in any other division, you would probably have them right there at the top, but in the AL East, they may struggle to finish above .500 again.