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The Disaster That Was The Blue Jays 2013 Season: State Of The Union

Following the 2012 Major League Baseball season, Toronto Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopolous made some noticeable moves, to seemingly re-invent Canada’s team.  Jay’s fans everywhere were ecstatic and pumped for the upcoming season, thinking that playoff baseball would finally return to Canada after 20 long seasons.

Following the 2012 Major League Baseball season, Toronto Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos made some noticeable moves, to seemingly re-invent Canada’s team. Jay’s fans everywhere were ecstatic and pumped for the upcoming season, thinking that playoff baseball would finally return to Canada after 20 long seasons.

By ‘Special Guest  Blue Jays Writer’ Steve Cheeseman 

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Another Season, Another Disaster.

The off-season started with a boom, with the signings of Maicer Izturis (3 yr-$9 million), and Melky Cabrera (2 yr-$16million).  This was followed by acquiring hard throwing Esmil Rogers from Cleveland.  

They weren’t done yet.

On November 14th, Anthopoulos completed a blockbuster trade with the Miami Marlins, receiving pitchers  Josh Johnson  (2-time All-Star)and Mark Buehrle (4-time All-Star), short-stop Jose Reyes (4-time All-Star, 2011 NL Batting Champion),   catcher John Buck,  utility man Emilio Bonifacio, and $8 million in cash in exchange for pitcher Henderson Alvarez, short-stop Yunel Escobar, catcher Jeff Mathis, and prospects.  

It was a steal.  Toronto then sent John Buck and prospects to the New York Mets, for reigning NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey, catcher Josh Thole and a prospect.   

Odd makers out of Las Vegas named the Toronto Blue Jays as the favorites to win the 2013 World Series.  Too good to be true right? Pretty much.

Munenori Kawasaki – See You Tomorrow

On April 2nd, 2013, the Toronto Blue Jays opened the season at home to the Cleveland Indians to a sold out crowd of 48,847 fans at Rogers Centre in downtown Toronto.  With R.A. Dickey on the mound, and a stacked line-up, this should be an easy win.  Not so much, as T.O. dropped the opener to Terry Francona’s Indians, 4-1.  Game  two, was a 3-2 loss to Cleveland in extra innings.  It’s ok, it’s was only the start of the season - right?

On April 2nd, 2013, the Toronto Blue Jays opened the season at home to the Cleveland Indians to a sold out crowd of 48,847 fans at Rogers Centre in downtown Toronto. With R.A. Dickey on the mound, and a stacked line-up, this should be an easy win. Not so much, as T.O. dropped the opener to Terry Francona’s Indians, 4-1. Game two, was a 3-2 loss to Cleveland in extra innings. It’s ok, it’s was only the start of the season – right?

Between April 2nd-June 10th, the Jays posted a 27-36 record which was 11 ½ games back of the division lead.  During that timeframe GM Alex Anthopoulos and Manger John Gibbons preached patience.  

Then something rather interesting happened.  The Jay’s beat the Chicago White Sox 7-5.  The next night, another win, and another, and one more.

 Between 11th-23rd June, the Jay’s went on a tear, winning 11 straight games in series against the Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers, Colorado Rockies, and Baltimore Orioles.  Finally, they have finally turned these around.  That’s what we thought.

From June 24th-July 24th, the Toronto Blue Jays were a pleasure…to play against.  For the 25 games within this time period, John Gibbons Blue Jays lost an amazing 19 games, including 7 straight at the end of this stretch.

Already, the amazing 11 game winning streak was long forgotten.  The rest of the season did not fare any better.  Canada’s team finished the 2013 season last in the division with a 74-88 record, which was 23 games out of first place.  

For every Jay’s fan across the Canadian nation, this was typical, but with all the off-season transactions, was not expected.

The last time the Toronto Blue Jays appeared in the playoffs was 1993, coming off their second straight World Series victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.

 Since then, Toronto hasn’t even come close to the playoffs.  Year after year, not even coming close, consistently finishing behind the New York Yankee’s,  Boston Red Sox, and as of late the Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Ray’s.  What happened?

It’s easy to point the fingers.  A lot of people blame it on playing out of the AL East division, which is by far the most competitive in baseball.  Yes, it’s tougher, but in order to be the best, you have to beat the best.  

Plus, someone has to play there.  Then you’ll have fan’s that claim it’s a payroll thing.  Well, you are correct in assuming that Toronto will never have the same payroll as New York, or Boston.  

That will never happen.  However, on paper, this team was arguably the best in baseball.  You have R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson, Mark Buerhle, with fireballer Brendan Morrow and all-star Brett Cecil on the mound.

 In the line-up, you have former batting champion Jose Reyes, the home run power of Jose Bautista, and Edwin Encarnacion.  Hard hitting Melky Cabrera  and Adam Lind, as well as potential stars of Colby Rasmus, Brett Lawrie and J.P. Arencibia.  

Not to mention the speed of Rajai Davis, and Anthony Gose coming off the bench.  There’s not much to argue there.  It’s easy to say the manager John Gibbons didn’t do a good job.

Behind the scenes, nobody can say for sure, but with regard to the line-up, what else could he had done to make a difference.  To arm-chair managers everywhere, I’ll answer that for you….NOTHING!

