Melky Cabrera to Blue Jays: Toronto Must Be Considered World Series Contenders

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistNovember 18, 2012

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 03:  Melky Cabrera #53 of the San Francisco Giants pauses at second base after doubling against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on August 3, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Giants defeated the Rockies 16-4.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Do you guys remember Supermarket Sweep, where contestants would have a certain amount of time to run around a store and pack their carts full of as many items as possible, and the contestant who had the highest dollar amount in the cart would win?

Because that's what this offseason has been like for the Toronto Blue Jays

It wasn't enough that they landed Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, John Buck and Emilio Bonifacio in a much-maligned trade with the Miami "We Hate Our Fans" Marlins. No, on Friday the Blue Jays had to go and sign Melky Cabrera to a two-year, $16 million deal. 

After these two moves, we have to consider them very serious World Series contenders next season. And we also have to acknowledge that the Blue Jays aren't afraid to take controversial steps to ensure they get there.

While you can't blame the Blue Jays for openly accepting all of the Marlins best players not named Giancarlo Stanton, signing Cabrera is obviously a huge risk after he tested positive for testosterone and was suspended 50 games this past season.

But Cabrera was hitting .346 with 11 home runs and 60 RBI when he was suspended, and he seemed to be in his second year of a career uptick in production. If those numbers weren't solely derived from his testosterone usage, he adds another very dangerous bat to Toronto.

Think of the lineup this team will have. In the middle of the order they already have Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion (coming off of a career year in which he hit 42 home runs and 110 RBI), while Colby Rasmus and Brett Lawrie will be expected to improve upon their 2012 seasons. 

And they'll be adding Reyes and Cabrera atop the lineup. This is a team that should score plenty of runs if it stays healthy.

Meanwhile, the pitching gets a huge boost with Johnson and Buehrle joining Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow. Suddenly, Toronto should have a staff that can compete with the dangerous lineups found in the AL East.

Toronto hasn't rested on its laurels thus far, so I would expect they'll do even more wheeling and dealing in the winter. Unlike the Marlins, I don't think this is a team that is only loading up on talent half-heartedly. I wouldn't expect them to give up on this experiment if things don't go right immediately.

But I also don't expect this team to do anything less but compete for a division title next year. If they stay healthy, all of the new pieces fit well together, and players like Cabrera maintain recent production, the Blue Jays are going to be very tough to beat.

The world is their grocery store, and in one of those aisles they might just find a collection of World Series rings. 

Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets predict crazy things like Baylor upsets. Seriously.

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