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Jose Bautista’s 10 Biggest Threats to the A.L Home Run Title

It is impressive to me that Jose Bautista has the most home runs in the American League over the past three seasons all while missing nearly half of last season (70 games). Bautista is definitely the leader among the home run title hopefuls, especially in the American League—but there are some who could challenge Jose for this crown.

One of his biggest competitors over the past few seasons however has been injured all season and is still weeks away from playing for the New York Yankees. With Curtis Granderson out for the next while, Bautista should have a big enough lead in the home run category that Grandy won’t be able to catch up.

Here are the 10 biggest threats to Jose Bautista recapturing his AL Home Run Title.

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Each Toronto Blue Jays Starting Player’s Biggest Strength

As many of us know, the Toronto Blue Jays have lofty expectations this season. Whether it be from the odds in Vegas to the chatter around the league to the success-starved fans, everyone agrees that the Blue Jays should make the playoffs this season.

With many fair-weather fans joining the fray in Toronto, it would help to give them a little more information about the team, especially regarding the new players on the squad.

This piece will look at all of the starting offensive players and discuss their main strengths and what they bring to the Blue Jays.

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Toronto Blue Jays: 5 Biggest Spring Training Busts of 2013

It really depends on who you talk to when the topic is Spring Training.

Many believe that it means nothing. Many believe it can be a sign of things to come.

Many believe that they don’t know what to believe.

Spring training to me is completely unique to the player. There are some players who always struggle in spring training only to come out and have a great year. For example, Tim Lincecum has a career 5.59 spring training ERA.

However, for many players it is indicative of the season they are going to have. Many players had a strong spring and continued it on throughout the regular season.

Let us put it into the context of the Blue Jays.

This article looks at the five Blue Jays who really had a terrible spring.

Let’s get after it.

NOTE: I define a bust as someone who did not come close to meeting expectations and as a result it could negatively impact their projected place on the team. For example, I don’t consider Dickey’s 9.00 spring training ERA to be a bust because he is established and getting accustomed to his new team, let alone the fact that he has only pitched five innings.

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Toronto Blue Jays: Final Predictions for Every Spring Training Position Battle

The Toronto Blue Jays have some of the biggest question marks in regard to positional battles. With such an influx of talent, many opening day jobs are up for grabs. But with such a vast amount of assets, it will be tough to sit a very skilled player. As my father would always say, “It is a good problem to have”.

So who gets the nod?

Manager John Gibbons has always been a player’s coach and I believe that he had an idea of what he wanted his team to look like before spring training started. He understands that spring training is for veterans to get out the kinks and perhaps work on a new pitch or evolving their offensive game—perhaps with a new stride or hitting the ball the other way. That being said, it is hard to discount the numbers of some players this spring.

We will outline the major positional battles and let you know who we at B/R believe will win out.

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Closer Update: Are the Blue Jays Waiting out Madson To Lower His Price Tag?

With Heath Bell signing for an impressively low 3-year, $27 million deal, it seems there aren’t many options left on the free-agent closer table.

Ryan Madson remains the front-runner among free-agent closers and many would think he would have been signed by now, with the Red Sox and Jays as the two main teams in search of a closer, perhaps the waiting game is going to wind down his price? 

Although the Red Sox lost Papelbon to the Phils this offseason, they do have a bona fide capable closer on their team in Josh Bard. He has been seen as the closer in waiting for the Sox for quite some time. Perhaps the Sox don’t need a closer after all

If that is the case, perhaps it is in A.A.’s best interest to wait out the market, especially for Madson, to make him and his agent sweat a bit to lower the terms of a possible contract. 

Especially with the Winter Meetings on the horizon it would make sense for A.A. to see if he can grab Street or Bailey (two of who he has shown interest in acquiring) rather than pay a hefty price in free agency for Madson.

Maybe A.A. is a little worried about making a big free-agency splash for a closer considering what fans remember with B.J Ryan.

Bell’s contract actually helps the Jays, believe it or not. With Bell signing a deal of $9 million per, it would be tough for Madson to try and ask for more than that considering he has only closed for one season in Philadelphia, whereas Bell is the only closer in the league to put up 40-plus saves in the past three seasons.This would lower Madson’s price and his ability to seek a double-digit yearly salary.

Bailey and Street remain solid trade rumours as many have already discussed these possibilities. Personally, I would love to grab Bailey, not so much Street.

The Winter Meetings could also land the Jays a 2B. With Johnson as good as gone with his Type A Free Agency, perhaps 2B could be a top priority during this time.

As stated in my previous piece, we will keep you updated on all Jays developments during the WM.

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