20 years after the second of our back-to-back World Series wins, The Toronto Blue Jays could be poised to win another title.
The following slides are speculative fiction at its finest. However, I did my best to avoid wading in to the murky waters of trade and free agent guess work.
Nonetheless, it would be unreasonable to assume that the Jays' roster will be filled with a mix of homegrown talent and current roster players, with no one added via trade or free agency. Therefore I made a few guesses on new faces.
Having said that, here are your 2013 World Series Champs, the Toronto Blue Jays
With Cito Gaston's imminent departure after this season the Jays will be bringing in a new Manager.
The ideal candidate should have a solid coaching pedigree (i.e., no transplanted broadcasters) with a track record of success working with young players.
Enter Brian Butterfield.
Currently the Third Base Coach and Infield Instructor, BB was instrumental in molding Orlando Hudson into a Gold Glove second baseman after he arrived in Toronto in 2002.
There may be an impulse to bring in someone from outside the organization, which is understandable, but Butterfield has a great rapport with his players and deserves a shot.
Much like Cito Gaston in 1989.
Whether or not he gets called up this season, Brett Wallace will most likely be the Jays starting First Basemen in 2011.
By 2013 he'll have two full seasons of baseball experience under his belt and with Butterfield's help, his transition from Third to First should be very smooth.
Wallace projects to hit for a high average with plus power. Think Kendry Morales with fewer home runs.
This is where I venture in to the land of make believe as I personally don't see Aaron Hill re-signing here after his contract expires in 2011.
With Shawn Marcum, Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow, Brett Cecil, Jose Bautista, and John Buck (among others) all free agents after this season, GM Alex Anthopoulos will be handing out a lot of contracts.
Something has to give.
Whether its through trade of free agency, Hill is a former Jay by 2013.
I mention Brignac because he's in a tough spot in Tampa Bay. With Jason Bartlett the starter at SS and Tim Beckham in the minors, Brignac could be squeezed out.
He's already played some Second Base this year so its not a stretch to assume he couldn't man the position full time in Toronto.
He's a defensive upgrade over Hill and he has a nice bat, although less power. He could be a Rickie Weeks type with a better average.
The Man, the Myth, the $10 Million Dollar Legend.
Not too much is known about the shadowy shortstop from Castro's workers paradise. However, scouts have compared him to Alfredo Griffin and Toronto out bid both the Yankees and Red Sox so he has to be good. Right?
This really is the most difficult position to predict for the Jays with all of our SS prospects in High A Denedin or lower.
If not Hechavarria it could be Tyler Pastornicky, Gustavo Pierre or one of our 2010 draft picks.
Or a free agent/trade acquisition.
However, for the sake of this slide show we'll go with the Cuban Defector.
Gold Glove quality defense.
The latest in a long line of band aide Third Basemen, Jorge Cantu is a speculative roster add this off season as a free agent signing.
I'd love to throw up 2010 draftees Kris Bryant, Christopher Hawkins or Kellen Sweeney but all three are still in high school so expecting them to be ready in time is unreasonable.
Also, the Jays simply do not have a prospect in the system who projects as a MLB quality third baseman.
Cantu has the requisite power required from the position but his defense is suspect. Still, if he can pop 25 over the fence we can live with it.
I still say his offense is a mirage but what is not being talked about (yet should be) is his work with Toronto's young pitching staff (more on them later).
That is why I won't be shocked if Anthopoulos re-signs him to a very economical three year deal.
Buck is average at best throwing out base runners but if the pitchers keep progressing there won't be many guys on base to worry about.
And like I said at the top of this slide, Buck calls a great game.
He has further value as a mentor to whichever stud catching prospect gets here first: J.P. Arrencibia, Travis d'Arnaud or Carlos Perez.
Travis Snider will be 25 years old in 2013 and just entering the prime of his career.
Drafted 14th overall in 2006, Snider has prodigious power with an improving eye at the plate.
After a slow start in April, Snider was hitting .378 in 12 May games with three homers and 10 RBI before being put on the 15 day DL.
In addition, his defense in RF has proven to be very good. Almost surprisingly so.
Travis Snider will be Toronto's offensive leader for the next decade.
Signed to a ridiculous $126 Million contract through 2014, Vernon Wells is not going anywhere.
As much as that made Jays fans cry in their beer and maple syrup last season (we love that stuff), this year Wells is starting to earn his money.
On pace to set career highs in home runs, doubles, total bases and slugging percentage, Wells is having a resurgent season.