I will also not bash Alex Anthopoulos, as I believe for the most part he did a good job.  On paper to start the season, this was the best team in baseball.  Could he have made moves during the season?  Perhaps, making trades isn’t that easy.  

As for the new additions for the 2013 season, let’s see how they did.  R.A. Dickey who was the ace of the pitching staff finished with a 14-13 record with a 4.21 ERA.  Not bad for a Starting Pitcher in AL East.

Josh Johnson when he wasn’t hurt was a pathetic 2-8 with a 6.20 ERA.  

Mark Buerhle counted his 13th straight 10+ Win, 200 IP+ season, with a 12 – 10 clip, and a 4.15 ERA.  Again, respectable for being back in the American League.  Both he and Dickey are good enough to be #3 and #4 Starters on this team with those numbers. 

Now go and find a #1 Pitcher and #2 Pitcher this offseason.

Reyes, who was hurt a fair bit this season, still hit .296 with 15 stolen bases.

Cabrera only hit .279 and was hampered with health issues, and Bonifacio, was so bad, he was traded to Kansas City.  

However other him (Bonifacio), and J.P. Arencibia (.194), hitting wasn’t overly bad.  Injuries were huge, with 1/3 of the Jay’s starting roster finished the season on the DL.

It’s difficult for a player to get into a rhythm when they are hurt.  They need to play consistently.  For the players that remained healthy, they need to accept responsibility instead of making excuses.  J.P. Arencibia was a key example.  

Baseball Analyst Gregg Zaun and Dirk Hayhurst expressed their disappointment in the Jay’s catcher during the season.  This began a war of words between the three, which should not have been the case.  

Zaun, and Hayhurst, were doing what they were paid to do, comment on baseball, specifically the Toronto Blue Jays.  As a result, Arencibia acted like a child and blasted the analyst’s for their comments.  

He should have been concentrating on the batting cage with a terrible .194 batting average.  I do admit, 21 homeruns from the catcher is pretty good.  

However, with a team high 148 strikeouts, including 47 with RISP, buddy, you have nothing to complain out, besides your own performance!

Who knows what will happen between now and next season  If Josh Johnson remains with Toronto next season, I will be surprised, and baffled.  

How many more chances will Ricky Romero get?  He was once the ace of the Blue Jay’s staff.  Now he’s trouble at the Triple-A level.  I anticipate some minor moves, however I believe the core of the team will remain in place.  

Then again, Alex is beginning to have the reputation of surprise trades and signings.

Toronto Blue Jay fans everywhere are tired of sitting at the bottom of the standings, tired of being a laughing stock, and simply tired of excuses.  

To Alex Anthopolous, because I know your reading this, regardless of what you have planned, the time of speaking patience is over.  We’ve all waited long enough.  No more excuses, no more waiting.   Instead of sounding like a broken record, just get it done.  

The time for politics is over.  If money is the problem, Media/Cable giant Roger’s who own the club, need to open their pockets and invest in the cause.  It’s not like the money isn’t there. 

This would also be the winter to strike with the Yankees down potentially in 2014.

My monthly cable and internet bill alone should be a good start.  It certainly cost enough.  Get behind the club, and the nation will surely follow.

The Toronto Blue Jays may have only fashioned a 74 - 88 in record - but they also played the whole season in the vaunted AL Wast - and faced the toughest 'Strength Of Schedule' in the MLB.  Out of the 162 Game Season, they played 119 contests vs +.500 Teams.  The offense is pretty much intact coming back for 2014, with a slight need for a DH upgrade (or to resign Lind).  Beyond that, the club has to hope the 2014 version of the team remains healthy.  The Blue Jays will need to sign a couple of Free Agent Starters as well - to round out the Rotation

The Toronto Blue Jays may have only fashioned a 74 – 88 in record – but they also played the whole season in the vaunted AL Wast – and faced the toughest ‘Strength Of Schedule’ in the MLB. Out of the 162 Game Season, they played 119 contests vs +.500 Teams. The offense is pretty much intact coming back for 2014, with a slight need for a DH upgrade (or to resign Lind). Beyond that, the club has to hope the 2014 version of the team remains healthy. The Blue Jays will need to sign a couple of Free Agent Starters as well – to round out the Rotation. With the Pirates making the playoffs this year, it means that only the Toronto and Kansas City franchises have yet to make the Post Season (Post – Lockout ERA from 1995).

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

A big thank-you goes out to our ‘Special Blue Jays Guest Writer’ Steve Cheeseman for preparing today’s featured article.

Steve was born and raised in Marystown, Newfoundland  – and has been an avid sports enthusiast my entire life.  He loves hockey, baseball, and soccer, and continue to play in local leagues where I live.   

However baseball will always be Steve’s favorite sport .   He moved to Ontario, Canada in 2001, and currently lives in the nation’s capital of Ottawa with his wife and daughter.

Steve currently writes, blogs, and freelance sfor several sporting sites.  Contact him at any time (365southpaw@gmail.com).  You can also follow him on twitter   or google circles (+Steve Cheeseman).

Please e-mail me  at: mlbreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback. To subscribe to our website and have the Daily Reports sent directly to your inbox, click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

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Posted on October 19, 2013, in MLB Teams State Of the Unions, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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