Blue Jays: Can we get over Noah Syndergaard and move on?

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 20: Noah Syndergaard #34 of the New York Mets pitches during the second inning against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park on April 20, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 20: Noah Syndergaard #34 of the New York Mets pitches during the second inning against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park on April 20, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images) /

The Blue Jays traded oah Syndergaard to the New York Mets for .A. Dickey prior to the 2013 season. It’s a trade that still stings, but Blue Jays fans have gotta move on.

When your starting rotation is struggling as bad as the Blue Jays’ group has, it’s natural to look around the league and covet other arms. When there are talented arms on other teams that used to be under your umbrella, the frustration can magnify that much more.

I’ll still go on record saying that I believe the Blue Jays rotation will be a strength for the team in 2018, but there isn’t a rotation in baseball that wouldn’t benefit from who they faced off against last night, Noah Syndergaard. “Thor” was famously dealt to the New York Mets back in December of 2012 along with Travis d’Arnaud that brought R.A. Dickey to Toronto.

At the time, Dickey was coming off of a Cy Young award win in the National League, and the move made sense for the Blue Jays as they looked to contend. Unfortunately, the Blue Jays had a terrible 2013 season, and that trade will go down in infamy in Toronto as a franchise blunder. Dickey wasn’t horrible by any means, but without the success the Blue Jays had hoped the knuckleballer would bring, it was a risk that ultimately didn’t quite pan out even if they made the playoffs two seasons later with Dickey still around.

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I’ll admit that it’s tough to watch a guy with a 2.91 ERA in his first 70 career starts, and one that averages over 98 MPH with his sinking fastball, especially knowing he could have been a Blue Jay. For as great as he could have looked being teamed with Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Stroman and others in a young rotation, it doesn’t change a significant point.

We’ve gotta get over it as Blue Jays fans.

If you want to spend the next decade cursing the team every time you see Syndergaard pitch, then be my guest, but it doesn’t do any good. Having hindsight before these major decisions would be wonderful, but the fact remains that the Blue Jays felt they were contenders entering the 2013 season, and the GM at the time went out and got a Cy Young winner to bring to the rotation. It didn’t work out then, but there’s a good chance that without the aggressive moves by Alex Anthopoulos in 2012-13 (also had the major Jose Reyes-Mark Buerhle, etc) that the 2015 and 2016 success never happens. The franchise was more or less committed to trying to contend at that point, and the Syndergaard deal was an early part of that.

In a perfect world, the Blue Jays would have held on to him as well and he would have been around for the 2015-16 playoff pushes, and even now. Baseball doesn’t work that way though, and prospects rarely pan out, so the risk was worth it if you ask me. In fact, I said just last week to some friends that if the same scenario played out again, I would hope the Blue Jays wouldn’t let this deal affect how they handle things in the future. Anthopoulos took a shot, and it almost worked out.

And while we’re talking about ol’ AA, this is what really makes me laugh. I’ve read several comments on social media, some even directed at me, that the Blue Jays are stupid for letting him go. That’s fine if you believe that, and you’re correct on some level even if you agree with what I’ve written above, but who are “the Blue Jays” in this scenario? Is it Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins that are stupid, the current front office who wasn’t around at the time? Nah. Or is it Alex Anthopoulos, who now runs the Braves?

Obviously the majority of you are going to agree with the latter, and while it was a mistake to be sure, I wouldn’t say it was stupid at all. I’ve already said it above, but it was Anthopoulos’ aggressive moves that ultimately lead to the Blue Jays becoming a winner again, igniting interest in baseball across Canada in a new generation. While Syndergaard is a negative piece of that story, that decision was a part of the puzzle that ultimately lead the team to where they are now.

You can’t hit every pitch you swing at, and Syndergaard represents a big whiff during Anthopoulos’ time in Toronto. However, the former GM connected on a lot of swings too, including the signing of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., in addition to everything else that happened during his tenure. It will always be unfortunate that a talent like “Thor” got away, but there’s no sense dwelling on it any further.

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