If he can play at or near these levels for the remainder of his contract, Toronto has the potential to field its best outfield since the halcyon days of Bell, Moseby and Barfield.
In 2013, Jake Marisnick is in the lead pack of kids vying for Rookie of the Year in the AL.
Drafted in the third round of the 2009 Draft, Marisnick has already vaulted into the Jays top ten prospects and surpassed Moises Sierra as the team's top outfield option.
Compared by some scouts to Jeff Francoeur, Marisnick actually projects as a better hitter with more speed. However, his power stroke is raw and needs time to develop.
The one area of the young man's game that doesn't need much work is his defense. He has a strong arm and his athleticism and range are plus-plus.
2013 is Jake Marisnick's coming out party.
Adam Lind could be a former Blue Jay by 2013 if Anthopoulos decides to trade him for help at third base or short stop, but I'm doing my best to avoid that kind of speculation.
Therefore, in 2013 Adam Lind is a Blue Jay. And we couldn't possibly be happier.
This season has started a bit rough for Adam but by the time he's in his fifth full season (2013), he'll have proven to be one of the most consistent hitters in the AL.
Proving last year was no fluke, Ricky Romero is pitching like an ace so far this year.
The sixth pick in the 2005 draft, Romero is off to 5-3 start with a 3.29 ERA and 1.22 WHIP.
Most impressive so far is how easily he's mowing down batters.
Currently second in the AL with 91 strikeouts, he only needs 7 K's in his next start to take over the MLB lead.
Romero will most likely pitch in his first All-Star game this season and could be one of the best by 2013.
Another of the Jays first round picks (2007, supplemental), Brett Cecil has started to live up to expectations.
Leading the Jays with a 7-3 record, Cecil has shown surprising command for a pitcher his age as his 1.04 WHIP and 6.5% walk rate illustrates.
When you combine that with his ability to mix pitches and speeds, you are looking at a kid with the potential to be the next Brandon Webb.
Cy Young runner up
Coming off Tommy John surgery performed in September 2008, Shaun Marcum has never looked better.
With a 6-3 record, Marcum leads the Jays starters with a 3.31 ERA to go along with a 1.10 WHIP and an extremely low 1.8 BB/9 ratio.
Because of his injury, Manager Cito Gaston has been keeping Marcum on a short leash and has only allowed him to pitch beyond the 7th inning once.
By 2013, Marcum is Toronto's horse and chief inning eater.
After being bounced between AAA Las Vegas and Toronto for most of 2011 and 2012, Kyle Drabek, the prize of the Roy Halladay trade, has claimed the No.4 spot in the Jays rotation.
Armed with an electric mid 90's fastball and a filthy curve that has a bit of horizontal action on it, it's the development of a reliable change up that has allowed him to stay on the big club.
Although his control fails him at times, he seems to have no problem striking dudes out.
His innings are carefully managed by Butterfield and he ends up in the pen during the playoffs but it's quite possible the Jays don't even get there without the kid.
For those keeping count, that's four first round picks in the Blue Jays starting rotation.
Scouting and player development are paramount to the success of any team in baseball but never more so than when playing in the AL East.
Deck McGuire was mired in the pen for most of 2012. However, after Brandon Morrow left after the season to sign with his home town San Fransisco Giants, the kid won the fifth spot in spring training and ran with it.
With his control, pitch mix and mound composure, McGuire looks like a young Shaun Marcum, only bigger with a better slider.
Although he gets touched quite a bit in this championship dream season, he still proves to be a reliable anchor at the back end of the Jays rotation.
A starter in college, Asher Wojciechowski was converted to closer in the Jays minor league system.
Now that Asher didn't have to stretch himself he was able to add a few more ticks on his heavy fastball and now throws 94-97 mph.
However, the biggest thing he learned was how to throw a reliable change up.
After honing his craft in the minors during the 2011 and 2012 seasons, Asher wins the closer job by mid May 2013.
He's not quite Jonathan Papelbon (as a few scouts compared him too) but he's a fierce competitor who challenges hitters on every pitch. Daring them to swing.
Note: David Purcey, Brad Mills, Shawn Camp and Josh Roenicke are in the pen with Zack Stewart the set up man.
1. Jake Marisnick
2. Reid Brignac
3. Vernon Wells
4. Travis Snider
5. Adam Lind
6. Brett Wallace
7. Jorge Cantu
8. Adieny Hechavarria
9. John Buck