Not convinced on the Jays

As the baseball season gets underway on Sunday night with a contest between the Texas Rangers and the Houston Astros, all eyes will quickly turn towards the Toronto Blue Jays after a massive off-season overhaul.
Following a wild couple of months that saw them acquire Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, and R.A. Dickey in trades, sign Melky Cabrera via free agency, and also bring back a familiar face in manager John Gibbons, Canada’s lone MLB team has gone from being a middle of the road team that disappointed in 2012 to becoming the clear-cut favourite by many to win the World Series over night.
However, I have my doubts about that, as more often that not those that make a big splash in the off-season end up falling flat on their face when it comes to the playoffs.
You don’t have to look to far for recent examples of that, as the 2008 Detroit Tigers, the 2011 Boston Red Sox, and last year’s Miami Marlins were all teams that made big moves in the winter and failed to make the playoffs the next year.
However, I’m not suggesting that this year’s Blue Jays club are going to ride in the cellar all season.
Compared to the rest of the AL East, Toronto looks in pretty good shape.
The New York Yankees are aging rapidly before our very eyes and have had to bring in Vernon Wells and Brennan Boesch as stop-gap replacements, while the Boston Red Sox lineup has many question marks throughout it after a disastrous 2012.
Despite shocking everyone by making the playoffs last year, no one is expecting the Baltimore Orioles to pull it off once again, and while the Tampa Bay Rays are very good when it comes to pitching, they still have some holes in the lineup and a lot is being expected of their younger starters when it comes to replacing James Shields, who was traded to the Kansas City Royals.
Granted, the Blue Jays still have some lingering issues heading into opening night on Tuesday against the Cleveland Indians, as third baseman Brett Lawrie is starting the season on the disabled list and pitcher Ricky Romero is still unable to find the strike zone.
With that said, this is arguably the best Blue Jays squad since the World Series championship winning sides of 1992 and 1993, so it’s not that foolish to be excited about being a possible playoff team once again.
However, I would think twice about planning the parade routes.
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While I am obviously excited to see who will end up winning the World Series later this year, one of the things I’m looking forward to see is who will be the next prospect to blow everyone away with their abilities this season.
From Texas Rangers shortstop Jurickson Profar, St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras, and Baltimore Orioles pitcher Dylan Bundy, the hype surrounding these players is endless.
However, we do have to remind ourselves that these are still prospects, and players such as Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, and Stephen Strasburg are possible once-in-a-generation type talents.
As I have written before in this column, while we can dream about how amazing a prospect may turn out to be, we have to remember that it takes a long amount of time before they get into the big leagues, and success is not a given.
Mind you, that might not stop former Times sports reporter Dan Falloon, who may or may not be getting a tattoo of Minnesota Twins outfield prospect Byron Buxton as you read this.