Jul 25, 2012; Toronto, ON, Canada; Toronto Blue Jays left fielder Travis Snider (45) before playing against the Oakland Athletics at the Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY SportsRight now fans of the Toronto Blue Jays are overwhelmed. Alex Anthopoulos has gone all out this offseason in making the Jays a playoff contender. The reason it’s overwhelming is no one saw all these big offseason moves coming. If you think back to July though you could see some clues that the 2013 roster was in for a shakeup.
In July despite Brandon Morrow, Drew Hutchison and Kyle Drabek all being injured the Blue Jays offense was good enough to let them hover around 500 and stay in contention, just being a few games back of a 2nd wild card spot. Due to the Blue Jays lack of pitching the Jays traded Francisco Cordero, Ben Francisco and 5 prospects to the Houston Astros for J.A. Happ, Brandon Lyon and David Carpenter. It wasn’t a move that was really going to help the Blue Jays playoff chances but they needed some pitching depth. It also showed AA’s willingness to move prospects, something he wasn’t willing to do during the last offseason. It was really the first time AA had moved multiple prospects for big league talent. So you could see that was going to be a real possibility this offseason.
Then in little more than a week later Travis Snider was pulled from a game because he got traded to the Pittsburg Pirates for reliever Brad Lincoln. Later that night Eric Thames who was in the minors was traded to the Seattle Mariners for reliever Steve Delabar. As badly as Snider and Thames had underperformed during their time with the Blue Jays, trading them for relievers seemed like an overpay. The trade also created a hole in left field.
What we didn’t realize when the trades first took place is that Lincoln and Delabar are both good, young, cheap and under control for a long time. Saved money on relievers would give the Blue Jays some more financial flexibility (wink wink). You also don’t go trading “starting” position players for relievers unless you plan on contending very soon. You also don’t purposely leave a hole in any position on the field unless you plan on finding an upgrade which the Blue Jays ended up doing with Melky Cabrera.
Turns out AA wasn’t just getting rid of players and prospects and collecting relievers for the sake of it. He was just getting started in whats turned out to be a big offseason.