By: Rossy Pasternak
In baseball news today, the Toronto Blue Jays announced that GM Alex Anthopoulos will be leaving the team after turning down a 5-year extension. In my opinion, Anthopoulos is one of the best GMs in the business today, and this loss is huge for the Jays.
Mark Shapiro, taking over as President for Paul Beeston, reportedly scolded AA for trading away the majority of the Blue Jays’ prospects this past year. Shapiro is right of course, as this season saw the losses of Daniel Norris, Miguel Castro, and Jeff Hoffman, among other young prospects. The cupboard is bare in Toronto when it comes to elite pitching prospects, and quality pitching is hard to find. In AA’s tenure, Jays’ fans also saw him deal away Noah Syndergaard and Travis D’arnaud, two integral parts of the NL Champion New York Mets this year. Syndergaard, nicknamed Thor, will be one of the best pitchers in the league soon, and D’arnaud is already a stellar catcher when healthy. That isn’t to mention the Miami Marlins blockbuster deal in 2012. Although none of the prospects in that deal became stars for Miami, the over-aggressive approach could have cost the Jays their whole future. Dealing away so many prospects over a short period of time is not the way to build a team for the future.
The positive to those deals came in the form of an exhilarating three months this season. Tulo, Price, Donaldson, Beurhle, Dickey, Revere, Hawkins, and Lowe all came from trades for prospects. That’s not to mention trades for early-season AL Rookie of the Year candidate Devon Travis, and 3rd starter Marco Estrada as well. All of these players are evidence that Anthopoulos is excellent at identifying talent via the trade market, and getting deals done. The trade expertise AA has shown has ignited not only a team, not only a city, but also a country; his country – Canada. Every fan in Canada right now would say that trading all of these prospects were worth it because of the last few months, and I would agree. However, if in two years, the Jays are struggling with an ageing core, and no young replacements because of these trades, fans will look back at these trades as the defining moment that the Blue Jays went all-in, and ruined their future.
So far, the trades made this season have been worth it, and will continue to be worth it, especially if David Price returns next year. Mark Shapiro is touted as a great baseball mind, and one of the better executives in the MLB and should be able to rebuild the prospect pipeline and position the Jays for an excellent future as well as a championship contending present. Shapiro should be careful though, if he continues on this path of tearing apart what the Jays’ brass have built in recent years, his tenure in Toronto could be short-lived. After all, it was AA who brought all these guys to Toronto. There’s definitely some part of them that feels loyal to AA and so Shapiro should be careful moving forward not to ruin any chemistry. It will be interesting to see where he goes from here. Does he hire a new general manager or does he name himself GM? It will be interesting to see how things play out this offseason.
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