The Houston Astros are projected to be the worst team in baseball in 2013 by a lot of people. There’s a reason for that. Their “ace” Bud Norris has never even put up a 2 WAR season in his career. The Astros were also dead last in baseball in runs scored last season. They probably wouldn’t be a contender if they made the exact same moves as the Jays did this offseason. You could easily argue that every other team in baseball would be a contender if they had the Jays offseason.
It’s with that thought you can’t help but think the Blue Jays could have contended in AA’s first season as GM in 2010 if he went all out in his first offseason like he did this offseason.
Now obviously you’d have to be extremely naive to assume the circumstances would be the same. The Blue Jays didn’t have a stacked farm system back then. Rogers probably wouldn’t be in a hurry to “loosen the purse strings” for a rookie GM who tells them he can build a winner in one offseason.
There’s also the fact that extremely unique circumstances helped the Jays this offseason. You’re not exactly finding a fire sale, a 2 year wonder coming off a PED suspension and a 38 year old CY Young Award winner willing to sign a team friendly contract because of his age or whatever reason in another offseason let alone in just one.
So if you’re willing to overlook how the Blue Jays would even go about acquiring the level of talent they did this offseason in AA’s first offseason then let’s go.
I’d be more than willing to put money on a 2010 Blue Jays team that adds the rotation strength the Jays did this offseason to a team that could have kept Roy Halladay and had Ricky Romero and Shaun Marcum.
If the Jays did add quality starting pitching to the rotation it would make sense for them to add hitters of Reyes and Melky’s quality to compliment Aaron Hill and Adam Lind. The hilarious thing is even though Hill and Lind were terrible in 2010, Jose Bautista, Vernon Wells and John Buck all came out of nowhere to have above average hitting seasons so adding offense still would have made sense. If you’re a believer in lineup protection and a deeper lineup taking pressure off players then maybe Hill and Lind have better seasons to.
The 2009 Redsox and 2010 Yankees both won the AL wild card with 95 wins so that’s how many games the Jays would have needed to win to at least make the playoffs. For a team that was just in year 1 of AA’s rebuilding process they weren’t that far off with 85 wins. 85 wins is also a safe bet on the amount of wins the 2012 and 2013 Jays would have without injuries or significant changes this offseason.
Even if AA adding the exact same amount of talent in his first offseason as he did in this one doesn’t get the Jays into the playoffs in 2010 it probably would have eventually if you assume the Jays make the right moves the off-season’s after. The amount of wins for the wild card winner has gone down since 2010 with the Rays winning just 91 games in 2011 and the Orioles and Rangers both winning just 93 games in 2012.
If AA could have found a way to bring in the same amount of quality and quantity of talent in his first offseason as he managed to this offseason the Jays might have never needed to rebuild in the first place.