Game On: Blue Jays’ “Mission ’13” Set to Launch

Mission Control is set to count down from 10.  No more waiting, no more speculating, and no more talk about a clubs’ quality ‘on paper’.  The much-anticipated 2013 season is underway with Texas and AL-newbie Houston squaring off in what might become a great rivalry sometime in the future.  There’s legitimate interest in the game: it’s baseball; HOU is playing its first game as a part of the AL after 51 title-less years in the NL; and TEX has its work cut out to stay at or near the top of the AL West.  Other than that…meh.

Jays’ fans have their own reasons to salivate about the ’13 season, some of which we’ve covered over the last few months.  It’s been a long haul for Jays’ fans since the teams’ last playoff appearance.  That and the apparent decline of some of their AL East rivals, notably the Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, have led some to believe that this is one of those rare times when the door’s been thrown open; the Jays only need to walk through it.  An offseason of trades, free agent signings, and spring training prep have them poised to do just that.

Their opening day batting order projects as follows:

  1. SS Jose Reyes
  2. LF Melky Cabrera
  3. RF Jose Bautista
  4. 1B Edwin Encarnacion
  5. DH Adam Lind
  6. C JP Arencibia
  7. CF Colby Rasmus
  8. 2B Emilio Bonifacio
  9. 3B Maicer Izturis

Four of those players are new to the team, as is the starting pitcher, RA Dickey, who will be opposed by Justin Masterson and the Cleveland Indians.

The Blue Jays’ 25 man roster consists of the following:

Pitchers (13): Mark Buehrle; Josh Johnson; Brandon Morrow; RA Dickey; JA Happ; Brett Cecil; Casey Janssen; Steve Delabar; Jeremy Jeffress; Aaron Loup; Darren Oliver; Esmil Rogers; and Sergio Santos;

Position Players (12): JP Arencibia; Henry Blanco; Mark DeRosa; Adam Lind; Maicer Izturis; Jose Reyes; Jose Bautista; Emilio Bonifacio; Melky Cabrera; Rajai Davis; Colby Rasmus; and Edwin Encarnacion.

You will likely notice several things about the roster.  First, it’s very different from last season.  There are 13 roster players that have joined the Blue Jays since last July, making them ‘new’ additions.

Second, there’s no Ricky Romero.  He’s been sent to Dunedin (A) to work on pitching issues.  The spot in the rotation that he would have occupied (#5) was won by JA Happ in Spring Training.

Third, there’s no Brett Lawrie.  He’s starting the season on the 15-day DL.  I expect this to be a usual occurrence for Brett, given the way he plays the game and his apparent fragility.

The injuries and demotions highlight something already: they’re deep, talented, and experienced.  It’s a roster built to win now, as well as for the next couple of seasons.  No one’s going to give it to them, though: the Jays’ final 15 games of the season (9 @ Rogers; 6 on the road) are against AL East teams, and the final three are against Tampa.

After the intensely-frustrating, injury-riddled debacle of 2012, Farrell-gate, and 20 years of mediocrity or worse in Toronto, 7:07 pm EST on April 2, 2013 can’t come fast enough for me.  We should have a good idea what kind of team this will be since, by the end of April, they will have played AL East opponents 13 times (and 32 times by the end of May).  “Ground control to Major Tom: commencing countdown, engines on…”  Bring it!

Wes Kepstro


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