To be frank, I’ve never understood the blind admiration some people have for our Blue Jay's GM, Alex Anthopoulos. Since his tenure at GM, the Blue Jays haven't been close to contending. I do like AA, and loved some of the
trades dumps he has made (Wells). However, I absolutely detest some (like the Napoli, Snider, and RA trades). No doubt about it, the 2013 Blue Jays team is AA's own team. Nobody else has any blame but him in putting it together.
Let's examine the top 15 AA trades and acquisitions since AA's GM tenure that built the 2013 Blue Jays:
1) The Doc Deal- On December 15, 2009, AA traded Roy Halladay to the Philadelphia Phillies for Kyle Drabek, Michael Taylor, and Travis D'Arnaud. Soon afterwards, he sent Michael Taylor to the Oakland Athletics for Brett Wallace, and in July 2010, traded Brett Wallace to the Houston Astros for center field prospect Anthony Gose. So far: With Drabek on the DL with his SECOND Tommy John surgery, only Gose has a legitimate chance to become an everyday Blue Jay. So ultimately, we traded the best pitcher in the game at that time, who led the Phillies to a WS championship, for Gose.
2) The Morrow Deal- On December 22, 2009, AA traded reliever Brandon League and minor league outfielder Johermyn Chavez to acquire Brandon Morrow from the Seattle Mariners. So far: My favorite AA trade without question.
3) The Yunel Deal- On July 14, 2010 AA acquired Yunel Escobar, and Jo-Jo Reyes from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for Álex González, and two minor league prospects: Tim Collins, and Tyler Pastornicky. So far: Yunel is now playing in the AL East with Tampa Bay. Gonzales torn his ACL with the Brewers...meh.
4) The Lawrie Deal- On on December 6, 2010, AA traded fan favorite starting pitcher Shaun Marcum to the Brewers in exchange for Brett Lawrie. So far: Marcum had 2 solid season in Milwaukee before moving on to the Mets. Lawrie, well...you know.
5) The Vernon Wells
Deal Dump- On January 21, 2011, AA traded the longtime face of the Blue Jays Vernon Wells and his remaining US$86 million over the next four years to the Los Angeles Angels for slugging catcher Mike Napoli and veteran outfielder Juan Rivera. He then sent Napoli to the Texas Rangers for pitcher Frank Francisco and Rivera to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a player to be named later or cash considerations. So far: Well, at the time many people believed AA was a genius for dumping Vernon’s salary on the Angels. I liked the trade. Wells is now back in the AL East with NYY and tearing up Blue Jays pitching. Napoli….well, as everyone knows, that was one of AA's biggest mistakes (AA's love to JPA clouded his judgement imho).
6) The Rasmus Deal- On On July 28, 2011 AA made two successive trades to acquire center fielder Colby Rasmus from the St. Louis Cardinals. In the first, the Blue Jays traded pitching prospect Zach Stewart and veteran reliever Jason Frasor to the Chicago White Sox for starting pitcher Edwin Jackson and infielder Mark Teahen. Jackson was then traded with relief pitchers Marc Rzepczynski and Octavio Dotel, outfielder Corey Patterson, and cash or three players to be named later to the Cardinals for Rasmus and relief pitchers Brian Tallet, P.J. Walters and Trever Miller. So far: The Cards won the WS, so clear win for them. Rasmus is frustrating to watch as he’s enamored with his HR swing that has way too many moving parts, so he strikes out A LOT. Edwin Jackson isn’t a top of the rotation pitcher, but he is a workhorse and for the most part keeps you in games, something that the Blue Jays desperately need this year.
7) The KJ Deal- On August 23, 2011, AA traded infielders Aaron Hill and John McDonald to the Arizona Diamondbacks for second baseman Kelly Johnson. So far: I miss Johnny Mac. Hill became an All-Star for the Diamondbacks and Kelly Johnson is now the starting left fielder for Tampa Bay, and oh yes, he’s tearing it up against the Blue Jays.
8) The Happ Deal- On July 20, 2012, AA traded for Happ along with Brandon Lyon, and David Carpenter, for Francisco Cordero, Ben Francisco, Asher Wojciechowski, David Rollins, Joe Musgrove, Carlos Pérez, and Kevin Comer. So far: Ironically, it is shaping up to be one of the best deals AA has made. Trash for something.
9) The Snider-for-Lincoln Deal- On July 30, 2012, AA traded fan favorite Travis Snider to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for pitcher Brad Lincoln. So far: Snider was never given a full season at the MLB level and was badly handled by AA. I'm glad he's getting a shot in the Pirates this year. Lincoln has the stuff, but lacks the mental aspect of the game.
10) The Delabar Deal- On the SAME day that Snider was traded, AA traded Eric Thames for Steve Delabar. So far: Moves like these I don't understand since both Snider and Thames were fighting for one spot.
11) The Maicier Deal- On November 8, 2012, AA signed Izturis to a three-year $9 million deal with a $3 million club option for 2016. His option has a $1 million buyout. So far: Overpriced for a mediocre utility man, and we're stuck with him for 2 more years.
12) The Jose Reyes Deal- On November 13, 2012, AA completed a blockbuster deal with the Miami Marlins, acquiring shortstop Jose Reyes, pitchers Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson, catcher John Buck, and infielder/outfielder Emilio Bonifacio in exchange for shortstop Yunel Escobar, pitcher Henderson Alvarez, catcher Jeff Mathis and four minor-league prospects. Cash was also sent to the Jays in the trade. So far: Buck is gone, Reyes is hurt until after the AS, Buehrle has just started to come around but receives no run support, JJ is hurt, and Bonifacio is meh. We wouldn’t be having this post if all was OK.
13) The Melky Deal- On November 16, 2012, AA signed outfielder Melky Cabrera to a two-year, $16 million deal. So far: As advertised. My favorite free agent signing ever by AA.
14) The Gibby Deal- On November 20, 2012, against ALL predictions, AA re-hired John Gibbons as manager of the Blue Jays, signing him to a two-year deal. So far: 24-33 record with questionable situational management. Would have liked to see Sandy Alomar in there (actually, Alomar and AA would surely bump heads in regards to JPA).
15) The RA Deal- On December 17, 2012, AA traded for the 2012 National League Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey from the New York Mets that sent prospects Travis D'Arnaud, Noah Syndergaard, minor leaguer Wuilmer Becrra and catcher John Buck to New York. Toronto also received catcher Josh Thole and minor league catcher Mike Nickeas in the trade. As part of the transaction, the Blue Jays signed Dickey to an extension worth a total of $29 million over 3 years with a $12 million 4th year option. So far: This is the one that hurts. Both D’Arnaud and Syndergaard were supposed to be the players Blue Jays would built up a team around, or at least that’s what they had us believe. So give 2 of the best for a 38- year old knuckleballer without a UCL? Time will tell.
Overall GM grade- C+
I know most of you love AA and will criticize this post; that's alright. It's more than just trades, so here are some of my biggest issues with AA's reign:
1) The obscure out-of-left-field trades that so far lead to mediocre players. Makes me wonder if he desperately wants to be credited for being the only one that was capable of finding another Bautista out of garbage.
2) The lack of depth in bench. Ever since 2009, we have had a very poor and weak bench. This has cost us dearly whenever one of our starting players gets injured.
3) Speaking of injuries, it seems that the Blue Jays have a disproportionate number of injuries, especially in the pitching department, that I think should merit a re-evaluation of our medical staff.
4) The abysmal handling of some of our top prospects, like Travis Snider.
5) His love for JPA.
But that's just my opinion.
What say you? Love AA? Me, not so much.