training camp draws closer. "The closer it

training camp draws closer. "The closer it

Postprzez xsw96 » Śr kwi 04, 2018 9:50 am

Its tough enough for the Blue Jays to be playing in the American League East to get even a sniff of the postseason. Then youve got to worry about the other up and coming teams in the two weaker divisions in the "Junior Circuit". If you had to peg one team whom the Blue Jays will have to reckon with in 2014, it would be Kansas City. The Royals finished with an 86-76 record a year ago and missed the playoffs. However that record was 12 games better than the Jays 74-88. One bad month really cost KC a spot in the playoffs a year ago. They went 8-20 in May. Every other month, they were over .500 including 17-10 in September. Kansas City scuffled a bit to score runs in 2013 averaging four per game, but the Blue Jays werent all that much better at 4.40 runs per game. The big difference was in runs allowed by the starting rotation and the bullpen. The Royals starters had an ERA of 3.87 to the Blue Jays 4.81 which was well above the American League average of 4.17. As highly touted as the Blue Jays bullpen was, its ERA of 3.37 was no match for the Royals 2.55. This is in part because of the Royals spacier ballpark, but KC only gave up 155 home runs over the course of the season to the Jays ugly total of 195. If you want to talk team speed, the Blue Jays stole 112 bases, which was better than the league average of 95, but the Royals were even better swiping 153. You could argue the Royals will be even better in 2014. Although they lost Ervin Santana as a free agent, they added durable lefty and former Angel Jason Vargas to plug into the rotation. They also have an elite closer in Greg Holland who saved 47 out of 50 a year ago and a workhorse starter to lead the rotation in James Shields, who through 228.2 innings last season. The Royals also upgraded at second base and right field. They filled a major hole at the keystone by signing former Tiger Omar Infante to a four-year deal worth $30.25 million and traded for speedy right fielder Norichika Aoki, who will take over as their leadoff hitter. KCs secret weapon might just be 22-year-old right-hander Yordano Ventura. Though only 511", he throws consistantly in high 90s and has been known to hit between 100 and 102mph on occasion. Hes already earned a spot in skipper Ned Yosts rotation and is being touted as one of the top candidates for rookie of the year. Since Pittsburgh made the playoffs last season, Kansas City and the Blue Jays are the two teams that have gone the longest between post-season appearances. The Royals havent made it since they won the World Series over St. Louis in 1985. The Blue Jays of course, havent made it since winning their second straight World Series in 1993. The Blue Jays play the Royals seven times this season, from April 29 through May 1 in Missouri and then back in Toronto from May 29 through June 1. Those are seven games of their first 58 that could well prove whether the Jays are good enough to contend for a Wild Card spot, or which team of these two will wind up with the longest postseason drought when the 2014 season is all said and done. Around Spring Training Injuries turned right-hander Josh Johnson into arguably the biggest disappointment of the Blue Jays season a year ago. Unfortunately his luck hasnt changed much in San Diego. The 30-year-old right-hander is going to be out 4-to-5 weeks with a strained right forearm. Tough blow for the Texas Rangers. Their young second baseman Jurickson Profar is out 10 to 12 weeks with a slight muscle tear in his right shoulder. Profar was expected to shoulder the load at second since Ian Kinsler was dealt to Detroit as part of the Prince Fielder deal. Profar hasnt proven himself as a big league hitter yet, but his glove and arm are world class. Yes, its only spring training, but the Yankees have got to be a bit concerned that Derek Jeter is only hitting .114 and Mark Teixiera only .120. Great to see David Ortiz is probably going to end his career in Boston. After all hes been pretty much the face of the franchise for the last 10 years. Ortiz agreed over the weekend to a one-year, $15 million extension for 2015. He also has a vesting option for 2016 and there is a club option for 2017 by which time Ortiz will be 42 years old. Erik Bedard is looking for new gig. The 35-year-old southpaw and native of Navan, Ontario opted out of his deal with Tampa Bay after the fifth starters job went to 24-year-old Jake Odorizzi. Bedard just didnt want to go back to Triple-A at this stage of his career. Experienced Help We mentioned a couple of articles ago that a former Blue Jays third baseman, Roy Howell, was managing in Triple-A this season at Tacoma. Now another Ex-Jay, Tom Lawless, has taken over as interim manager at Oklahoma City in the Pacific Coast League. Lawless will be filling in for Ton DeFrancesco who was diagnosed with cancer while working in the parent Astros camp this spring. DeFrancescos cancer was caught early enough that he is expected to make a full recovery. Jamon Brown Jersey . Pospisil, whose season-ending goal is to improve his ATP Tour ranking enough to qualify for one of the 32 seedings at Januarys Australian Open, dominated Karlovic in 59 minutes. The world No. 40 never faced a break point and limited the big mans threatening ace count to a mere eight, while striking five key aces of his own. Greg Zuerlein Jersey .Gasol had 16 points and 13 rebounds, and the Bulls beat the winless Orlando Magic 98-90 on Tuesday night.Jimmy Butler led the Bulls with 21 points and Taj Gibson added 16 for Chicago, which finally pulled away in the final minutes of a game that was tied after three quarters. http://www.authenticramsfansclub.com/Bl ... ersey/.com) - The top spot in the AFC South will be on the line when Houston native Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts shoot for their fourth straight win when they take on the Texans at NRG Stadium. Sean Mannion Jersey .Y. -- The Montreal Canadiens have had few reasons to celebrate this season as they have been mired near the basement of the Eastern Conference. Tyler Higbee Jersey . -- Athletics manager Bob Melvin is already starting to run out of superlatives to describe Scott Kazmir.Restricted free agent centre Nazem Kadri is still in a holding pattern in contract talks with the Toronto Maple Leafs and the 22-year-old centre may be feeling the pinch. Working out at the teams practice facility in Mississauga on Tuesday, Kadri told reporters that talks over a new deal are weighing heavier on his mind as training camp draws closer. "The closer it comes to training camp, it becomes more and more of a distraction," Kadri said. "That said, Im being more than reasonable. Right now, its their decision to make." Kadri, who had no arbitration rights after completing his entry-level deal in June, was second in team scoring with 44 points in 48 games last season. The Maple Leafs have been at a standstill with Kadri and fellow RFA Cody Franson as both players could be seeking bigger contracts while the team has just undder $5 million in cap space.dddddddddddd By comparison, Carolinas Jeff Skinner, New York Islanders centre John Tavares and Edmontons Taylor Hall landed big contracts out of their entry-level deals and Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog got one last week - a seven-year $39 million contract extension. "I know Im being pretty reasonable, taking all that cap into consideration when really, thats not my job," told reporters. "I did my work over these past three years. I did exactly what they told me, trying to be the player they want me to be. I think Im well on my way. "Ive got 100 games in this league. I dont think thats a little. I understand youve got to play 82 games. Im becoming more mature and every year its getting easier." Files from The Toronto Star and Toronto Sun were used for this report. 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