At Home Plate: Blue Jays all in for 2013

A team can only be content with being mediocre for so long.

In one of the toughest divisions in baseball, the Toronto Blue Jays have become the forgotten team in the AL East, especially with this year’s resurgence of the Baltimore Orioles. However, that’s no longer the case after a blockbuster deal with the Miami Marlins has shaken up the Jays’ roster.

In the 10-player deal, Toronto received superstars Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle and also John Buck and Emilio Bonifacio. Going to the Marlins are Henderson Alvarez, Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria, Justin Nicolino, Jake Marisnick and Anthony DeSclafani.

Emilio Bonifacio (Photo by Jonathan Leshanski)

Emilio Bonifacio (Photo by Jonathan Leshanski)

The Marlins are clearly going through another fire sale, having already traded Heath Bell. It’s amazing that they brought in so much payroll last offseason and are now going in a completely different direction.

But as for the Blue Jays, they have adopted a “win now” mentality as they attempt to compete with Yankees, Orioles, Rays and Red Sox in a tough division.

Looking at the roster, the team already had a few major pieces before the trade. Obviously, slugger Jose Bautista will be a staple in the middle of the lineup and Edwin Encarnacion is coming off a 42 home run season, but Brett Lawrie, Colby Rasmus, Adam Lind and J.P. Arencibia are all solid players.

Having Reyes and Bonifacio atop the batting order will create a ton of scoring opportunities for Bautista and Encarnacion, which will in turn lead to guys like Lawrie and Lind seeing great pitches.

Pitching wise, the Jays add two front line starters to go along with Brandon Morrow and Ricky Romero. Of course, Johnson needs to stay healthy, but if so, this has the makings of a top-notch rotation.

Before we proclaim the Blue Jays as the AL East champions, keep in mind that these former Marlins players led the team to a last place finish in the NL East. It wasn’t just their fault, but it’s not like the Blue Jays have acquired players with championship resumes, other than Buerhle who won the World Series with the Chicago White Sox in 2005.

However, the Blue Jays likely aren’t done dealing. The team now has a surplus at catcher and would still like to acquire a left fielder to upgrade over Rajai Davis.

The thing about this blockbuster deal is that it really came out of nowhere. There weren’t any rumblings about the Blue Jays making a major splash or the Marlins shedding the bulk of their payroll.

Being second-class citizens no longer suits the Jays, so they’re going all in for 2013. Now the team just needs to find a manager to lead this star-studded bunch.

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