David Price (2015)
At last in 2015, despite the Blue Jays fielding one of their more stronger lineups in recent memory with the likes of José Bautista, Josh Donaldson, and Edwin Encarnación, they had somehow underachieved for most of the year. As they headed towards the second half of the season sitting near a .500 record, but with the playoff spots still within reach, the Jays desperately needed a jolt to get them to the next level.
They certainly got it when Jays’ GM Alex Anthopoulos decided to practically empty the farm system to get the necessary pieces to convert them into a contender. One of the biggest acquisitions that took place involved getting five-time All-Star and AL Cy Young winner David Price from the Detroit Tigers. At the time, the Jays’ starting rotation was led by former NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey, along with veteran Mark Buehrle, but neither were close to the dominance that Price could provide to the team. With Price entering the picture, he became the ace of the pitching staff going forward, and he definitely proved his worth.
Price almost single-handedly took the Jays into the postseason, as he would go on to post an astounding 9-1 winning record, with a 2.30 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, while walking only 18 and striking out 87 in 74.1 innings of work. He would lead the Jays in going 40-18 down the stretch and finished atop the AL East standings with a 93-69 record.
Emptying the prospects cupboard to have a shot at championship glory is one thing, but having the daring gamble come through successfully is another. In this case, the Jays certainly won big time with this bet, as they most definitely would not have made it without the elite performance of Price.