BY ZACK BECKER
2013 Record: 74-88 (5th Place AL East, 23 GB)
Last season in Toronto can easily be summed up in one word: Frustrating.
There was a whole lot of optimism about this team in 2013, and with the Yankees in a down year, many picked the Jays as a dark horse to swipe the second wild card berth in the AL.
Unfortunately, Canada’s team couldn’t catch a break when it came to injuries. Only three of their nine season-regulars made it into the lineup more than 118 times last year. Only two starting pitchers made more than 20 starts, and the team used 13 starters throughout the season.
C Dioner Navarro (2yr/$8 mil)
MAYBE: P Ervin Santana
The Jays made a quiet signing in Navarro, who faded into obscurity around 2009. This guy started for a team that made it to the World Series back in ’08, so he’s a proven leader behind the plate with postseason experience. However, after five seasons in Tampa Bay, he’s played parts of the last three seasons with three different teams (Dodgers, Reds and Cubs). He had a great season last year, arguably his best since his All-Star 2008 campaign, hitting a career-high 13 homers in 89 games with Chicago while batting .300.
Reports surfaced this week that the team had a 1-year, $14 million deal in place to sign Santana, but the status of that deal remains unclear heading into the week. As of now, the Jays and their division-rival Orioles are the frontrunners to sign the 31-year-old Dominican.
C J.P. Arencibia — The Blue Jays’ starting catcher for the last three seasons has done well with hitting homers, but that’s about it when it comes to his offense. Arencibia failed to break a .233 average in three seasons and the team cut ties with him after a disgusting .194/.227/.362 slash line last season. He’ll get a fresh start with Texas this season.
P Josh Johnson — Johnson spent just one season in Toronto and was quite disappointing, to say the least. The oft-injured All-Star lasted just four starts before sustaining an arm injury that sidelined him for a month. He returned to make 12 more starts before suffering a season-ending injury that left him with a 2-8 record as a Jay with a 6.20 ERA. Not exactly what the Blue Jays had in mind when they traded for him last offseason. The Padres took a 1-year, $8 million flyer on the 30-year-old this offseason.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Jose Bautista. Joey Bats hasn’t been healthy for a full season since 2011, and in the time since, he’s still been able to put up the 17th-most home runs in baseball — the same amount Prince Fielder has in 115 more games. If he can stay in good shape all year long, he’s a shoo-in for the 40-homer, 100 RBI club again.
Projected Opening Day Lineup
Toronto didn’t make many moves this offseason, and the team is largely relying on a healthier 2014 team to have the success many predicted for them last year.