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Toronto Blue Jays: All Offense?

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Tuesday May 28th, 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.  The Jays’ offense has been a completely different story. Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, the two leading hitters on the team, have 11 and 13 HRs, respectively. Bautista is hitting .291 and Encarnacion is hitting .247, which is not the best, but his power makes up for it. Encarnacion has also driven in 38 runs while Bautista has driven in 27. Melky Cabrera has not been the same person as he was last year with the Giants, but he is still hitting .287.

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 Dominican slugger Jose Bautista is missing from this photo, but is the 4th piece of what was supposed to be a dazzling 1-4 combination this year. But Jose Reyes was hurt and the Jays’ offense has been a completely different story. Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, the two leading hitters on the team, have 11 and 13 HRs, respectively. Bautista is hitting .291 and Encarnacion is hitting .247, which is not the best, but his power makes up for it. EE has also driven in 38 runs while Bautista has driven in 27. Melky Cabrera has not been the same person as he was last year with the Giants, but he is still hitting a respectbale .287.

Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer):

When Alex Anthopoulos and the Blue Jays set out last winter to improve the team, no one could have predicted what is happening currently.

Anthopoulos brought in R.A. Dickey, the reigning NL Cy Young, Josh Johnson, and Mark Buehrle. Ricky Romero struggled in 2012, so he started the season in the minors, and Brandon Morrow remained in the rotation.

The Jays also had a tremendous hitting lineup to build on with Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, and Brett Lawrie.

Jose Reyes arrived as part of the Marlins trade and Melky Cabrera was signed through free agency. Although the Blue Jays are saddled with being in one of the strongest divisions in baseball, they were the favorite on paper.

Over the course of a few games, all this was thrown out the window. Josh Johnson and Jose Reyes got injured, Melky Cabrera got off to a slow start, R.A. Dickey was not in his Cy Young form, and the team was not playing the way everyone had expected. Now, some could say, the Blue Jays are all offense.

RA Dickey was the unfortunate loser of a 4 - 1 Decision on Opening Day at the Rogers Center.  The Knuckbleballer is coming of a NL Cy Young in 2012.  Even before Josh Johnson got injured, he was not pitching well at all. In 19.2 innings this year, he has given up 15 earned runs on 28 hits. That goes for a 6.86 ERA and an 0-1 record. Dickey has gone 4-6 with a 4.85 ERA in 68.2 innings. Brandon Morrow has also been unsatisfactory, going 2-3 with a 5.50 ERA over 52.1 innings

RA Dickey was the unfortunate loser of a 4 – 1 Decision on Opening Day at the Rogers Center. The Knuckbleballer is coming of a NL Cy Young in 2012.  The rest of the year hasn’t gone much better for Dickey – with having a 4-6 record – and  a 4.85 ERA in 68.2 innings.

Even before Josh Johnson got injured, he was not pitching well at all. In 19.2 innings this year, he has given up 15 earned runs on 28 hits. That goes for a 6.86 ERA and an 0-1 record.

Brandon Morrow has also been unsatisfactory, going 2-3 with a 5.50 ERA over 52.1 innings.

Last year, in 113 games, Cabrera hit .360 but was suspended for the use of PEDs. The drop in average might cause one to question whether or not the PEDs influenced Cabrera’s statistics last year.

Adam Lind has been off to a pretty good start, hitting .299 with four HR and 11 RBI. These numbers could cause the Blue Jays to get rid of him while they can. He could be traded for some relief help or a starter. Time could be running out though, because if Lind goes into a slump, he might not come out of it.

If Jose Reyes would have not gotten injured and stayed in the lineup, we might have seen different results. I’m not saying that Reyes would have kept the Jays in contention, because that simply is not the case.

The pitching has been too bad for one player to carry the team. But, Reyes might have been responsible for winning a couple more games than normal.

Before his injury, Reyes hit .395 with five stolen bases in 10 games. Blue Jays games will be a lot more fun to watch once Reyes returns.

Brett Lawrie needs to step it up this season. A bad 2013 campaign could prove disastrous for his confidence in the future. The man from Canada, has had a lot of issues with his anger - including a recent dust - up with Manager John  Gibbons.  The Langley B.C. native is not beyond being sent down to the Minor Leagues for his attitude.  It hasn't to several players before for a lot less antics.

Brett Lawrie needs to step it up this season. A bad 2013 campaign could prove disastrous for his confidence in the future. The man from Canada, has had a lot of issues with his anger – including a recent dust – up with Manager John Gibbons. Lawrie is not beyond being sent down to the Minor Leagues for his attitude.

Brett Lawrie will not have the breakout season that fans were hoping for, but he could at least salvage the season and get his average up to .270, maybe even .280. Lawrie has five HR and 13 RBI to date, so 15-20 HR and 60-70 RBI this season is not out of the question.

One thing he needs to stop doing is getting in umps’ faces. He was thrown out of a game last week for slamming his helmet after he was rung up. As a young player, he needs to play the game without argument.

ESPN currently has the Blue Jays listed as about a 2% chance of making the playoffs this year.  The key for the team is to end the year off playing their brand of baseball.  They can turn the attitude of the whole franchise around with a great final 110 games or so.

When you have so many players switch leagues from the AL to the NL, and vice versa, sometimes it takes time to gel as a collective unit.  So maybe the tone can be set for the upcoming 2014 and 2015 seasons.

I think at this point, it is time for the Jays to admit that it is not their year. 2013 started very promising but went downhill. The Jays should start to look toward 2014 and go all in. It would be one thing if they were just chasing 1 team - yet alone 4 really good teams in a tough AL East.They should trade the pieces that may not be right fits - and are unsigned in the 2014 season.  The Yankees will be another year older If Reyes stays healthy and Dickey gets it together, Toronto might be having a World Series parade. Ricky Romero finding his old self will only make things better. Everyone knows that Bautista and Encarnacion will be solid for the next few seasons (and are under club friendly contracts at about $22 MIL Per year combined for about 80 HRs, and nearly 200 RBI . The only real question mark will be Reyes’ health. This season, the team needs to get its pitching back on track.  The club should also step up to sign a couple of young Free Agent pitchers.

I think at this point, it is time for the Jays to admit that it is not their year.  The Jays should start to look toward 2014 and go all in. It would be one thing if they were just chasing 1 team – but with 4 really good teams in a tough AL East = not going to happen.  In 2014, The Yankees and Red Sox will all be another year older, The Rays always lose players for finances, plus the Orioles have slightly regressed already from 2012.  If Reyes stays healthy and Dickey gets it together – 2014 could see a different result. Bautista and Encarnacion will be solid for the next few seasons (and are under club friendly contracts at about $22 MIL Per year – combining for about 80 HRs, and nearly 200 RBI.) The only real question mark will be Reyes’ health.  The club should also step up to sign a couple of young Free Agent pitchers to eat innings up and miss bats.

***The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com or their partners***

Today’s feature was prepared by our Baseball Writer Bernie Olshansky. We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers. You can also follow Bernie on Twitter.

Bernie Olshansky

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About bernieolshansky

Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’ve experienced some exciting times with the local baseball teams—the Giants winning the World Series being the most memorable highlight. Some of my favorite players include Felix Hernandez, Tim Lincecum, and Cliff Lee among others. I played baseball up through my freshman year of high school and transitioned into being a full time fan. I regularly attend major and minor league games when I have free time. I enjoy working at a baseball store. I’m in my senior year of high school and hope to major in Journalism or Sports Administration in college. Follow Bernie on Twitter (@BernieOlshansky).

Posted on May 28, 2013, in MLB Player Profiles, MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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