The dynamics of the American League East have changed, and it's the Blue Jays that are now leading the charge in a division that is more wide open than ever before.
Toronto transformed itself this offseason from an afterthought into the odds-on favorite to win the World Series, according to Las Vegas bookmakers. That would have been unheard of just a couple of years ago, but the balance of power in the AL East appears to be in a state of flux.
General manager Alex Anthopoulos saw a window of opportunity to win, and with the support of his ownership group, the club decided to go all-in. Chances like this don't come around very often, and while nothing is guaranteed, it was a shot Anthopoulos felt he had to take.
"There have been a lot of clubs that have made a lot of moves in the offseason and they haven't made the playoffs," Anthopoulos said recently in an effort to downplay the expectations. "We made the club better talent-wise. People need to stay healthy, have good seasons and come together, but we have given ourselves a better chance to be a much better club."
Anthopoulos headed into this offseason with the clear goal of acquiring a pair of starting pitchers. In just one move, he was able not only to accomplish that task but also exceed it with some surprising upgrades.
The blockbuster trade with Miami secured the starters Anthopoulos was looking for in Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle. The icing on the cake came with the additions of All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes and valuable utility man Emilio Bonifacio. The revamped rotation was somewhat expected -- and definitely required -- but the upgrades to the lineup took everything to the next level.
Read more: Blue Jays step to the front of AL East pack | MLB.com: News