Adding the likes of Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle and Melky Cabrera to the fold has made the Toronto Blue Jays one of the most interesting teams in the MLB. These moves were promptly followed by the hiring of former club manager, John Gibbons.
This was a move that very few people in the baseball world expected, and one that many still do not know what to make of. In Gibbons' second stint with the Blue Jays, especially considering the talented roster, expectations will no doubt be high.
Here are the three main expectations facing John Gibbons and the Blue Jays in 2013.
The Blue Jays' baserunning game should be improved under John Gibbons.
With John Farrell at the helm, the Blue Jays' running game squandered far too many opportunities throughout the course of the season. Whether that was on Farrell, some young players or a combination of both, expect Gibbons to address that area early and often.
In his previous time in Toronto, Gibbons had nowhere near the level of speed and baserunning ability that he now has with this roster.
As a catcher in his playing days, it is expected that Gibbons will have a better understanding and execution of the running game. Doing so with the speed that the Blue Jays now have would do wonders in tandem with the impressive power already in the lineup.
The Blue Jays' bullpen struggled in 2012.
Despite several additions prior to the 2012 season, in hopes of address the area, the Blue Jays' bullpen was disappointing once again. The unit finished the season with a 25th ranked 4.33 ERA, while allowing the second highest home run total, at 70.
In steps John Gibbons, who has long been lauded for his ability and success in managing a bullpen. As important as it is, this is a quality that is quite often overlooked in the duties of a manager.
In 2007, Gibbons' last full season with the Blue Jays, the bullpen held the third best ERA mark in the MLB, with 3.46. Comparing the two teams, the talent level and depth in the bullpen this time around far exceeds that of the 2007 year.
Part of the reason why he was so coveted by Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos, Gibbons' bullpen management should be an instant help to this team.
This Blue Jays roster has the talent to get them to the playoffs.
This one seems obvious, but the reality is that qualifying for the postseason will be the number one expectation throughout the season for Gibbons and this team.
With the talent that the Blue Jays already had, and now have added so far this offseason, they are ready to compete in the AL East. Gibbons was not brought in to just help bring a young team along. He was brought in to win, and to win now.
The third winningest coach in Blue Jays history, Gibbons sports a career record of 305-305. That record came at a time where the Blue Jays were nowhere near the level of the then dominating Yankees and Red Sox in the AL East. Now, things are a little bit different.
With a roster comparable to any team in the division, and possibly the American League for that matter, it will be Gibbons' job to bring them together and win. Blue Jays fans are ready to get back to the postseason and it will now become an expectation rather than a hope.