By Joe McDonald at 25 January, 2013, 10:18 am
The Blue Jays won just 73 games last season, finishing fourth in a division where the top three teams all reached 90 victories. It's been 13 years since any team claimed an AL East flag with fewer than 95 wins. Thus, Toronto's front office entered the offseason knowing that it wouldn't be enough to make only small changes at the margins.
With this fact in mind, general manager Alex Anthopoulos has spent the past three months overhauling and upgrading the Jays' roster, completing a transformation that would be difficult to execute in, say, a 10-team dynasty league. Toronto completed a 12-player deal with the Marlins in November — adding Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle and Emilio Bonifacio — then pulled off a seven-player trade with the Mets in December, picking up Cy Young winner RA Dickey. They acquired John Buck in one deal, then flipped him in another. Along the way, the Jays also signed PED offender Melky Cabrera to a relatively modest make-good contract (two years, $16 million). This team traded its manager , too, which isn't the most common occurrence.
Toronto has added tens of millions of dollars in salary in a short period of time, substantially improving the big league roster at the expense of the farm system. (Prospects Travis d'Arnaud and Noah Snydergaard were shipped to New York, Jake Marisnick , Adeiny Hechavarria and Justin Nicolino to Miami). Without question, the Jays are going to be a whole lot better in 2013. It's no stretch to imagine this team in the postseason — which, again, will require something like a 20-win improvement. Toronto has depth and talent in the rotation, plus plenty of speed and power in the lineup.
In most fantasy drafts, the early rounds will be full of Jays. Let's review...