With the new year nearly upon us and fans clambering for the beginning of the 2013 season, it is only appropriate to look back at 2012. With that in mind, we will be counting down the days to the new year by remembering the five best Blue Jays moments of 2012.
If you missed any of the previous installments, you can find them here:
And now, without further ado, the #1 Blue Jays Moment of 2012…the Marlins Mugging!!
That’s right, the top moment of the 2012 calendar year for the Toronto Blue Jays had absolutely nothing to do with 2012, save for the utter disappointment that finally spurred the team into action. No, this move was entirely about 2013 and bringing an immensely dedicated fan base what it sadly needed; a contender.
After a disappointing 2012 season, Alex Anthopoulos and the Blue Jays front office wasted no time in getting the ball rolling for 2013. On November 13, 2012, the team pulled off perhaps the most shocking trade in baseball over the past 20 years or more, when they acquired shortstop Jose Reyes, infielder Emilio Bonifacio, catcher John Buck, and starting pitchers Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle from the Miami Marlins. In exchange, the Jays shipped shortstop Yunel Escobar, starter Henderson Alvarez, infielder Adeiny Hechavarria, catcher Jeff Mathis, minor league pitchers Justin Nicolino and Anthony Desclafani and minor league outfielder Jake Marisnick to the Marlins.
In one fell swoop, the Blue Jays upgraded at shortstop and getting the lead-off hitter they sorely needed, while also plugging two solid arms into a rotation that had been slated for upgrades. In the process, they also acquired a super-utility man.
The trade was a huge topic of debate in the weeks that followed, up to and including consideration by the commissioner over whether it was in the best interests of the game. More so, it was also a major change of direction for the Anthopoulos and the Blue Jays, a team that had become notorious in its hoarding of young prospects and their inability to part with them. By parting with Hechavarria, Marisnick, Nicholino, and Desclafani, the Blue Jays served notice that they were willing to do whatever it took to contend in 2013.
This trade also laid the groundwork for another big deal. By showing their willingness to trade prospects, they opened themselves up for other teams to look at their farm system. That would come back around for the team when in mid-December, they packaged top prospect Travis d’Arnaud and prized-arm Noah Syndergaard, along with the aforementioned Buck, to acquire reigning National League Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey from the New York Mets.
In a matter of weeks, the Blue Jays saw an opportunity to push themselves to the top of the American League East heap and they took advantage of it, spending their riches for the spoils needed to become a serious World Series favorite.
They turned a season of disappointment into an offseason of expectations, and it all started with this momentous trade. This trade created a kind of buzz that had been missing from this baseball team since the mid-1990′s, a buzz that will vibrate through the Rogers Centre the entire season.
It certainly made the change in years that much more exciting to look forward to for Blue Jays fans.