Blue Jays Questions, And, Maybe, Some Answers

Tom Szczerbowski

We try to answer the Blue Jays pre-spring training questions.

Scott Ferguson, over at TSN.ca has some questions that the Blue Jays have to answer this spring. They are likely as good as any set of questions about the Jays, though I'm sure we could come up with a dozen different questions about the Jays that are just as good.

I thought we'd take a run at the answers.

1. How will John Gibbons fit in during his second time around as manager?

Fine. Next question.

No, honest, Gibbons, It's not his first rodeo, he knows how to manage. We might disagree with some things he does but at least he won't be pining for job with another team.

2. Who will win the second base job -- Maicer Izturis or Emilio Bonafacio?

Yeah it is a question, but either one will do a better job than Kelly Johnson did last year. I'd imagine both of them will get some playing time. I kind of thing there is more offensive potential in Bonafacio, but Izturis would be better defensively.

I don't think having two decent second basemen is a worry, there is a question about who will be the one that plays the position but it isn't a question in the 'oh my God, what are they going to do' way.

3. Will Ricky Romero bounce back and be the starter he was in 2011?

Oh, I think that is asking a bit much. I'm sure he'll be better than last year. Sort of sure. Well, let's say hopeful that he'll be better than last year. An ERA in the mid 4's would be a step in the right direction, and, with our offense, should get us a lot of wins.

I don't know what happened with him last year, I'm guessing he doesn't know either. On the positive side, most players have a bad season at some point in their career, maybe Ricky got it out of his system last year.

4. Will RHP Josh Johnson return to the All-Star form he displayed a couple of seasons ago?

Last year, Josh finished the season well. He did have big home/road splits (2,96 ERA at home, 4.94 on the road), that's sort of worrying but he's a good pitcher, he'll do well. I'm really not all that worried about him making the All-Star team, I figure we'll have enough people going, but I think he'll be good.

5. Will Sergio Santos reclaim the closer's job from Casey Janssen?

Not off the start of the season, I think Casey has earned the right to keep the job, at least to start the season. At some point I'd expect Santos to become the closer but maybe not this year, but sooner or later. Casey was great, no reason to change things.

6. Will shortstop Jose Reyes stay healthy playing on articial turf?

Oh I hope so. I'd like Gibbons to give him a day at DH, now and then, especially at home, but I'd like to think he'll not have too much for troubles. He played 160 games, last year.

The new turf isn't as hard as the old stuff. It's not grass, but isn't as much like playing on thinly carpeted concrete.

Every year I, rather randomly, pick a player's stats that I figure will be the difference between a good season and a bad season for the team. This year it is Reyes. I figure if Reyes scores 100+ runs, thing will go well, if not, not so much. 100+ runs for him means he's getting on base a bunch and the guys behind him are hitting.

I know, 100+ really doesn't mean all that much for the team, and we can have a good season if he doesn't score that many, but I have to have my fun.

7. With Darren Oliver returning, which other lefties will find jobs in the bullpen, amongst Brett Cecil, Aaron Loup, and Evan Crawford?

Well, it won't be Crawford. As much as Loup did a good job last year, he came out of no where (well, Double-A), he has options, Did anyone think Loup would be part of our bullpen at this time last year? I'm sure we'll see Loup at some point, but Cecil will get every chance to take the job.

8. Will Brett Lawrie regain the power stroke he had late in the 2012 season?

He hit 9 home runs in 150 at bats in his his time with Toronto in 2012. If he were to be healthy and get 600 at bats, the same rater would work out to 36 home runs, he won't get that. I'd like to see him get around 20. Maybe one day he'll get back to the .580 slugging average he put up in those first 150 at bats, but I wouldn't expect it to be this year.

9. Is Jose Bautista's wrist well enough to make him one of the great power hitters again?

Sure. He might start slow, he started slow last year (slow is an understatement, he hit .181 with 3 home runs in April), and, if he does, people will be blaming the wrist. By the end of the season he'll have plenty of home runs and we'll all be happy.

10. Will Colby Rasmus, ever become the great 5-tool player the Jays expected him to be when they aquired him from St.Louis?

5-tool? No he won't steal a lot of bases, so 5-tool is likely out of the question. Last year he hit .259/.328/.494 with 17 home runs. The second half was a train wreck. Nagging injuries and, likely, waning interest, when the team when south, I think he had a harder time keep the concentration level up. I'd imagine that drawing a large pay would keep me concentrating no matter how the rest of the team is doing but different people have different motivations.

Hopefully, this year, the team does well, and Gibbons gives him enough time off to cut down on the nagging little injuries, and Rasmus plays well all season.

I'm an optimist.

11. What effect will having seven players away at the World Baseball Classic have on the bonding and preperation of this team?

Bonding? Spring training is too long anyway, they will bond fine. I'd worry about Dickey throwing extra pitches so early, if he wasn't a knuckleball pitcher. If they win they will bond. If they don't win, someone will decide it was because of some lack of team chemisty.

I'm more worried that someone will get injured playing in the WBC.

Take a run at your answers to these questions.

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