Blue Jays selling hope after disastrous season

All the bold moves general manager Alex Anthopoulos pulled off last year made the Toronto Blue Jays one of the big winners of the offseason. We all know what that meant once the real games were played -- a resounding flop.

The response was an offseason of really not much. The Blue Jays shed a couple of non-performers in right-handed starter Josh Johnson and catcher J.P. Arencibia. They added a No. 1 catcher in Dioner Navarro, who hasn't been a No. 1 catcher for a few years, as their big move.

That doesn't mean there won't be more moves, perhaps at spring training or maybe during the season.

"If something presented itself, we'd love to do it," Anthopoulos said. "We just haven't been able to find anything that works for us."

But the fans, the paying customers, are restless and understandably so after feeling let down so badly last season.

It's never a good idea to build on hope but that's about all the Blue Jays can offer at this stage.

They must hope that they will avoid the mass of injuries that devastated them last season. They must hope that some of their young pitchers are ready for possible major league service. They must hope that the players who were limited by injuries last season have healed and are ready to contribute to expectations.

"With the information we had, we felt good about the process," Anthopoulos said of last year's moves. "Now, in hindsight, guys getting hurt, if we had known, obviously that would change things. But from a process standpoint we did everything we could have possibly done: MRIs, makeup of players, things like that. It happens. Whether it's Brett Lawrie (injuring an oblique) at the World Baseball Classic, or (Jose) Reyes sliding into second base, or (Jose) Bautista stepping on home plate, we had a lot of freak-type things. We didn't actually have any Tommy Johns. The year before, in 2012, we did and we tweaked some things."

The Blue Jays were considered good enough to contend last year when they opened spring training and most of that team returned. They most hope -- there's that word again -- that this season that talent performs to expectations.

"I think we can all agree there's a lot of talent on this team," Anthopoulos said. "The bullpen should be a strength. It's very deep. We still think the offense will be above average in the American League and the rotation has a bunch of guys who are proven, plus a bunch that aren't proven but are very talented and certainly could emerge."

Anthopoulos knows there is discontent among the team's followers.

"I understand that," he said. "And look, we did a ton of action last year, and that's why for me to sit here and try to make promises or try to quote, unquote sell something. ... we're going to find out soon enough, we're going to play the games and all that kind of stuff. We'll see. I wouldn't say I feel good about some of the young guys we have if I didn't believe it, because I understand I'll get asked about it two months from now."

Hope after a 74-win season when much more was expected is a tough sell.

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