This month, at Yanks Go Yard, we wanted to see how the rest of the AL East bloggers here at Fansided feel about what their team did in the offseason and a look ahead to the 2012 season as pitchers + catchers will report to Spring Training in just over a week. Today, we talked with Scott Barber from JaysJournal. com to find out his take on the Toronto Blue Jays. Are they ready to contend in the AL East in 2012 and who will be their rising stars to watch this season?
1. On a scale of 1-10, how happy are you with the Blue Jays’ moves this offseason? Is there anything they could have done better?
Scott: 7/10 I may be on an island with this one, but I like what the Jays did this offseason. Alex Anthopoulos and company stayed the course so to speak and will get to see how the young core develops in 2012 (Brett Lawrie, Colby Rasmus, Brandon Morrow, Travis Snider/Eric Thames etc.). The club did a good job adding to the bullpen, while maintaining the payroll flexibility to add free agents next winter if the team continues to improve.
S: Bautista crushed more jacks than either Pujols or Fielder in 2010-11, don’t see why he won’t do it against next season. I think Fielder’s power may take a bit of a hit with the move to Comerica.
3. Since we know the Blue Jays can swing the bat, which young superstar will have the better 2012: Brett Lawrie or J.P Arencibia?
S: This one is easy: Brett Lawrie. Arencibia will hit more HR’s, but he is nowhere near Lawrie in terms of being an all-round hitter. JPA is terrible at getting on base, and I don’t think that is going to improve a whole lot in 2012.
4. With the additions of Sergio Santos, Francisco Cordero, and Darren Oliver to the bullpen, how improved will Toronto be in the late innings and can it help to settle down their young starting pitching?
S: . The bullpen is better, no doubt. Santos misses bats like crazy, and Oliver has been dominant against lefty’s over the last few seasons. It’ll take a bit of pressure of the rotation I guess, and it’ll take even more pressure off my viewing experience (the Jays had 25 blown saves in 2011).
5. If the MLB does institute the 2nd wild card spot this year, how big a chance do you give the Blue Jays of contending in the 2012 season?
S: I don’t think the Jays are up to par with the Yankees, Red Sox or Rays… yet. They have a fantastic farm system and some decent young big league talent though, and should be a serious contender in 2013 and beyond.
6. I won’t hold you to this, but where do you see Toronto finishing in the East as of right now? Can they be an over .500 ballclub?
S: I think they’ll be better than they were last year (81-81). With between 82-86 wins I think the Jays are primed for another 4th place finish in the AL East.