Image from instagram.com user “nataliedlong”.
It’s been almost six days since the biggest trade in Marlins history occurred, but after long deliberation (and probably for Bud Selig to save face and show concern for Marlins fans), MLB has finally approved of the mega deal that had the Marlins trade five players to the Blue Jays in exchange for major league players and prospects. To make room on the 40 man roster, Joel Carreno has been designated for assignment. The deal is expected to be announced by Alex Anthopoulos Tuesday morning at 9:30AM, where he is also expected to discuss other Blue Jays matters in addition. Most likely it will be streamed live on mlb.com.
Since then, the Blue Jays have signed Melky Cabrera to a 2 year/$16M deal that looks to be very favourable for the club. For the last week, it seems that everything is coming up Blue Jays. A team that used to be popular and well known during the late 80’s/early 90’s, there has been all kinds of noise attracted from “the trade” by writers of many varying baseball clubs. It’s the kind of excitement that has not been around in Toronto for quite some time; Toronto may finally have a team ready to contend for a championship.
I know that it may be the type of statement that will draw claims of hubris, but it has been a while since Toronto has had a team they can really rally around. The Raptors have a career 550-806 record with a .406 winning percentage and have never been to the NBA Finals in the franchise’s 18 total years. The Maple Leafs haven’t made the playoffs since the 2003-2004 season and have not been a real contender since the 2004-2005 lockout. The Argonauts are poised to compete for the Grey Cup on home AstroTurf on Sunday however, with the exception of diehard fans, the Argonauts only get real attention when they are in the Grey Cup Final. In addition, 75% of the 8 CFL teams make the playoffs anyways, making it one of the easiest sports to make the playoffs.
The biggest problem Blue Jays fans have now is that with the new financial flexibility that Rogers has shown and allowed Alex Anthopoulos to work with there is a greater expectation when it comes to results. With a payroll hovering around $120M for the 2013 season, fans are expecting the world. Even with a lineup that could compete for the playoffs in any division, comments sections of various blogs and media outlets have fans hungry for more. While it may be nice if the Blue Jays picked up Jonny Gomes to platoon 1B/DH or yet another 2-4 starter to push J.A. Happ out of the immediate rotation, let’s not get carried away. Spending money for the wrong reasons is what happened in the 2008 season when the Jays spent almost $98M in payroll to finish in 4th place. The team is in uncharted territories finance-wise; at least let them find a manager first! Then maybe we can talk about the final pieces.
What I can say as a fan of the team is that this is the first time there’s been a real buzz about the Toronto Blue Jays that I can remember in my lifetime. While I was around for the 1992 and 1993 World Series runs, I have no memory of these occasions, as I was too young at the time. The buzz of sports excitement in Toronto, for the longest time, has been towards the Toronto Maple Leafs. With a lockout occurring with no end in sight and a reinvigorated squad ready to compete in 2013, it may very well be the Blue Jays’ time to shine again in the great city of Toronto.
Update (5:22 PM): sportsnet.ca and all 4 regional Sportsnet channels will broadcast Tuesday’s 9:30 AM press conference, as tweeted by Mike Cormack.