This is the third in a series of 12 posts, looking at the ups and downs of the 2013 calendar year for the Toronto Blue Jays. Starting with January, we’ll take a look at the month-by-month happenings for Toronto, including notables signings, game trends, and other items that shaped the 2013 season for the Blue Jays.
January brought with it a few moves of consequence, in particular the signing of Mark DeRosa, which rounded out the Blue Jays bench for 2013. February was all about getting the band back together, Melky Cabrera talking about Biogenesis, and J.A. Happ shaping the Yankees season by plunking Curtis Granderson. What did March blow in?
March 2, 2013 - The Blue Jays signed shortstop Munenori Kawasaki to a minor league contract. At the time it seemed like merely a depth move, but an ugly injury to Jose Reyes opened the door for Kawasaki and he ended up a bright spot on a bleak Blue Jays season. Kawasaki would become a cult figure in Toronto due to his quirky behavior and warm personality, but his play was actually solid as well, with the 32-year-old appearing in 96 games, slashing .229/.326/.308 and was worth nearly a win above replacement (0.8) according to Fangraphs.
March 22, 2013 – Blue Jays claimed RHP Todd Redmond off waivers from the Baltimore Orioles. The 28-year-old Redmond had made only one appearance at the Major League level prior to the 2013 season, but was pressed into action with the Blue Jays last season. When the season wrapped, Redmond made 17 appearances including 14 starts, accumulating a 4-3 record, a 4.32 ERA, and an 8.9 K/9 ratio. His performance on the mound has him in line to compete for a starting rotation spot in 2014 and ultimately won him the team’s Rookie of the Year award.
Notable Player Losses
March 13, 2013 - Blue Jays formerly release first baseman David Cooper. The former first round pick twice flirted with starting roles with the Blue Jays, but a back injury ultimately ended his 2012 season and then looked to have ended his career prior to the 2013 season. He would sign with Cleveland in August and has begun a comeback attempt, but has yet to make an appearance at the Major League level since.
March 31, 2013 - The Blue Jays place Brett Lawrie on the 15-day disabled list due to a rib cage injury. Lawrie suffered the injury during batting practice for Team Canada during the World Baseball Classic. He would miss the first 2 weeks of the season, making his debut on April 16th.
March 31, 2013 – The Blue Jays place Dustin McGowan on the 15-day disabled list with a sore right shoulder. This is a retroactive placement to March 27th, but was more of a formality. McGowan had been shut down earlier in the spring and had not yet reached a workload the team was comfortable with. He would eventually make his season debut on June 8th.
Notable Press Releases and New Items
March 26, 2013 – After holding out hope that Ricky Romero would regain his pre-2012 form, the Blue Jays optioned the struggling left-hander and 2012 Opening Day starter to Dunedin. The plan was to have Romero continue to work on new mechanics. He would be rushed back to Toronto for two disastrous starts in early May, but would spend nearly all of 2013 in Triple-A Buffalo, where he eventually scrapped the new mechanics. He would receive a September call-up, but would make just two relief appearances and showed no true signs of improvement. Romero and his $7.5 million contract look to start the year back in Buffalo in 2014.
March 27, 2013 – To celebrate his winning of the 5th spot in the Blue Jays rotation, J.A. Happ agrees to a two-year deal with the Blue Jays, worth $8.9 million. The 31-year-old Happ wouldn’t get much time to celebrate during the season however, as he was hit in the head by a line drive in Tampa on May 7th and would not return until August 7th. He would spend much of the remainder of the season just trying to get back on track.