The Blue Jays went big this offseason, landing six new starting position players and pitchers via trades and free agency. They brought over Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Emilio Bonifacio, and Mark Buehrle from the Marlins along with R.A. Dickey from the Mets. They also inked Melky Cabrera to two-year deal and brought in Maicer Izturis to sure up their infield.
We already know Jose Bautista and Colby Rasmus will hold down the outfield while the infield looks as good as any other. The rotation is at least two Cy Young candidates deeper and the Jays have a good pen to boot. Let’s take a look at five burning questions for Jays fans going into 2013.
Melky Cabrera: Sometimes you have to question a massive upswing in a player’s stats and sometimes those questions are quickly answered with a 50-game steroid suspension. I’m not saying that had anything to do with the fact that his .267 average, .709 OPS, and 40 HR from 2006-2010 jumped to a .322 average, an .849 OPS, and 29 HR over the last two seasons. I’m just not ready to write it off as a coincidence. And I’m Googling how quickly the effects of steroids wear off.
Emilio Bonifacio: Before Bonifacio began his never-ending string of injuries last season, he was putting together the beginnings of a career year, stealing 28 bases in just 57 games. The year before Bonifacio batted .296 with a .753 OPS and 40 SB but fell to a .258 average and .645 OPS in his injury-riddled 2012 campaign. Who knows which Bonifacio the Jays snagged up in the deal or if he will even play more than two months of the season.
Adam Lind: Toronto has labored through Adam Lind for years now, not knowing which player he will be in any given month, much less season. After batting .305 with 35 HR and 114 RBI in 2009, Lind is batting just .246 since. Growing worse over the last two seasons, he saw his at-bats per home run jump from 19 to 29 while his at-bats per RBI rose from 5.7 to 7.1. He was also sent down to Triple-A last May and put on waivers but went unclaimed.
Brandon Morrow: Morrow broke through in a huge way last season going 10-7 with a 2.96 ERA and 1.12 WHIP before he got hurt an missed almost 15 starts with a strained left oblique. Aside from injury concerns, it’s a bit much to expect a guy who had a career 4.37 ERA and 1.38 WHIP in his first 523 IP to put up those numbers again.
Ricky Romero: Romero was supposed to be the team’s ace last year and instead turned in one of the worst performers in baseball. After going 15-11 with a 2.92 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in 2011, he went 9-14 with a 5.77 ERA and 1.67 WHIP in 2012. He walked a league-leading 105 batters, up from 80 the year before and allowed a .381 OBP against and .440 SLG against. After starting on Opening Day last year, Romero enters the season as the Blue Jays’ fifth starter.