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MLB Toronto Blue Jays

Predicting the Toronto Blue Jays’ 2014 Opening Day Lineup

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Toronto Blue Jays Opening Day Lineup

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Although the Toronto Blue Jays have not made the playoffs in almost two decades, expectations were high for the team going into 2013. Big-name hitters and splashy free agent pitcher signings were made that brought guys north of the border. As a result, hopes for a division title pennant were high. General manager Alex Anthopoulos expected nothing less.

All hopes of a great season pretty much collapsed right away for the team. A new lineup card was brought to the plate each day as injuries piled up and the big-name free agent pitchers all fared poorly. Their 74-88 record last season was only one more victory than they had the season before. Therefore, the team really needs a new start and to do something different than what they've done recently.

Of course, playing in the AL East means that anyone can surprise; the Boston Red Sox came on strong at the end of last season and carried their momentum to the World Series, so there is definitely a chance that the Blue Jays can do the same. Certainly, the expectations for the Blue Jays are much, much lower than last year; in fact, there probably are no expectations for success coming into this season for the team. The team should probably just hope that they can break the 74-win barrier from last year. They're only certain to finish last in a very tough division.

Let's take a look at the opening day hitters who will take swings at hitter-friendly Rogers Centre.

Percy Chao is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @PercyChao, "Like" him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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1. SS Jose Reyes

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Jose Reyes, whose career is now marred by always being injury-prone, needs to prove that he can stay on the field this year.

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2. LF Melky Cabrera

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Melky Cabrera looks to improve this year after apparently playing the 2013 season with a nagging back tumor.

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3. RF Jose Bautista

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

A power hitter, Jose Bautista's slugging percentage and batting average have decreased each of the last three seasons.

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4. 1B Edwin Encarnacion

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Edwin Encarnacion is a budding star that no one is paying attention. Really, he's that good.

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5. 3B Brett Lawrie

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Brett Lawrie is a good defender but needs to improve with his bat.

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6. DH Adam Lind

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Adam Lind had a solid bounce-back season last year.

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7. CF Colby Rasmus

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Colby Rasmus improved last season until injuries late in the season took away much of his growth.

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8. C Dioner Navarro

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Dioner Navarro has played for five different teams in the last five seasons.

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9. 2B Ryan Goins

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Goins will compete with Maicer Izturis for the starting second base job.