The Blue Jays have done a great job of ridding the bad contracts of Alex Rios and Vernon Wells, something that was thought to be impossible to do. Of course, the emergence of Jose Bautista has been a godsend to their organization. Rookie JP Arencibia hit 23 homeruns last year and 3B Brett Lawrie should be a factor in the middle of the order for years to come. Colby Rasmus struggled after being acquired from St. Louis, but is expected to be the team's center fielder. And its easy to forget about staples such as 1B Adam Lind (.251, 26, 87) and starting pitchers Ricky Romero (15-11, 2.92, 225 IP) and Brandon Morrow. (11-11, 4.72, 203 K) Brett Cecil won 15 games for them in 2010.
The Blue Jays would absolutely be a factor if they added Darvish, Gonzalez, and Beltran. They have the farmsystem to be considered favorite to land Gonzalez, with Mets LHP Jonathon Niese likely to be a second choice. As for Beltran, he is running out of options. I saw him as a fit for Colorado, who just signed Michael Cuddyer. I can't see him signing with the Phillies. Toronto makes sense, especially if they make the moves to improve the pitching.
Though Gonzalez and Beltran come with questions, they have a proven track record in the big leagues. Darvish doesn't. He looks to be as talented as any pitcher to come out of the Japanese League but outside of Nideo Nomo and one year Daisuke Matsuzaka Japanese pitchers have struggled in the big leagues and often have not been worth the money they are paid.
Overall, it interests me how much Toronto is looking to improve for this season. It must suck being in a division with the Yankees and Red Sox who will spend anything to remain at the top of the league. Tampa Bay has developed a good pitching staff which is not going away anytime soon. But, they are miles away from the Baltimore Orioles and may be getting closer to Boston and Tampa. There is no reason to think this can't be a better than .500 team in 2012. They finished with an underrated 81-81 record last season and their young players such as Arencibia, Lawrie, Kyle Drabek and even Colby Rasmus have a lot of promise and should take the next step. I will watch how the rest of the offseason pans out, but if they make a couple more additions, this is a team that needs to be taken seriously for the 2012 season, in spite of the division they are in.