It's not easy playing in the AL East. Since 2006, the Toronto Blue Jays have won 87, 86 and 85 games in various seasons; if they'd been in the AL Central, maybe they would have won a division title somewhere in there.
But not in the AL East, which means the Blue Jays are one of the franchises that should be happiest about the addition of a second wild-card team. Suddenly their playoff hopes are drastically improved.
Toronto went 81-81 in 2011, scoring 743 runs while allowing 761.
The one major addition in the offseason was acquiring closer Sergio Santos from the White Sox, but the biggest additions will be full seasons from third baseman Brett Lawrie, center fielder Colby Rasmus and starter Henderson Alvarez. The rotation will also be relying on improvement from Brandon Morrow. He led the AL in strikeouts per nine innings last season but posted a disappointing 4.72 ERA. He needs to pitch better with runners on base and go deeper into games. If he develops into a solid No. 2 behind Ricky Romero, the Jays could be surprise wild-card contenders.
What do you think? Some believe the Jays are a year or two away, as they wait for some of their minor league talent to reach the majors. The oddsmakers aren't predicting much improvement, setting the Jays' over/under at 81.5 wins.