said by HiVolt:
I can't say I'm too impressed with AA's off season doings so far..
He signs a 41 year old reliever (Oliver) and another reliever who's yet to make any real impact (Santos)...
Oliver is a fantastic reliever. But you need to remove his starter days. His last couple years as short relief in Texas? He's been nothing short of great.
The only reason Santos "has yet to make any real impact" is because he played for a sub-.500 White Sox team. The truth is, he strikes out A LOT of guys. Last year he struck out 13.1 players per 9 innings. In the AL East, that's what you need for a closer. People like to shit on BJ Ryan because of his contract and what happened at the end, but they always forget his first season as a Jay. BJ Ryan was a monster that first season. He had 38 saves in 42 tries and struck out 89 in 72.1 innings (11.1 K/9). He was nearly unhittable. Then he had his Tommy John surgery and that was that. I'm not going to defend year 2-5, because it just wasn't good. But 2006? No one can say he wasn't a premiere closer.
Could Santos flop? Sure. Anyone can when playing the AL East elite as much as the Jays do. But this guy has lights out talent AND he only costs a $1m, plus he's controllable for another 3 years.
Here's the way I see the 2012 Blue Jays. Am I as optimistic as Arencibia? No.
I think this team has all the tools to play with the best in the AL East, but will they all put it together this year? Who knows.
Let's go around the Diamond...
1B: Lind is a good player. He had a dominant start and got hurt, and never seem to get in the groove again. Who knows what will happen this year. If they pull off the unspeakable and sign Fielder, now we are talking.
2B: Johnson is an offensive upgrade over Hill and a Defensive wash. So this position is better.
3B: Lawrie is miles better than the hole that was 3rd for most of the season last year. Encarnacion, McCoy, Macdonald... No one can argue MacDonald's glove, but he is just relatively bad at the plate. Improved, assuming Lawrie can avoid an extended sophomore slump.
SS: Escobar again, but another year of experience. Solid position. Great defense and very competent lead off man.
RF: Jose Bautista. One of the best outfielder's in the game and arguable the best hitter in the league the last 2 years.
CF: Colby Rasmus: Upgrade over Rajai Davis/Cory Patterson in EVERY way except Davis' speed.
LF: Questionable. Can Snider finally figure it out at the plate? He's good enough in the field. Thames? I think if Snider can play to his talent, Thames is a downgrade. Thames has Ok Defense, and an OK bat. This position is a question.
C: Another year of Arencibia. Hopefully he can remember how to hit properly. Not great defensibly, but has great offensive potential but he struggle last year. Mathis will be a solid backup & mentor. Also on the 40 man roster is Travis D'Arnaud who has the potential to be a top flight elite catcher down the road.
SP: Romero emerged as one of the best pitchers in the AL last year. Morrow at the end of the year really started locking it down. McGowan if he avoids injuries is another power arm who did pretty well to end the year. Cecil I think is a good 4th or 5th starter but he had a rough year. Perez pitched well when needed. Henderson Alvarez did great to end the year. Drabek has the tools to be a good pitcher, but he needs to figure it out. Overall, this could be the biggest question mark, it could also be a strength. Romero and Morrow are locks; The rest are up in the air.
RP: I have a lot of faith in Janssen, Carreno, Frasor, Oliver & Villaneuva. I think Litsch is a far more effective reliever than he is starting pitcher. Santos, I think, could be great. I'd argue this could be our biggest strength this year.
So how does it compare to the AL East? Tough to say. If it all comes together, they can compete. But the Red Sox are still a team, despite there hilariously terrible September, that is built well. But they have to go through some cultural changes with a new GM and new Manager. NY still has a stacked roster. TB doesn't seem to have changed too much. Could be another long season, but it could be one where we are watching exciting, meaningful baseball in September.