87-75, second, American League East
1. LF Reed Johnson:
.319 BA, 12 HR, 49 RBIs in 2006
2. RF Alex Rios:
.302 BA, 17 HR, 82 RBIs in 2006
3. CF Vernon Wells:
.303 BA, 32 HR, 106 RBIs in 2006
4. DH Frank Thomas:
.270 BA, 39 HR, 114 RBIs in 2006
5. 3B Troy Glaus:
.252 BA, 38 HR, 104 RBIs in 2006
6. 1B Lyle Overbay:
.312 BA, 22 HR, 92 RBIs in 2006
7. C Gregg Zaun:
.272 BA, 12 HR, 40 RBIs in 2006
8. 2B Aaron Hill:
.291 BA, 6 HR, 50 RBIs in 2006
9. SS Royce Clayton:
.258 BA, 2 HR, 40 RBIs in 2006
1. RHP Roy Halladay, 16-5, 3.19 ERA in 2006
2. RHP A.J. Burnett, 10-8, 3.98 ERA in 2006
3. LHP Gustavo Chacin, 9-4, 5.05 ERA in 2006
4. RHP John Thomson, 2-7, 4.82 ERA in 2006
5. RHP Tomo Ohka, 4-5, 4.82 ERA in 2006
The new guys
Thomas: In November, Toronto signed the free-agent slugger to a two-year, $18.12 million deal that includes a vesting option for 2009. The Jays used numerous players as the DH in '06, so Thomas, who finished fourth in AL MVP voting last year, gives the lineup an immediate boost. He also sits just 13 home runs shy of 500 for his career.
LF Adam Lind: Lind's offensive production led to a rapid ascent through Toronto's Minor League system in 2006. The 23-year-old outfielder then hit .367 in 18 September games with the Jays. He'll likely begin '07 at Triple-A, but an impressive spring could have him in the running for a job with Toronto. RHP Dustin McGowan: McGowan, 24, has bounced between starting and relieving over the past two seasons in Toronto's system. Now, it looks like McGowan -- a first-round pick in 2000 -- will start 2007 at Triple-A as a starter, but he has an outside shot at making the Jays' rotation. Returning from injury
Burnett: Toronto invested $55 million in a five-year deal to add Burnett to its rotation last offseason. When healthy, Burnett showed flashes of his potential, but he spent more than two months on the disabled list with an elbow injury. The right-hander finished the season strong and will play an important role for the Jays this year.
Chacin: The left-hander also missed more than two months with an elbow injury last season. Chacin pitched well after returning to the rotation in August, and Toronto expects him to arrive to Spring Training without any lingering issues.Halladay: Halladay missed a handful of starts last season due to a right forearm strain, but the injury wasn't serious. The problem simply required rest, and Halladay had plenty of that this offseason. The right-hander should be poised for another strong season as Toronto's ace. Johnson: The left fielder had to call it a year before Toronto's final series last season due to a stress fracture in his right leg. This winter, Johnson had his running stride analyzed and found out that the issue began with his hips. He's worked with various hip strenghtening and flexibility exercises to hopefully avoid a similar injury this year.
On the rebound
RHP Josh Towers: Towers struggled as a starter last season, going 1-9 with a 9.11 ERA as a member of Toronto's rotation. It was a drastic contrast to 2005, when he led the Jays with 13 wins. Towers, who is scheduled to make $2.9 million in 2007, will try to prove he's worthy of a rotation spot this spring. The Jays might consider him in a long-relief role, too.
OF Frank Catalanotto: The versatile veteran spent four memorable years with Toronto, but he signed a three-year, $13.5 million deal with Texas this winter. After Johnson emerged as an everyday player in left field and the Jays signed Thomas to be their DH, Catalanotto was left without a regular role with Toronto. LHP Ted Lilly: The Blue Jays made every effort to re-sign Lilly, but the southpaw decided to sign a four-year, $40 million contract with the Cubs. Losing Lilly, who won a career-high 15 games last year for Toronto, left a big hole in the rotation. The Jays are hoping Thomson, Ohka, or perhaps one of the young pitchers, can help fill in the gap. C Bengie Molina: Both Zaun and Molina were interested in returning to Toronto, but neither wanted to be part of a platoon situation again. Zaun, who inked a two-year deal worth $7.25 million in November, was more affordable for the Jays. Molina signed a three-year, $16 million with the Giants after hitting a career-high 19 homers last season with the Jays. RHP Justin Speier: Toronto had interest in retaining Speier as its setup man, but the 33-year-old reliever signed a four-year, $18 million deal with the Angels. Losing Speier, who had a 2.98 ERA last season, leaves the Jays with a very young bullpen. They plan on trying League as Speier's replacement.
2006 hitting leaders (min. 200 at-bats)
Avg.: Johnson .319
OBP: Johnson, .390
SLG: Wells, .542
Runs: Glaus, 105
RBIs: Wells, 106
Hits: Wells, 185
2B: Overbay, 46
3B: Rios, 6
HR: Glaus, 38
SB: Wells, 17
2006 pitching leaders (min. 30 IP)
IP: Halladay, 220
W: Halladay, 16
L: Lilly, 13
Win %: Halladay, 16-5, .762
S: Ryan, 38
ERA: Ryan, 1.37
K: Lilly, 160
K/9: Ryan, 10.70
WHIP: Ryan, 0.86
1. Who will occupy the fourth and fifth spots in Toronto's rotation?
Heading into Spring Training, Thomson and Ohka are the leading candidates for the two jobs at the back end of the starting staff. They'll have to fend off pitchers like Shaun Marcum, Casey Janssen, Towers and McGowan, though.
Health will be a big part of who makes Toronto's rotation. Halladay, Burnett, Chacin, Thomson and Ohka each experienced some sort of injury last season. The Jays will need to take every precaution this spring to keep their staff off the shelf and on the mound. 3. Will Toronto's offense be as good as it looks on paper?
A few Blue Jays had breakout years last season, and it's not always a guarantee that a player can repeat past success. That being said, adding Thomas to the heart of the order acts as added insurance and it gives Toronto one of the most intimidating lineups in baseball. The offense should be the Jays' strongest asset this season. The bottom line
A lack of pitching depth was a major issue last year for Toronto. Various injuries and slumps took a toll on the rotation, which in turn put extra strain on the bullpen and pressure on the offense. This year, the Jays need their starters to eat up more innings if the club wants to make a serious run at the playoffs.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.