2015 Biggest Surprise: The Trade Deadline to End All Deadlines
Surprisingly, Alex Anthopoulos is unable to be in Toronto to accept this award. Tony LaCava will have to take it in his stead.
Too often during previous deadlines, fans would sit and watch competitors make moves to fortify their rosters while the Blue Jays brass sat back and watched the playoff chances slowly disappear. Given that the last attempt to make deadline trades to make the post-season push resulted in Esteban Loaiza coming to town, it can be understood why the Jays regimes wanted to wait and make sure they had the proper team in place before going for it.
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But the wait was long and painful. Instead of acquiring players, fans had to bid farewell to favored sons and disgruntled veterans. Names like Juan Guzman, Shannon Stewart, Eric Hinske, Scott Rolen and Aaron Hill all left for greener pastures around the waiver and non-waiver deadlines. Even when the Blue Jays were close, like in 2014, they refused to make a move splashier than Danny Valencia. Given Rogers Media’s reluctance to spend money on this team at the deadline, it was a wonder if they would ever use that war-chest of prospects to properly reinforce the team.
Then Troy Tulowitzki happened. I was in the first hour of my night shift when my phone buzzed and I went to see why my podcasts were interrupted. When I saw the report that Tulowitzki was on the way North, I nearly gagged on my Coke Zero. I couldn’t concentrate for a solid hour after that. I took all my allotted breaks early to try to get info on who was going where and how this move was possible. I was glued to my phone over Blue Jays news. It was inconceivable.
The fact that Tulowitzki had been acquired made it all the more shocking that David Price was acquired just two days later. Similar feelings hit fellow writer Sam Bruce. He said in casting his vote, “I remember having to take a moment to sit down at work after I got the news. [It was] totally unexpected, and in that moment it felt like anything was possible.” The Blue Jays had hope. What a novel concept.
The Blue Jays were expected to take the division after making those trades, as well as the moves for Mark Lowe and Ben Revere. What was surprising was how quickly the Yankees were reeled in after that. Was decimating the team’s pitching depth, especially among left-handers, worth it for a run that was cut short in the ALCS. The fact that question is even being asked is part of the biggest surprise of 2015.