It will be 2013 shortly, and the world hasn’t been destroyed as the Mayans have “predicted”. That means that we will get to see the newly revamped Blue Jays play and compete in the AL East, which is great news. I’ve only been with Jays Journal since very late into the 2012 Blue Jays season (read: last week of regular season), so everything that has happened so far in the span of 13-ish weeks has been a roller coaster of emotions. From the lowest of lows at the end of the season (where the Blue Jays were close to finishing last in the division), to the highest of highs (in Alex Anthopoulos’ off season trades including Cy Young winning R.A. Dickey), this past year has brought a lot of grief and juxtaposing happiness heading into 2013. As I strive to provide the best written prose (and sometimes poetry) covering the Blue Jays, I will now provide you with my personal Blue Jays-related New Years Resolutions.
#1: Be More Precise And Clear
I’ve covered many different aspects of the Blue Jays this year, including breaking trades and personal vendettas about what should not be allowed at the ballpark. Sometimes my underhanded sarcasm falls on deaf ears. I don’t really think that Jason Grilli didn’t come to the Blue Jays because free agents hate living in Canada; I was sarcastically echoing the narrative aspect that some other writers and commenters love to use. I will go on the record as being vehemently opposed to narratives and terms like “intangibles”, “leadership qualities” and “legendary gut feelings” to describe MVP candidates. Going forward I want all you readers to know exactly what message I’m trying to put out there.
#2: Be Cautiously Optimistic
The Blue Jays have done a lot to improve their roster this winter. They’ve added a Cy Young winner, several All-Stars, a former PED user and true speed options leading off and closing the lineup. However, this is not the first time the Blue Jays revamped their roster with big name players. In 2006, the team traded for Lyle Overbay and Troy Glaus, signed A.J. Burnett to a 5 year/$55M contract and Bengie Molina to a 1 year/$5M contract. While not to the same magnitude as Anthopoulos’ trades, the team finished in 2nd place in the division with 87 wins, 10 games back of 1st place Yankees. The main difference between these seasons is that the Blue Jays didn’t have to give up a lot of their top prospects to acquire their talent in 2006, while this year the organization has said goodbye to prospects Travis d’Arnaud, Noah Syndergaard, Jake Marisnick, Justin Nicolino, Anthony Desclafini and Wuilmer Becrra. If these moves don’t result in a considerable improvement over their 74 win campaign last year, then it will be very toxic among Blue Jays fans going forward. They may be World Series favourites at 15/2, but you don’t get trophies for winning the off-season.
#3: Always Remember Winning Is More Important Than Projecting
I am a relative newcomer in terms of following prospects. Kyle Matte and Charlie Caskey are the real Gurus when it comes to Blue Jays prospect evaluation here at Jays Journal. However, I did know a fair bit about big name guys like d’Arnaud and the former “Lansing Three”. Upon the news that both TDA and Syndergaard was the price tag to bring in Dickey for such a relatively short time in Toronto, I was shocked. From the first moment on, I convinced myself that AA had finally been bested by a rival GM. No longer were the days when we would acquire top closers like Sergio Santos for fledgling prospects like Nestor Molina. But, after further reasoning by friends outside of the hardcore Blue Jays fanbase, it became clear that winning is the most important thing right now for the team. The contracts of Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Brandon Morrow, Ricky Romero and Mark Buehrle were set to expire around 2015. The time to strike and push for the World Series is now. Those prospects might end up as All-Stars for other teams, but Flags Fly Forever. 2013 marks 20 years since the last time the Blue Jays won the World Series or made the playoffs; it’s time to do whatever it takes to get there again.
From all of us at Jays Journal, we wish you a Happy New Year! Please stay safe and drive sober.