The Toronto Blue Jays have made some game changing moves, there’s no doubt about that. They’ve taken themselves from a marginally above 500 team to a real playoff contender. Just like in any other baseball season you can’t predict if the Blue Jays or any team will make the playoffs just by simply looking at the players on the team. You can certainly try to guess.
The Blue Jays offense is probably the safest part of the team to count on, having been in the top 4 in runs scored all of 2012 until the now infamous injuries. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the Blue Jays added the last 2 batting champions in the National League in Melky Cabrera and Jose Reyes and that there top hitting prospect Travis D’Arnaud is going to be ready to come to the big leagues in 2013.
Bullpens are always unpredictable but the Blue Jays bullpen looks like it’s very deep and capable of handling itself.
With the Blue Jays new rotation the bullpen will have to pitch less innings anyways which usually results in a more effective bullpen. Josh Johnson and Brandon Morrow both have ace type stuff and will no doubt keep the Blue Jays competitive in almost every game they start. Mark Buehrle has very effectively pitched 200 innings and had at least 30 starts every season in his career so he too will give the Blue Jays a chance to win most of the time when he’s on the mound. We don’t know who the Blue Jays 5th starter will be.
The X factor in the Blue Jays season could be Ricky Romero. Ever since the Blue Jays acquired Johnson and Buehrle people have been saying there’s less pressure on Ricky because he’s not the starting pitcher with the most big league experience anymore and he can be the 4th or 5th starter in the rotation. There’s some truth to that but probably more truth in that there’s a lot more pressure on Ricky now.
In all the seasons Ricky has pitched for the Blue Jays they were never expected to make the playoffs by anyone who wasn’t a bias fan. Whether he pitched well or not wasn’t going to have any bearing on the Blue Jays playoff hopes.
Going into the 2013 season the Blue Jays are now expected to make a playoff push. Playing in the American League East where every win matters because even 90 wins isn’t always enough to make the playoffs, Ricky will have to pitch like he did pre 2012 to really help the Blue Jays chances. Anything resembling 2012 Ricky will definitely costs the Blue Jays a significant amount of games.
n a playoff push season you’d have to imagine the Blue Jays would definitely not give Ricky the rope to keep failing like they did in 2012. They would have to send him to the minor leagues and possibly bring a starting pitcher from the minor leagues up before he is ready. Or they’d have to put him in the bullpen and hope he can find himself there like the Giants did with Tim Lincecum but just like Lincecum, Ricky is supposed to be much more valuable as a starter. Or it would make the Blue Jays desperate and have to trade for another starting pitcher, giving up prospects or adding payroll they wouldn’t have had to if Ricky was pitching at a serviceable level.
If Ricky does return to pre 2012 Ricky he will keep the Blue Jays competitive in most of the games he starts and make the Blue Jays rotation one of the most stable, if not one of the best. Most importantly it will make a relevant difference in the win column for the Blue Jays.