Toronto Blue Jays minus the off season of 2012

Miami Marlins send Jose Reyes, Mark Beurhle, Josh Johnson, John Buck, and Emilio Bonifacio to the Toronto Blue Jays for Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria, Henderson Alvarez, Anthony DeSclafani, Justin Nicolino, Jeff Mathis, and Jake Marisnick.

The New York Mets send R.A. Dickey, Josh Thole, and Mike Nickeas to the Toronto Blue Jays for Travis d’Arnaud, Noah Syndergaard, and Wuilmer Becerra.

With Syndergaard about to make his MLB debut we must look back upon the two trades that will cost the Jays for years to come. One of the main reasons that fair weather fans do not run MLB teams is the fact that everybody thought that these were terrific trades. Fans were screaming from the highest roof tops in Toronto that this was their year. Vegas had the Jays as the odds on favourite to win it all. There was no way that this could backfire.

Not only did the Jays take back over 100 million in salary. We cleaned out the cupboard of prospects that were masterfully obtained. The Jays were going for it. Having Jose Bautista clamoring for more presence in the lineup and staff probably didn’t help. Antholopous showed an extreme amount of patience for years. He traded away Halladay in a no-win situation. Drafting high ceiling prospects. Making smart signing decisions. Not blowing the budget on any one player. Toronto is a city of we want it all now. It’s hard not to get wrapped up in it. Antholopous thought they had a chance at making that jump before they were ready. Witnessing a decline in both the Red Sox and the Yankees after years of chasing them.
Let’s have a look at the lineup without these two trades being executed. This isn’t exact. It’s what I believe the smartest moves would have been. Yunel Escobar will not be included in this. He would not have been back with the Jays regardless.

1. Travis – 2B
2. Cabrera – LF
3. Bautista – RF
4. Encarnacion – 1B
5. Donaldson – 3B
6. Lind – DH
7. d’Arnaud – C
8. Pillar – CF
9. Hechavarria – SS

Starting Pitchers:
1. Marcus Stroman
2. Drew Hutchison
3. Henderson Alvarez
4. Anthony DeSclafani
5. Noah Syndergaard

The lineup doesn’t look stronger on first appearance. What it does have is a bunch of players with huge upside and a lot of room to add payroll. No need to bring in Martin at a huge price tag. The Donaldson trade might not need to happen either. Adam Lind could still be their DH rather than thriving in Milwaukee. Melky Cabrera could have come back. Nearly every one of the prospects that were involved in both trades are now contributing members with major league teams. This isn’t a told you so. I was on board with both deals. The Dickey trade not quite as much, but I would have made the same trade. Teams that are thriving in ball now are the teams that are able to grow up together. The bringing in high price talent hasn’t worked for about a decade now. Look at the SF Giants and St Louis Cardinals. Nearly every player on both of those teams were drafted by the club. Terrific coaching, and great scouting is now the key to a championship team.

Maybe it’s the being in the AL East that makes it tough for the Jays not to ride it out. You see the Red Sox and Yankees just throwing around money. The Jays if anything should use the Tampa Bay type of strategy. Grow the talent. One thing that the Jays have that the Rays don’t, is fans. People come to their games. They might even be able to keep the talent after they develop it. Keeping up with the Jones’ has been the Jays moto for the past 20 years. It has come with zero playoff appearances.

What do you do now? Unfortunately start over. Encarnacion should have a few more monster years in him. Donaldson will be solid (he will want big money soon.) Travis looks like the real deal. Their young pitching needs a bit more development, but it should be untouchable. They were taken advantage by two National League teams. The quick fix didn’t work. Eat the mistake, and get what you can for Dickey, Beurhle, and Reyes. I would also look at dealing Bautista. He is an aging superstar that is going to have a sharp drop off. You need to develop pitching. Every team that have won rings has had that one ace. You need to start to stock pile pitching talent to find that next Gray, Harvey, Fernandez, or Cole. They might have it in Stroman or Sanchez, but they need more options. Teams have been winning with average lineups, but great pitching. Again the Rays style of play.

Iit’s going to be a lengthy process. It’s not Toronto Maple Leaf lengthy, but it will be about 3 years before they see progress. They have some pieces in place. Their young pitchers are coming along. Do they have the right guys in place to develop them though? As a fan you need to look at the teams that are constantly in the races until the end. What do they have that the Jays do not? It comes down to the right person behind the controls. After witnessing the past three years, do you think they have the right people in charge?

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