The additions through trades couldn’t overcome the injuries.
The Toronto Blue Jays entered the season with high expectations after making waves in the off season. A revamped rotation, lineup and coaching staff had Torontonians more excited than the political beat writer following Rob Ford. Unfortunately for Jays fans, this excitement translated into a season highlighted by postgame events from Munenori Kawasaki rather than one highlighted by wins. With just 74 wins, the Blue Jays may have been the most disappointing team in baseball in 2013, here are the main points from the campaign.
The Blue Jays had a very good bullpen.
Despite being one of the most overworked in the game – 552.2 innings, third most in baseball – they held their own in the very tough AL East. Their 3.37 ERA was good for fourth in the American League and kept 2013 from being a total pitching disaster. Casey Janssen proved himself as the team’s closer with 34 saves, while lefties Aaron Loup (2.47 ERA) and Brett Cecil (2.82) teamed with Steve Delabar (3.22) to make up the bulk of the back end production.
They were hurt all year.
Hear me out on this one. What would be worse, having a healthy team under-perform as bad as they did or having a team under-perform because they were unhealthy? Six projected starters at the beginning of the season, Jose Reyes (93), Brett Lawrie (107), Melky Cabrera (88), Colby Rasmus (118) and Jose Bautista (118) all played fewer than 120 games. When you pair that with the injury plagued seasons of Josh Johnson, Brandon Morrow and J.A Happ you get a team that never really had a chance to get hot.
They hit bombs.
Despite being in the middle of the road in nearly every offensive category, the Blue Jays were fourth in homers. Contributions in the power department were headed by Edwin Encarnacion (36 HRs) and Jose Bautista (28) and supplemented by Adam Lind (23), Colby Rasmus (22) and J.P. Arencibia (21).
Innings eaters bit off more than they could chew.
Veteran starters R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle delivered 200+ innings this year, but neither delivered the numbers they were accustomed to in recent years. Dickey had his highest ERA since becoming a knuckleball pitcher, while Buehrle delivered the third highest ERA of his 14 year career. This massive work load was a result of the bad and banged up back end of the rotation. Ricky Romero finalized his descent into mediocrity after failing to escape the first inning in his second and final start of the season.
Everyone had a down year.
Despite leading the team, Encarnacion’s and Bautista’s power numbers were down from their recent career peaks. The rotation disappointed with Dickey and Buehrle playing worse than advertised and Josh Johnson never finding form. The infield was bad all year long, with brief bright spots when Reyes was able to play. It’s tough to win when your five highest paid players under-perform simultaneously, that that is the perfect storm that hit the Blue Jays in 2013.
The Hot Stove
After making the two biggest splashes of last year’s hot stove season the lone team from the great white north is in for a long cold winter this year. With so much contract acquisition last off-season, the Blue Jays will likely be a boring team to follow in the hot stove season.
With the team already sitting near the rumored $150 million cap and so many holes to fill in the rotation, the Blue Jays might be looking for affordable starting pitching this winter like Gavin Floyd or a return of the swiftly declining Roy Halladay, but outside of that, the team will likely look the same.
Other than a few minor moves, the Blue Jays will probably stand firm, hoping that the talent they had so much faith in last off-season will deliver for them in 2014 for Toronto and their GM Alex Anthopoulos.
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