By David Conde

When the Toronto Blue Jays made their off season acquisitions, the hope was that the moves would put them into contention to compete for the American League East Crown.  With the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox being picked early to not have successful seasons, the Blue Jays hoped to capitalize and steal the division.

In the off-season the Blue Jays signed a bunch of Free Agents, but most notably 3B Mark DeRosa, SS Maicer Izturis, and OF Melky Cabrera.  In an effort to bring more talent to their team, they completed a trade with the Miami Marlins by bringing in SS Jose Reyes, pitchers Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson, catcher John Buck and utility player Emilio Bonafacio.  Not done yet with their overhaul, they made an additional trade with the New York Mets and sent catcher Buck with a few top prospects which included catcher Travis D’Arnaud in return for the 2012 Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey and catchers Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas.  A huge change from their 2012 team with the hopes that the new talent along with returning stars Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind would give them a much better opportunity for a championship season.  These kind of signings and dealings resembled the 2012 Marlins who brought in big names as well, but by the all star break were ready to ship them all away because the team just didn’t play as well as expected.

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So the hope in Toronto was that management would give these players a chance to gel and build chemistry and win.  Well the season did not start off as planned with the team not playing well in April and finishing the month at 10-17 and in last place in the AL East.   The month of May didn’t seem to be much better and the team struggled to find their identity and couldn’t climb out of the cellar and finished the month at 23-32.

In the first two months of the season the Blue Jays were plagued by injuries and key players just not playing up to their potential.  But June would turn the calendar and it seemed finally that the team would get back on track. They posted a 17-9 record in June with an 11 game win streak squeezed in the middle of the month. And this streak was without Jose Reyes in their lineup because of a leg injury he suffered while sliding into second base, which forced him to the disabled list from April 12 – June 26.

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Coming into July and coming off a good month of baseball in June the Blue Jays have their weapons back and hope to continue to play good baseball.  With the All Star break less than a week away, they sit at 44-47, 11 games out of first and 7.5 games out of the two the Wild Card spots. It may seem very unlikely for them to make up enough ground to be in playoff contention, but crazier things have happened in the game of baseball and they are still within striking distance if they can put together another run in the second half.  The team has gone through some adversity, but do not seem the worse for wear because of it.  All they need is a strong July and August and they may be able to gain the  momentum that management hoped the acquisitions would generate.

David Conde

I have followed baseball all my life, love the game and have a passion to write about it. You can also follow me at Metsmerizedonline.com and on twitter @DAConde24

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