What Every Fan Needs to Know About the 2013 Toronto Blue Jays

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What Every Fan Needs to Know About the 2013 Toronto Blue Jays
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For the last five years, the only two things every fan needed to know about the Toronto Blue Jays were that they were in the American League East and that they weren't the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox or Tampa Bay Rays.

For 2013, the most important thing fans need to know about the Toronto Blue Jays is that this isn't the same Toronto Blue Jays team of the last five years.

For those of you who don't remember baseball before the 1994 strike-shortened season, the Blue Jays franchise most likely invokes thoughts of isolated mediocrity being played far away from everyone else north of the border. In a division of heated rivalries, the game's biggest superstars and excessive media attention, the Blue Jays were always just...there. They were harmlessly average—not good enough to be a serious threat, not bad enough to be a laughingstock.

After nearly two decades in baseball obscurity, that could all change in 2013. Blue Jays fans have gotten their hopes up before about a potential return to the success of the glory years of the early 1990s, but the bar has been set higher than ever this offseason. And it's not just Jays fans.

Albeit a meaningless designation, even the oddsmakers in Vegas have proclaimed the Blue Jays—the same team that hasn't made the playoffs since 1993—the favorites to win the World Series. We all know World Series aren't won in December, but Blue Jays fans will take what they can get for now. At least for 2013, the Blue Jays won't be an afterthought. This isn't the Blue Jays team to which most fans have become accustomed.

And that's the basic theme for what you need to know about this year's Blue Jays squad. General Manager Alex Anthopoulos has bet the farm (system)—dealing away some of the organization's premiere prospects, such as Travis D'Arnaud, Noah Syndergaard and Jake Marisnick—if not just on 2013, then on the very immediate future. Now there appears to be a narrow window open in the American League East for a changing of the guard, and the new-look Blue Jays have been assembled in such a fashion as to take advantage of the opening.

Can the Jays do it? You decide. Here's what every fan needs to know about the 2013 Toronto Blue Jays and their quest to return to the promised land of the postseason.

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