Blue Jays at least brought fans back

Blue Jays at least brought fans back
October 5, 2013, 9:45 am
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Back in April, the conventional wisdom was that the Blue Jays would still be playing baseball right now. But despite the highest-profile moves of baseball’s last offseason, Toronto ended up in last place in the American League East. However, one thing that the acquisitions of the likes of R.A. Dickey, Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle did was stir fan interest enough to boost attendance past 2.5 million, putting the most fans in the stands since 1997.

That means the Jays can increase payroll for next season. As mlb.com reported, the club has $110 million in guaranteed money in place for 2014 and expects to go to $130 million.

"We're certainly not going to go backwards -- we'll continue to move forward," general manager Alex Anthopoulos said (via mlb.com). "Our payroll number will be given to me at some point in October, but it's always fluid. There has never been a hard-and-fast number, it's always been this is an area we'd like you to stay in.”

The Jays are looking for a second baseman, catcher and starting pitching. Anthopoulos doesn’t see help coming via free agency.

“We've already started to go through a lot of the free agents; we have a good feel for it,” he said. "I don't know that it's a strong market with respect to free agency. There's certainly going to be a player or two that will perform above what people expect, but I think we're going to be open-minded to both. But if I had to guess [how Toronto will add], more likely through trade."

Despite the disappointing season, Anthopoulos said Toronto has resolved any issues about what kind of market it is for baseball.

"I think the one thing we can take away from this season is the debate over whether Toronto is large-market, small-market, mid-market. I think that has been answered," he said. "The debate of whether Toronto could be back to where it was from an attendance standpoint, that certainly has been answered. … The fan base is there, and it's obviously up to us to give them that winning team."