Feb 5, 2014, 4:10 PM EDT
2013 record: 74-88, 5th place in AL East
Manager: John Gibbons, 7th season
Estimated 2014 payroll: $135 million
Key additions: C Erik Kratz, IF Brent Morel, C Dioner Navarro
Key losses: SP Josh Johnson, RP Darren Oliver, OF Rajai Davis, C J.P. Arencibia, IF/OF Mark DeRosa
SS Jose Reyes
RF Jose Bautista
1B Edwin Encarnacion
DH Adam Lind
CF Colby Rasmus
LF Melky Cabrera
3B Brett Lawrie
C Dioner Navarro
2B Ryan Goins
RHP R.A. Dickey
LHP Mark Buehrle
RHP Brandon Morrow
LHP J.A. Happ
RHP Kyle Drabek
CL Casey Janssen
RHP Sergio Santos
RHP Steve Delabar
Biggest questions entering 2014
1. Can R.A. Dickey become the guy they traded for? Last offseason the Blue Jays shipped a group of players – including top prospects Noah Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud – for 2012 NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey. Unfortunately for Toronto, Dickey was ineffective and finished with a 4.21 ERA in 224 2/3 innings. This year his $12 million salary kicks in, putting extra pressure on him to live up the trade and subsequent deal he signed. Can Dickey rebound? If he doesn’t, it will be hard for the Blue Jays to keep up in the AL East.
2. Will Brett Lawrie reach his potential? Brett Lawrie showed promise in 2011 and 2012, suggesting he was a rising star in MLB. Then 2013 happened where he took a step back after dealing with injuries. This year will be his age 24 season and it figures to be a big one for the British Colombia native. Will Lawrie get back on the track to stardom, or will he continue to make a minimal impact at the plate? He was a very good hitter in the minors, so odds are he keeps improving and has a big year.
3. Will Aaron Sanchez debut this season? The Blue Jays have a decent rotation on paper, but if the group above performs like they did in 2013, Toronto is in trouble. Consider their competition in the AL East and the fact their rotation posted the second worst total ERA in the majors (4.81), and it’s clear the Blue Jays will need something better from their starters. Luckily for them, they have three starting pitchers considered among the best prospects in baseball (by MLB.com). Atop that list is 21-year-old Aaron Sanchez, the 23rd overall prospect. The right-hander has a career ERA of 3.34 in four minor league seasons. He has yet to pitch above Single-A, but could be ready to debut some time this season if all goes well. Perhaps he can provide a boost to the Blue Jays’ staff.
NL EAST STANDINGS
THU: Diamondbacks at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
FRI: Giants at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Giants at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Giants at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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