What is going to put the Blue Jays over the top in 2013? What will make them a perennial contender, hopefully starting next year? It’s not a matter of one missing piece, or one upgrade. It’s a few upgrades and several acquisitions, and an upgrade is not strictly a performance upgrade. I feel the Blue Jays are lacking a true veteran that brings leadership to the table along with steady performance. So let’s take a look at the roster and what needs to be upgraded:
Strong need for upgrade.
Possible need for upgrade.
Small-No need for upgrade.
Let’s address the offense first. As you can see, the foundation is there for a solid offense. But there are major gaps at first base, second base, and left field. All of which could be dealt with easily this off-season. Now, let’s start with the players that are in violet, and could possibly be upgraded. These are the players that AA and the Blue Jays could live with next year, players that play their positions to a major league average or slightly better. Basically, the reasoning behind having Arencibia and Escobar defined in this section is because of the players they have behind them; Travis D’arnaud and Adeiny Hechavarria. At this point (most likely) one of each pairing will be traded.
C: Trade JPA. Promote Travis D’arnaud
2B: Sign Marco Scutaro.
SS: Trade Escobar. Play Hechavarria at SS.
LF: Use Escobar to acquire an outfielder.
Bench: Acquire Alexi Casilla in the previous trade with the Twins.
Bench: Send Sierra to Buffalo (AAA). Davis removed from lineup and placed on bench.
Now, on to the pitching staff. The Toronto Blue Jays pitching staff has two very different dynamics: A brilliant and youthful bullpen and an injury riddled, underachieving, and depleted starting rotation with no depth. Let us look on the bright side first. The bullpen has one minor problem and that is a lack of a long man to chew innings when a starter cannot go past fifteen outs, but if all goes right and Toronto acquires 2-3 MLB caliber pitchers this offseason that problem is solved by simply moving Chad Jenkins to the pen from the rotation. But where Toronto finds those 2-3 pitchers is the real issue that has arose. After Romero and Alvarez’s dreadful seasons, no one knows how they’ll respond next year. So that uncertainty alone will pressure AA into phone calls looking for starters. Unless Alvarez can develop a league average third pitch his success will comes as far as the bullpen, in my eyes. Happ on the other hand, I don’t mind. If you have a solid 1-4, I don’t think anyone would be terribly disappointed with Happ as the fifth starter in the rotation.
SP: Sign Anibal Sanchez
SP: Acquire pitcher from Red Sox in exchange for John Farrell.
SP: Give Romero the 4th rotation spot until he proves he doesn’t deserve it.
LRP: Send Cecil down for starting depth in Buffalo. Move Jenkins into role.