We recently had a reader/fan request Jays Journal write a piece on the current Toronto Blue Jays regime of Paul Beeston and Alex Anthopoulos guarantee of the Blue Jays making the playoffs 2-3 times over a five seasons span, but two seasons into that five season span they have failed to deliver on this guarantee. As I am a huge Alex Anthopoulos support I would have delivered a very bias argument. So in an attempt to eliminate a bias approach to this piece it was decided that it would be best to have two of Jays Journal’s more talented writers take the lead on this story, but since they’re all to busy trying to keep track of all the free agents Alex Anthopoulos is going after, you’re stuck with Shaun and me.
RM: I really don’t like when fans, talk show hosts, players, or management figure heads make predictions because if/when they fail to reach their goal(s) they just look like idiots. After all what exactly did Blue Jays fans expect Paul Beeston to say? “Well guys the next couple years we are going to field a tatelizing baseball team that will contend and if we get lucky we might even be able to sneak into the playoffs for the first time in 20 years, if we’re lucky.”
SD: What was funny about this at the time was AA’s reaction to the statement. He kind of did a double as if he couldn’t believe Beeston would say such a thing. While it may be a bold statement and, in hindsight, looks silly. It was certainly a goal worth putting out there. Why shouldn’t they be making the playoffs? They have a good base of talent. They have the financial ability. They also have developed a good crop of young talent to use as they wish. AA has said that they can be used as bait. Right now, we’re about to enter the 4th year in that 5 year window. So, making the playoffs this season and next would still fall into that goal.
RM: Your right Shaun. Playoffs in 15 and 16 would equal success. Fans should give AA some props for not selling the farm In 2014 just to get into the playoffs. I would rather contend for 5 plus years than get eliminated in the one game wild card playoffs or even get swept in a best of 7 series.
SD: True true. He didn’t give up a king’s ransom for a one game playoff. However, when you’re told that the team will contend and make it to the playoffs and they do absolutely nothing since then to live up to that, it leaves a sour taste. This year might be the year when it all comes together. they have the future financial wiggle room to go big in free agency. they also have that well stocked system to pull off trades.
RM: So which avenue should this team travel down? The trade route, which Alex has openly said he prefers, or the Free-Agent route, which Alex has tried to avoid because he feels it drives up salaries.
SD: He may have to go back on his preferences. Unless he want to completely undo all of the good work he’s done building the system, he’s going to have to jump into the free agency pool. And, this might be the best all around option. Doing so allows him to keep his prospects. With the aforementioned financial wiggle room, there is lots of money available for the end of those deals. And, the biggest bonus: they send the message to their fan base (and other players) that they are in it to win it. This means that Beeston just wasn’t blowing smoke. Spending is not a guarantee. This we know. And, if you go that route, you’re limited to only so many options. Trades open up a few more possibilities. However, fans can accept spending and failing. They cannot accept sitting by and watching moves pass us by. The waiting game AA has been playing over the last 2 years is what is frustrating. We can accept failure. We can’t accept not trying, which is what it has looked like.
RM: Fans will not accept anything short of playoffs in 2015,but I hope that you aren’t suggesting that fans will still be satisfied with this team come the Trade Deadline. They won’t be. It won’t matter what FA or how many FA Alex signs this off-season. Come the trade deadline this fan base will be begging Alex to mortgage the future for a taste of the playoffs, again.
SD: But, it is MUCH harder to improve your team mid season. The time to do so is now. If he does his job well enough in the winter, the Trade Deadline should just be for minor tweaks or insurance. And, your fear of mortgaging the future can be set aside if the bulk of improvements come via free agency. Again, no guarantees, but I’d pay a bit more in dollars to keep the talent I worked so hard to collect and build if I were Alex Anthopoulos. That is, of course, if AA has as much control as fans seem to think he does.
RM: agreed. but if the 2015 edition of the Blue Jays comes up short, is that it for AA? Is time for a change of management?
SD: If he follows my advice, the team’s failure, if any, will not be his fault. Of course, if he can’t get anything done because of ownership, then he shouldn’t be in danger since they’re the ones who decide his fate.
RM: I hope that you’re right. Alex has done more good for this organization than bad. He did what every fan was begging him to do and added to the payroll. When his gamble didn’t pan out the fans turned on him and called for his job. I fear that Alex will be the scapegoat if there are playoffs in 2015. If he isn’t fired, I fear that the fan base will turn on this team like a rabid dog.
SD: The Blue Jays can still make good on the Beeston statement. They are running out of time, though. This 5yr window (although purely arbitrary and random) is closing quickly. This off season will be very telling. Big moves will indicate a serious win now mentality that has been missing. AA is not going to make big moves just for the sake of it. He’s not going to do it to satisfy raging fans, either.
RM: Win or loss. Playoffs or no playoffs. Big fish or Small fish. White fish or Blue Fish. I will not throw Alex under the bus….but I will sing his praises while I eat my Blue Jays eggs and ham.