Ah November. A baseball fans nightmare. The first of 5 months without any Major League Baseball. Not only do baseball fans have to adjust to life without baseball but November is always the most boring month of the offseason. No significant trades or free agent signings ever happen. In fact so little happens in November that even discussing what your team looks like at the end of the month is completely pointless. Apparently no one told Alex Anthopoulos about all this.
When November began Mike Aviles was projected to be the Toronto Blue Jays opening day 2nd basemen in 2013 with Adeiny Hechavarria as the fall back plan at the Blue Jays Triple A affiliate in Buffalo. Yunel Escobar was the starting shortstop. The Blue Jays had no left fielder. The only 2 starting pitchers that were guaranteed to be on the team were Brandon Morrow and Ricky Romero. Then the Blue Jays made sure you’d never forget to check the internet or tune into your local sports TV channel in November again.
On November 3rd, which now feels like a distant memory the Blue Jays traded their starting 2nd basemen Mike Aviles and Yan Gomes to the Cleveland Indians for hard throwing right handed reliever Esmil Rogers. The Blue Jays getting rid of their starting 2nd basemen for what seemed like the millionth reliever the Blue Jays had acquired since late July seemed like a strange move. It could have meant Hechavarria could be the starting 2nd basemen or that the Blue Jays created a hole at 2nd base. It looked like the Blue Jays were going to just repeat what they did last offseason and during the trade deadline last season and just acquire relievers.
On November 8th the Blue Jays signed Maicer Izturis to a 3 year 9 million dollar contract. Izturis could have been the Blue Jays starting 2nd basemen for 2013 with Adeiny Hechavarria playing the 2013 season in Buffalo. Then when Hechavarria would be ready to start at 2nd base in the big leagues in 2014, Izturis could go to the bench. The Izturis signing was the longest and most expensive free agent contract under Alex Anthopoulos at the time. It was a sign AA was serious at the beginning of the offseason when he said he’d be more open to free agency this offseason and spending money in general. Even if the signing wasn’t a “big splash” it was still a sign of the Blue Jays having more payroll flexibility than in past years.
On November 13th, a day that will not be forgotten in Toronto for a long time, the Blue Jays made one of the biggest trades in not only team history but sports history. They traded Yunel Escobar, Hechavarria, Henderson Alvarez, Jeff Mathis and 3 minor league prospects to the Miami Marlins in exchange for Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio and John Buck. With the trade the Blue Jays not only more than doubled their payroll but transformed the team from mediocre to great (at least on paper). The whole trade still feels like a dream and will probably continue to until mid-April when you get used to seeing the acquired players in Blue Jays uniforms.
On November 16, just 3 days later the Blue Jays also signed all-star and National League batting champion Melky Cabrera to a 2 year 16 million dollar contract to be the starting left fielder. It surpassed the Izturis contract for most expensive free agent contract under Alex Anthopoulos. It also just put the icing on the cake to a week the Blue Jays showed they were serious about making a playoff push in 2013.
The Blue Jays didn’t make any other significant moves or upgrades to their roster in November but they already made a whole offseasons worth of moves in November. If the Blue Jays don’t do anything else this offseason nobody could complain about it. Then again if all that took place in November, the boring month that nothing ever happens then the rest of the offseason should be very interesting.