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Beeston backs Jays’ off-season moves

The Toronto Blue Jays’ busy off-season hasn’t worked out as anticipated. With one week remaining before the all-star break, the team sits two games below .500 at 43-45.

Even so, Blue Jays president Paul Beeston stands behind the team’s winter makeover. He reminded Jeff Blair on Sportsnet 590 the FAN Monday that players, management and ownership all expected the aggressive approach to produce a contender.

“At that time did I think it was the right move? Yes,” Beeston said. ”Did players think it was the right move? Yes. Did management think it was the right move? Yes. Did ownership think it was the right move? Yes. Did the fans think it was the right move? Yes.”

“There’s no reason that I would ever take that decision back,” Beeston said.

The Blue Jays traded for Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonifacio, R.A. Dickey and Josh Thole last winter and signed Melky Cabrera and Maicer Izturis as free agents.

With the exception of Johnson, every one of those newcomers is under team control for at least one year after 2013, so Beeston says it’s just a matter of time before the Blue Jays’ plan works and the losses turn to wins.

“If we don’t win this year, we win next year,” Beeston said. “ If we don’t win next year, we win the year after. The goal is to win, and you have to build.”

Beeston expressed optimism that the Blue Jays can draw three million fans again. The team has drawn a total of 1,445,173 for an average of 31,417 per game so far in 2013. That represents an increase of 4,790 fans per game compared to 2012, easily the largest increase in MLB.

The Blue Jays are on track to draw in the range of 2.6-2.7 million fans this year, Beeston said. The team’s growing fan base should help the team attract players to Toronto in Beeston’s view.

Though the bullpen was expected to be a weakness for the Blue Jays entering the season, pitchers like Brett Cecil and Steve Delabar have emerged as shutdown relievers. Beeston hopes Delabar joins Cecil on the American League all-star roster in recognition of his strong first half.

“It’s a terrific story,” he said.

Delabar is one of five players eligible to be voted onto the American League team in MLB’s Final Vote.