Mar 24, 2013 at 2:29 pm
Fort Myers, Fla. (KNSI) - As the Toronto Blue Jays get set to remember the 20th anniversary of their 1993 World Series Championship, their fan base has very little recent success to fondly remember. Meanwhile, sustained success is still vivid in the hearts of Twins fans, despite back to back 90 loss seasons. This year both franchises are hoping to take a steps forward to success.
Both teams however have taken notably different approaches. The Twins, hoping for the emergence of low profile arms and the return to form of once formidable stars. Meanwhile the Jays revamped their team by making a splash in the off-season, in hopes of competing in an AL East that may for the first time in a long time be wide open.
The Twins moves have been documented. Improvement by numbers in the pitching staff and reliance on the youth and built around two of the big names of the era. Guys like Trevor Plouffe, Brian Dozier and Chris Parmalee, all with MLB experience will have to find consistency to set the table for the heart of the order. The 3-5 spots are made up of a healthy Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, along with Josh Willingham, the steadiest offensive producer from a year ago. MLB veteran starters Kevin Correia, Mike Pelfrey and Vance Worley are expected to steady the starting rotation.
This offseason the Blue Jays pulled off a giant block-buster bringing short-stop Jose Reyes, catcher John Buck, utility man Emilio Bonifacio and pitchers Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle over from the Miami Marlins. Throw in a late-offseason deal for R.A. Dickey, a flyer signing on the maligned Melky Cabrerra and fans of any other organization have reason to be jealous of how pro-active the Jays management has been.
But will it work? Jays cans can only hope. Since winning the World Series in 1993 the Blue Jays have pieced together 7 winning seasons. But over that time they finished above 3rd place just once(2006: 87-75, 10GB), and closer than 10 games out of first place in the AL East just one time as well(2000: 83-79, 4.5GB, 3rd). Clearly much of the issue lies in the fact the last decade or so in the East was dominated by the Yankees and Red Sox, then the upstart Rays were added to the mix.
Big money and big headlines, or big reliance on youth and veteran big league arms. Both approaches are represented on the field at Hammond today. Only a long long summer though will tell which approach will pay bigger dividends and which fan base can rejoice in success re-gained.
KNSI's coverage of Twins Spring Training, directly from Fort Myers is brought to you by Foley Lumber and Milaca Building Center, Jackson Hewitt, Bristow's and New York Gyro.
Temp: 56°F (13°C)
Wind: 4 NE