Jul 5, 2012; Toronto, ON, Canada; Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion (10) and right fielder Jose Bautista (19) wait to bat from the on-deck circle against the Kansas City Royals at the Rogers Centre. The Royals beat the Blue Jays 9-6. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY SportsWhenever fans talk about approaches their team could have taken in an offseason, it’s always scenarios that would make them better next season or just as good but with different players acquired.
So for the sake of being different let’s think of an approach the Blue Jays could have taken this offseason to take a step back.
At the end of the 2012 season, even the most optimistic Toronto Blue Jays fan couldn’t be blamed for thinking the Blue Jays weren’t going to be ready to contend in 2013. The Blue Jays finished the 2012 season with just 73 wins with a very thin and non-threatening rotation with no left fielder or 2nd basemen.
Throw in the fact that free agents just aren’t coming to Toronto and that you usually need to trade a lot of prospects or players for just one great player, and it just looked like the Blue Jays had too many holes to fill in one offseason to be ready to contend in 2013.
Until the Blue Jays found a Miami Marlins fire sale. The Blue Jays acquired enough talent in that one trade to make them look like a team that could contend.
The funny thing is that the Miami Marlins won 69 games in 2012, just 4 less than the Blue Jays. Like the Blue Jays they looked like a team that had too many holes to fill in just one offseason to be able to contend in 2013.
Obviously the Blue Jays and Marlins took different approaches to their offseason. The Blue Jays decided they were going to add payroll to make their 2013 team better. The Marlins decided they had too many holes to fill so they’d be better off dumping salary and rebuilding. Even if the players they were trading weren’t great enough to get a big enough ransom to contend soon.
Imagine if the Blue Jays decided to go with that approach instead. The Blue Jays like the Marlins don’t give no-trade clauses so they’d be able to trade whoever they want to.
Unlike the Marlins if the Blue Jays had a fire sale it probably wouldn’t take that long for them to build a contender as it looks like it’s going to take the Marlins.
Consider the ridiculous ransom the Kansas City Royals gave to the Rays for Wade Davis and 2 years of James Shields. You’d have to assume the Blue Jays would cash in big time, trading arguably the best hitter in baseball, a player coming off a 42 home run season, an up and coming young pitcher with ace stuff and a middle of the rotation starter. All of whom have team friendly contracts and are under contract through at least 2015. The Blue Jays could practically pick all the prospects and big league players they want in that fire sale.
Alex Anthopoulos also has a reputation for getting as much as possible in trades. So you know if he sent that much cheap controllable high level talent packing in trades the Blue Jays would be getting a LOT more significant talent in return than the average GM would get.
If the Marlins didn’t have their fire sale the Blue Jays probably couldn’t have done enough this offseason to be a contender in 2013. Every Jays fan in his right mind would say a fire sale wouldn’t have been the answer. When you consider the level of talent the Blue Jays would have traded in a fire sale though it’s not that crazy to think they’d get enough talent in return to be a contender sooner rather than later.
But of course we’ll take being “World Series favorites” over that scenario.