The sense of relief was almost palpable. With the first workout of a new season, the Blue Jays were more than willing to put the disaster of 2013 in their rear-view mirror.

“Today’s the last day I’m going to talk about last year,” said manager John Gibbons. “We didn’t play well in any phase of the game early on. We didn’t play very good defence, hitting was sporadic and we struggled with our rotation. So that leads to how we started the season. But these guys have a lot of pride and I expect most of them to bounce back. As a team it was a struggle.

“Now we’ve got to go about our business and answer some questions.”

With a cast of characters only slightly altered from the team that stumbled and bumbled its way to a 74-88 record and a last-place finish in the American League East, the Jays are determined to prove that 2013 was an aberration, a complete misrepresentation of the team’s capabilities.

“We said all last year that we liked this ballclub and we still do,” said Gibbons. “It was put together for a reason and last year didn’t come close to what we wanted but we still like the group. There are some good players out there and we like them. The big question is what we were going to do with the rotation and nothing has happened there but the way it’s stacking up, we like the depth we have.”

In the eyes of many observers, some who thought Toronto’s management team had assembled a contending team last season, they didn’t do enough this offseason to be taken seriously. Gibbons begs to differ.