COMMENTARY | Much was made during the offseason about the new-look Toronto Blue Jays after general manager Alex Anthopoulos pulled the trigger on a pair of monster trades.
In deals with the New York Mets and Miami Marlins, Anthopoulos added starting pitchers R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson and Mark Buerhle, shortstop Jose Reyes, utilityman Emilio Bonifacio and catcher Josh Thole, a guy who was familiar with Dickey's signature knuckleball.
Toronto also added free agent outfielder Melky Cabrera. With the return of injured All-Star Jose Bautista, the Blue Jays were supposed to be poised to contend for the first time since the early 1990s.
We're almost through the first month of the season, though, and the Blue Jays find themselves in the American League East basement with 14 losses in their first 23 games.
It's not just that the Jays are losing. It's the way they're losing which makes me wonder if anything has really changed at all.
Reyes is on the shelf with a severe ankle sprain and isn't expected back until around the All-Star break. Johnson was scratched from his scheduled start against the New York Yankees on Friday, April 26, with tightness in his right biceps.
Of course, given the way Johnson has pitched in his first month north of the border, maybe that's not such a bad thing for the Jays. Johnson is 0-1 with a 6.86 ERA and 1.88 WHIP in 19.2 innings covering four lackluster starts.
He's certainly not the only Blue Jays who is scuffling.
Dickey is 2-3 with a 4.66 ERA and 1.45 WHIP in five starts and 29 innings. Buehrle is 1-1 with a 6.35 ERA and 1.52 WHIP in 28.1 innings over five starts. J.A. Happ is the only Toronto starter with a sub-4.00 ERA at this point. If it weren't for the bullpen pitching out of its mind-a 2.98 ERA and an ERA-minus of 74 (100 is average, anything less is better)-Toronto might not even be 9-14.
The hitters haven't exactly been tearing it up, either, outside of catcher J.P. Arencibia, whose .267 batting average leads the team, as does his eight homers and 15 RBIs.
Cabrera is hitting a pedestrian .253/.310/.308 with three extra-base hits and six RBIs in 100 plate appearances. Colby Rasmus is at .225 and has struck out 33 times in 71 at-bats. Edwin Encarnacion has clubbed five homers but is hitting just .212. Bautista is bumping along at .180/.286/.459 with five homers and nine RBIs.
If there were only some clubhouse turmoil and a loud-mouthed manager creating off-the-field controversy, I'd think the 2012 Miami Marlins just moved north.
Of course, as any New York Yankee fan could have told their counterparts to the north, winning the offseason isn't really as big a deal as the pundits try to make it seem.
Phil Watson is a freelance journalist and commentator based in upper Michigan who covers the New York Yankees for the Yahoo Contributor Network.
- Sports & Recreation
- Toronto Blue Jays
- Miami Marlins
- Alex Anthopoulos
- Jose Bautista
- Melky Cabrera
- Josh Johnson