One day early last November, Brandon Morrow was tooling along in his car, heading home, when his phone rang.

“It was Ricky (Romero),” said Morrow. “He said ‘Did you hear, we’re getting Josh Johnson.’

A few moments later the phone ran again. Ricky again.

“He said ‘Now it’s Mark Buehrle.’ ”

Then a few minutes later ... “Jose Reyes.”

“It just kept building and building. It was like the never-ending trade.”

Three months later, Morrow and his teammates, old and new, are about to start what they hope is a new era of Blue Jays baseball.

“The optimism is at an all-time high,” he said. “We were hopefully optimistic last year, but I think this year we expect to win. That’s the difference.

“This is a great team on paper. We don’t even have to have anybody play above their expectations. If everybody just plays to their proven ability, we are going to have a great year.

“This rotation can give you a lot of different looks going back and forth, lefty-righty, knuckleball, fastball. Those variations will keep a lot of offences off balance.”