Feb 27, 2014; Dunedin, FL, USA; Players line the baselines before the Philadelphia Phillies play the Toronto Blue Jays in a spring training exhibition game at Florida Auto Exchange Park. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports
A year removed from sky-high expectations and staggering disappointment, the Toronto Blue Jays face a tremendous uphill battle in 2014. That’s bound to happen when you play in a division that is home to the 2013 World Series Champions, a perennial wild card contender, the game’s deepest pockets, and an upstart franchise looking to correct years of losing.
Unlike those team however, the Blue jays did next to nothing to improve their squad over the winter. While the goals of improving at catcher, second base, and most importantly in the rotation were well known, Toronto decided to stay the course with internal options (outside of the Dioner Navarro acquisition). Whether that was a sign of confidence in what the front office had hoped for from the 2013 squad actually coming to fruition a year later, we’ll have to wait and see.
However, you can see in this year’s squad something that was missing a year ago: hunger. They feel the need to prove the naysayers wrong, that this team was that was supposed to be great can rise above defeat(s) and challenge baseball’s toughest division. From Jose Reyes to Jose Bautista to Brandon Morrow, the drive to succeed is resonating.
But will hunger and drive be enough for this team to find success on the field? I’m not so sure, but it will be fun to watch.
With that in mind, I took a look at this year’s squad and made five bold predictions for what we can expect to see from this team when the dust settles from Spring Training. What happens during the regular season will remain to be seen, but these will be the things that help decide that.