The Toronto Blue Jays have grabbed the headlines this off-season with the pending trade that would land them Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes, John Buck, and Emilio Bonafacio and now the announcement that they have signed free agent Melky Cabrera to a two-year, $16 million deal.
On paper these moves make the Blue Jays better. However, these moves are not without risk.
Mark Buehrle has experience in the American League, having spent all but one year of his career with the Chicago White Sox. However, he owns a 7-16 record and 5.27 ERA against the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, teams he will now have to face on a regular basis.
Josh Johnson is an excellent pitcher, but his health history has been holding him back from being considered an elite pitcher. Elbow issues and shoulder inflammation have been recurring issues with Johnson.
Jose Reyes has been one of the best shortstops in the game over the last few years. However, as any New York Mets fans can tell you, his hamstring injuries have been frustrating. Now, Reyes will be playing 81 games on turf and, although he has historically hit very well on turf, it will probably take a toll on his body. If Reyes can keep his legs healthy he should be one of the best players in the game but that might be a gigantic IF, as the years progress.
Now, enter Melky Cabrera. Cabrera was easily having the best year of his career last year, having won the All-Star Game MVP, before being suspended for testing positive for PEDs. What player is Melky going to be? How much of his success is the result of his PED use?
Obviously, these moves should make the Blue Jays better. However, there are questions that need to be answered before they are anointed to the top of the AL East. The talent is there but now it all needs to come together, and getting a healthy year from Jose Bautista and a return to form from Adam Lind would be huge for the Blue Jays.