Blue Jays Rumors: Why Toronto Still Not the Team to Beat in A.L. East (Commentary)

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Nov 20, 2012 02:34 PM EST
Encarnacion
Edwin Encarnacion gets paid. Reaches deal with the Toronto Blue Jays worth $29 million for 3-years and team option for a 4th.(Photo : Mike Stone / Reuters) "

Hide your coaches, your players and your prospects because the Toronto Blue Jays have been on a tear so far in the 2012 offseason. Rumors have swirled about them becoming the new force in the A.L. East. However, despite having a pretty good lineup, and by pretty good I mean great, the Jays still have the Tampa Bay Rays, Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees to deal with in 2013.

So yes, I am saying hold your horses Blue Jays fans and also the rest of the media.

There is nothing wrong with being optimistic. There is experience, speed, youth, power and guys who are willing to get dirty.

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Jose Reyes is great on that leadoff spot and you know if healthy, Jose Bautista will get you 40 jacks in the season. Edwin Encarnacion, Brett Lawrie and the newly acquired Melky Cabrera are question marks. 

Encarnacion just came off a season where he hit 42 homers as he led Toronto to sixth in the MLB in homers as a team. Lawrie was supposed to be a monster, but he was decent in his first full MLB season with 11 homers and 48 RBI with a .278 batting average. Also, can't forget, Cabrera is coming off of his PEDs scandal and you don't know what kind of player he really is. 

The addition of Mark Buerhle and Josh Johnson give the Blue Jays plenty of pitching depth. They combined for a 21-27 record in the 2012 season. However, the main concern is the pitcher the Blue Jays already have. 

Ricky Romero, who is the ace, had a horrendous 2012 campaign posting a 9-14 record with a 5.77 ERA. You can get all the run support you want, but a 5.77 ERA will not get you wins anywhere.

Yeah, people might claim that the Yankees are not the same, but they can buy anybody on the market who can fix up their problems during the regular season.

You still have to worry about the Tampa Bay Rays who, if healthy, can beat anybody in the majors. The key to the Rays is Evan Langoria. If he can stay in play, then the Rays are unstoppable. 

Then there's also the Orioles who pushed the Yankees to the brink in the 2012 A.L. Division Series. Those guys are confident and they believe any one of their players can come through for them in the clutch. 

The Blue Jays will definitely be fun to watch in 2012, there is no doubt about. Reyes made it fun to watch the Mets while he was with them and he will take this excitement across the border. Having Melky on the team will boost their defense and bring lightening to their dugout. 

However, as much as I would love to see diversity in another team dominating the A.L. East, I will have to see this team dominating the standings in July in order to have faith in them. 

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