The Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline has come and gone, and for the second year in a row, the Toronto Blue Jays stayed quiet at the deadline, with only the minor acquisition of Danny Valencia to show for it. Unfortunately, that silence has lead to some vocalization from the Blue Jays players who are trying to secure a playoff spot.
With the Blue Jays within two games of first place in the American League East and controlling a 3-game lead on the Seattle Mariners and 3.5 games advantage on the New York Yankees and Kansas City Royals for the second wild-card spot, Toronto was considered by many to be a buyer at the deadline. However, for all the talk and rumors surrounding the Blue Jays in the days leading up to the deadline, nothing materialized, something Alex Anthopoulos addressed with the media on Thursday evening.
“Ultimately, if the deals had been there for us, we would have done them. But we didn’t line up on any deals that we thought were going to improve the club. (h/t Gregor Chisholm, MLB.com)”
Anthopoulos was quick to note that while the Jays were willing to listen and were active in discussions, they were reluctant to part with players from their 25-man roster, which could be assumed to refer to Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez, both of whom are considered the Blue Jays top young arms and also part of the current roster.
“To talk about those guys, you’d fill in one hole and create a new hole. That’s where you have to make a decision — Are you actually better as a club? (h/t Gregor Chisholm, MLB.com)”
Either of those players moving in a trade, or Daniel Norris and Dalton Pompey for that matter, would have been a double-edged sword, especially with the fans. You need to move those pieces to acquire someone of a caliber to help the team, like a David Price or Jon Lester per se, but you also will be torn to shreds for gutting the farm system further, especially for players who are unlikely to sign extensions to stay in Toronto.
However, knowing the Blue Jays talked a good game doesn’t necessarily satiate those thinking Toronto was going to make a move to improve the current club for the stretch run. While that may not carry much weight in the front office, at least in terms of appeasing the fan base, when the displeasure is voiced by the clubhouse, it creates a little more than a ripple.
For Bautista, it is a point he was trying to push home leading into the deadline, saying the team needed a little push to get over the top. Knowing the team talked and looked into deals doesn’t do much to sooth the disappointment of not getting something done yet again.
“Of course it’s a little disappointing that we somehow weren’t able to get anything done, but everybody around us that’s in contention . . . somehow figured it out” said Bautista (h/t Brendan Kennedy, The Star).
And he’s right of course, while the Blue Jays talked, other teams the Blue Jays need to contend with, namely Seattle, New York, and Baltimore, managed to better their teams. Seattle added the lead-off hitter and center fielder they wanted in Austin Jackson. The Yankees added both Stephen Drew and Martin Prado, improving their infield and adding depth to a roster riddled with holes. And that says nothing of the Orioles, who added lefty reliever Andrew Miller from the Red Sox, a move that screams being aimed at the Blue Jays. All three teams surrendered prospects to get deals done, but didn’t necessarily break the bank doing so.
Casey Janssen, who tends to go about his business quietly and doesn’t ruffle a lot of feathers, also made note of the moves made by others. In his expression of disappointment in the lack of effort by the Blue Jays at the deadline, the free agent-to-be didn’t hold back when speaking to the media Thursday.
“Obviously, we value our prospects, we value our players, I’m sure the other teams do as well. Maybe they just value the player or the opportunity to get into the playoffs more. It takes something to get something, and congratulations to those teams that got those guys. (h/t Gregor Chisholm)”
The undertone to the comment is obvious. The present is what counts to a lot of these guys, and for a team that finally has an opportunity to escape its past, the chance to make the postseason weighs a lot more heavily on them than playing the lottery for the future.
But as I said earlier, it is somewhat of a double-edged sword. You can make the move to get better and appease those that want to see a winner on the field this year, but gut the farm system and strip future resources to do it, or you can pray for the playoffs, look to improve at the August waiver deadline, and put stock in the future being brighter than the present.
It all depends on how you look at it.