Can The Blue Jays Make An Orioles-Like Run In 2013?
Fans of the Blue Jays are well aware of the AL East Division they have to deal with on a yearly basis. The Yankees and Red Sox are bad enough, but the past few years the Tampa Bay Rays have done it with young talent. Now, in 2012, the Orioles are battling the Yankees for the AL East crown, while also keeping an eye on their Wild Card lead just to get into the playoffs.
Is the AL East now tougher than ever? Possibly, but when you step back and look at things, there is no reason not to think that the Blue Jays could make a similar surprise run next season. The extra Wild Card slot certainly helps, but it’s not like the Blue Jays don’t have talent on their roster and in their system.
The first step to a successful run next season is to make a decision one way or another on John Farrell. Reports are that the Red Sox want him as their next manager. The Blue Jays have him signed to a contract. The team needs to make a decision early in the off-season to either give him up (with some sort of compensation) or hold on to him.
As far as players are concerned, the Blue Jays do not have to be major players in the free agent market, but one thing they do need is better starting pitching. Ricky Romero was supposed to emerge as an ace, but instead he’s struggled all season. Same goes for Henderson Alvarez. All of their other promising pitchers were sidelined by injuries. It would help to go out and get a veteran or two who can be dependable for a full workload. They don’t have to be aces, they just need to give the bullpen a rest.
Speaking of injuries, it’s hard to look at the Blue Jays this season and not feel badly for them. This team has talent when healthy. Brandon Morrow and Kyle Drabek are still young enough to emerge as potential aces, but they have to be on the mound to do that. As far as the offense is concerned, any time Brett Lawrie and Jose Bautista spend a huge chunk of time on the disabled list, you know you are in for some struggles.
Last season, the Orioles won all of 69 games. The Blue Jays will most likely finish with more than that. It seems improbable to make a huge turnaround in just one season, but it can be done. The Red Sox will be down next season, the Rays will most likely end up losing some key free agents and people are still not completely sold on the Orioles. Yes, the Yankees will always be the Yankees, but with a few subtle off-season moves and a clean bill of health for their stars, the Blue Jays could return to the postseason and be the surprise story of 2013.
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