The disabled list ought to be banned from the Blue Jays clubhouse this baseball season.
Going into the 2013 season, one area I believed that the Blue Jays needed to shore up was pitching. With the offensive talent they had, they were one starter away from reaching the playoffs. Alex Anthopoulos not only got one starting pitcher in the off-season but three. It should have resulted in a contending team but injuries to many key players ultimately derailed that. We witnessed some of the struggles the Blue Jays went through last season. With the exception of Munenori Kawasaki and Esmil Rogers, nobody else on the roster were able to fill the holes created by injuries.
Other than the addition of catcher Dioner Navarro, there have been no significant changes to the roster going into the 2014 season. Many pundits have pegged Toronto to finish last in the American League East but I feel confident about this team getting into the playoffs. There is no other line up in the American League East, one through nine, that I will take over the Blue Jays’. But health will be the key factor. I can count the number of times they fielded a line up with all nine regulars in 2013 with one hand. Imagine what would happen when all nine regulars are playing 140 to 150 games. I can bet no one would be asking whether the Blue Jays can get to the .500 mark.
That being said, the Blue Jays finished behind a Yankee team that fielded a Triple-A line up, a Tampa Bay team with sub-par pitching, and a Baltimore team that crushes balls but does little else. Those are three teams that were as bad if not worse than the Blue Jays in terms of talent and health, and they couldn’t beat them on a good night. I thought going into last season, the Boston Red Sox was the one team that can compete with the Blue Jays in the American League East. And, as it turned out, I was right. They stood up for one another and played as a team en route to a World Series championship.
The attitude on the Blue Jays has got to change. One Blue Jay player said after the end of last season that the clubhouse had a country-club atmosphere and needed more grinders. Indeed, the guys need to suck it up and play with some bumps and bruises this season if they want the rest of the league to take them seriously.