Thanks to the Blue Jays deciding to make all their news on busy weekends, I never really got the chance to digest all of this weekend's moves until recently and things still aren't clear in my head. Over the course of the past fews day while I received the constant news alerts on my phone of options picked up and favourite players traded or bought out I really only acknowledged the changes quickly before carrying on with the day. The return of Marco Estrada for Adam Lind had me racking my brain for the answer to the question of if Estrada was one of those good yet relatively unknown Brewers pitchers or not. The answer, as I summed up back when the team faced him in July, is that he isn't one of those pitchers and he actually couldn't be any less of a good fit for a ballpark like the Rogers Centre. Most certainly not as good of a fit as Adam Lind was on this baseball team.
Many people around here assumed that the decisions made with regards to the contract options would begin to make it a little more clear in terms of what direction the team was planning to take this offseason. Unfortunately the transactions completed by the Blue Jays did very little to signal any intentions, especially when textbook cases of contradiction start to come out like this one:
AA says #BlueJays weren't going to move forward with both Lind and EE, needed to create $ flexibility. Were going to trade or decline Lind— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) November 1, 2014
AA says Lind deal not about money but about reconfiguring roster— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) November 1, 2014
AA says McGowan declined because $4m was too much for role.— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) November 1, 2014
Assuming these are truths being told, then if Adam Lind's contract option was for slightly less money it still wouldn't have mattered and one of the best hitters in the league against right-handed pitchers would have been dumped. The reconfiguring of the roster thus far has included adding a similar player to Lind in Justin Smoak and adding another reliever who could be a starter (bringing the total on the team to about 14), while doing very little to solve the already existing weaknesses in the team.
To avoid this sounding like rage in the first week of the offseason, obviously the team is nowhere near being done 'reconfiguring' the roster and multiple more important moves will be made in the coming months. But after the moves completed this weekend, the attempt at creating roster flexibility looks to have mainly featured trading away an excellent platoon bat for cost-savings, while acquiring a reliever that can also start just hours after declining an option they held on a pitcher that filled the exact same role this year for about the same amount of money.
Financial flexibility hasn't really been achieved and roster reconfiguration hasn't exactly occurred either so it's not gotten much clearer where the team is headed. Some of the quotes coming from the front office are bordering on making it sound like a quick rebuild, while others signal an intention at clearing as much budget room as possible to make a larger move. Either way, these moves won't be the last ones made this offseason and they won't be the most important either. Three fan favourites are gone but relatively speaking, nothing irreplaceable has been lost and at the very least a small amount of financial room has been made (enough to make a few more waiver claims). The future of the Blue Jays seems to be hanging in the balance this offseason and the first slew of moves hasn't seemed to quell anyone's fears. This should be quite the ride.