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Toronto Blue Jays: Clubhouse Cohesion, New Faces, And The World Baseball Classic

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Monday, February 18th, 2013

Melky Cabrera, Jose Reyes and Edwin Encarnacion. 3 of the first 4 hitters in the 2013 Toronto Blue Jays lineup, and all from the Dominican Republic. In their first year as teammates on the Blue Jays, and one of their first spring training practices, have already become a close trio. Dominican slugger Jose Bautista is missing from this photo, but is the 4th piece of this dazzling 1-4 combination.

Melky Cabrera, Jose Reyes and Edwin Encarnacion. 3 of the first 4 hitters in the 2013 Toronto Blue Jays lineup, and all from the Dominican Republic. In their first year as teammates on the Blue Jays, and one of their first spring training practices, have already become a close trio. Dominican slugger Jose Bautista is missing from this photo, but is the 4th piece of this dazzling 1-4 combination.

By Alex Mednick (Baseball Analyst and Toronto Blue Jays Correspondent)

The Toronto Blue Jays had a very well publicized off-season.  Many moves were made, including two blockbuster trades, the signing of one of baseball’s best and most controversial contact hitters, and a new (old) manager.  A core of the former Blue Jays remained intact, but between the big moves made by GM Alex Anthopoulos this off-season, along with the smaller additions, the Blue Jays have 12 new players on their 25 man roster.  These 25 players are expected by many, to hit the gates running, and to at the very least, earn Toronto a spot in the playoffs come October 2013.

Clearly, team chemistry plays are huge part of winning championships.  We have seen numerous teams boasting extremely talented rosters have merely moderate success, and we have seen teams loaded with professional journeymen have historic success.  Michael Jordan is noted for making the comment, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships”.

The 2013 Blue Jays are very unique in that while half of their team is in fact new to Toronto, many of these players have played together and have cultural bonds. The blockbuster trade with the Miami Marlins brought a total of 6 players to Toronto, all of whom, were quite obviously teammates in South Florida.  5 of these players are expected to immediately be impact players in the clubhouse. Another big trade with the Mets brought over three players who will likely contribute to the team to varying degrees, and have already formed close ties amongst each other due to the relationship that exists between a knuckleball pitcher and his battery mate.  Right off the bat, we can account for 8 of the 12 new players on the roster who at the very least, already are familiar with each other and are not entering a new city completely unfamiliar with their teammates. The following players might all make their way to the ALL-Star Game at Citi Field this year:  R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle, Jose Bautista, Jose Reyes and Edwin Encarnacion .

2013 Preview of the Toronto Blue Jays:

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The Blue Jays New Reality: Building Towers on Shaky Ground

Saturday, November 23rd, 2012

The Blue Jays have made a lot of moves in a short period of time and added a jolt to a fan base which had become numb of 19 years of not competing. People are saying they will win, including Las Vegas odds makers. They certainly look way better on paper than they did two weeks ago and people have a reason to be excited with the direction the franchise is going. They have taken 2 quick steps forward, but what happens when Murphy’s Law strikes and they take 1, or 2 steps back? How good are they then?

Alex Mednick (Baseball Writer and Analyst):

There has been a lot of talk thus far about how the Blue Jays are slotted to be ultra-competitive.  And I don’t want to be a “negative-Nancy”, because this hype comes with good reason.  I, as a Blue Jays fan, am beyond thrilled with the organization allowing Alex Anthopoulos to pull the trigger and make this kind of off-season happen…there is no doubt that this is what Blue Jays fans have been waiting for over the last 18 years.  The Rogers family has shown that they aren’t simply using the Rogers Centre as the world’s largest billboard.  They demonstrated that they are committed to take the financial risks necessary to make this team competitive.  They said they would spend big $$$ when the “time came”, and they kept their word.  The time has definitely come when you have two guys hitting 40 home runs a season in the middle of your lineup.  I applaud the Rogers’ and the front office for saying something and sticking to it.

That being said, when I hear things like “we’re not done yet”, and, “the Blue Jays would like to add another front-line starter”, it soothes me and calms my nerves.  The truth is, and I don’t want to seem greedy, but I am not content with where the team is now.  If the past three seasons have shown us anything it is that over the course of 162-game season, injuries happen.  Bottom-line: the roster you start with on opening day, will not be your roster throughout the season.  Nobody has a rubber arm and muscles made of Teflon.  Murphy’s law is constantly looming over any clubhouse and just waiting to strike.  Look at 2012, we lost our 2, 3, and 4 slotted pitchers in 3 consecutive days! Read the rest of this entry

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