I was trying to figure out the last time I felt like this. Not as a baseball fan, but as a sports fan. Having a team going for it in the middle of the season is so invigorating. I feel like it's Opening Day, or game 1 of the playoffs. I am suddenly not getting enough baseball. I am looking forward to every game like it's April.
The only other time I felt like this was in 2002: I was a Montreal Expos fan then. The Expos somehow, despite all the talk about contraction, were close to the postseason. They were having a magical run to playoff baseball that was the closest I ever got in my coherent life. Then, it happened: they traded for Bartolo Colon, and they traded for Cliff Floyd.
I was on top of the world as a baseball fan. I didn't care about the prospects going the other way. I went to the United States the day they got Floyd. Even ESPN was talking about the Expos. It was surreal.
In the end the Expos didn't make the playoffs despite a great effort from Colon. But looking back, they weren't close to where the Blue Jays are right now. They were 6.5 games back of the division and 5 games back of the Wild Card (and back then there was of course only one). They were playing way over their heads and it all came crashing down.
That's not the case with this Blue Jays team. Heck, this isn't even like the moves Alex Anthopoulos made in 2012. This is a team that is legitimately one of the best in baseball that had one big hole: run prevention. By adding three pitchers and two defensive improvements, they have taken care of that. There is still a lot of time left in this season and are now two games behind hosting a one-game playoff and tied for a spot to play in it. Oh, and they have significant games against every team ahead of them. Nothing is out of reach.
Is there a risk in trading prospects? Of course there is. There is a significant chance that at least one of the Blue Jays farmhands traded away will become a star. But there is also a significant chance that the trades they have made can put them into playoff contention. I have confidence that this team can make the postseason. It's up to them to do it now.
I mentioned the Colon and Floyd trades. Everyone talks about the Colon trade because of Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips and Grady Sizemore. No one remembers the Floyd trade because Justin Wayne and Donald Levinski don't generate a lot of interest. Randy Johnson was a throw-in in the Mark Langston trade. The big haul was supposedly Brian Holman. That's the thing with prospects. You never know.
There are also other tangible advantages to the moves they have made. First, they make their roster happy. You can see a significant change in the Blue Jays bench now that these moves have been made. Should a team be motivated all the time? Of course. But at the same time, 162 games is a long season. Energy is important and they just got a big shot of it.
Also, for a club like the Blue Jays who aren't necessarily against spending money but have a problem getting players to commit to the city, having two months with David Price is huge. Having Price see the city, get to know the roster, and experience a big home crowd is worth as much as his pitching should be going forward.
Price will likely test the market but having him experience Toronto before free agency gives him one less unknown regarding Toronto and committing to play in a different country (and also remind him how much he loves that popcorn.)
The fact is, I think a chance at a playoff berth is worth the gamble. A lot of the variables you have in a trade like this in the offseason are not present now. You are fitting guys in. This isn't 2012. This isn't R.A. Dickey. This isn't Jose Reyes. It could take a few years before Jeff Hoffman or Miguel Castro or even Daniel Norris makes an impact. At that point, Jose Bautista could be gone. Edwin Encarnacion, too.
I am now looking forward to every Jays game the way I was in April. The way I was during that crazy winning streak. Alex Anthopoulos is all in and so am I.