On the Blue Jays and Going For It


Dec 6, 2011; Dallas, TX, USA; Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos answers questions during the MLB winter meetings at Hilton Anatole. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

The Blue Jays have made a rather large baseball trade. It is notable in both name value and monetary value. It is as risky as it is large. The Jays seemed to have called up the Marlins, or the other way around, it really doesn’t matter. The Marlins said, hey, we want to unload all of our large contracts, we don’t want to pay anybody. To that, the Blue Jays seem to have said, Ok, send them over, we’ll pay them. That’s about it. No doubt it’s more complicated than that, but for most intents and purposes, the Marlins dumped salary, and the Blue Jays picked it up. Such a move could make or break the franchise in the coming years. They could end the playoff drought and reward fans for decades of loyalty, or they could tank and lose all sight of hope. There is some extreme stuff going on in the Great White North. And why not?

This is a post in favor of such boldness. Blue Jays General Manager Alex Anthopoulos runs a team in the American League East. Home of the monster Yankees and monster Red Sox and relentless Rays and surprise Orioles. Something tells me that he’s aware of his situation, aware of the unique challenges. I believe he has surveyed his division and he has seen weakness. He sees a Red Sox organization in turmoil, an aging Yankees squad, a Rays team poised for restocking (as much as they ever are), and an Orioles team unlikely to replicate last season’s good fortune. In one of the most difficult divisions in all of sports, AA sees a moment to strike, a moment where the reward outweighs the risk, and he has made his move.

And good for him, by God. There are some who would defend the Marlins side of this trade on purely baseball grounds, and they might not be wrong. They would take stock of the aging, risky, volatile and expensive players the Blue Jays acquired and they would be skeptical that such a move would make the Blue Jays title contenders,  and they would once again perhaps not be wrong. These baseball trades are tricky. Flip a coin, maybe, or maybe don’t. None of us can predict the future. No matter the risk, however, there is reason to applaud going all in. Not in every instance, of course, risk for risks sake is not a smart way to conduct business—but when going all in is a calculated, considered, and well reasoned course of action, we should take a moment to admire the gumption. Fortune, and baseball operations, favors the bold. Too often baseball teams are content to cash checks, make money, and care little for winning baseball games (and also, you know, there are fans out there somewhere). Pushing off the cliff is a scary thing to do, but if you’ve made your calculations, double-checked your safety measures, and have confidence in your process, then why the hell not? As Professional Blue Jays Fan Navin Vaswani recently stated: Eventually, you have to jump.

Kyle writes baseball nonsense at The Trance of Waiting. You can follow him on Twitter @AgainstKyle.