I am slightly biased. Daniel Norris was my favourite Blue Jay since the great Aaron Hill, even though the lefty had only made a handful of appearances with the big league squad. I also love the promise of a bright future, maybe even more so than the feeling of a somewhat competitive present. I had seen Alberto Tirado in Dunedin earlier this year and couldn't wait to see him in the bullpen with the Blue Jays.
Despite all this bias, it still appears to me that Alex Anthopoulos took an essential shortcut this past week to try and snap the team's postseason drought and hold on to his job.
That's hardly a crime. If it works I'll also be the first to say he has bigger stones than I or anyone else reading this. Unfortunately, as someone who used to think the Jays young likeable general manager was a mastermind, I'm beginning to wonder if I was heaping too much praise on a man who still hasn't created a team that has done anything of note. I was right behind him in 2012, thinking it was the time to strike and proper context made even the R.A. Dickey trade somewhat defensible. Fool me once, maybe, but I'm cautious against being fooled again.
For a front office so steadfast on building a team the right way, every couple of years they seem to lose their direction and throw it all away when they even so much as sniff a chance at the postseason. It went horribly wrong once, with Anthopoulos and company being given a second chance to do it all again this year. If it backfires a second time it won't be the same people getting a third kick at the can.
When looking at the window of opportunity, the trade for Troy Tulowitzki is much easier to defend than the David Price deal as he'll be helping this team for a relatively long time. Regardless of what Jeff Hoffman does in Colorado, Tulowitzki has many seasons in Toronto to make Jays fans not care about what they gave up to get him. Price doesn't. The former Rays and Tigers ace could easily win all of his remaining starts this season and still be a complete and utter useless addition to the team if they fail to make the postseason. When considering what the Blue Jays gave up to get him, it's a little hard to get behind the deal. In a seller's market everyone knew it was going to cost a lot to acquire arms at the deadline, but losing endless amounts of strong pitching prospects for a moderate chance at a playoff run makes me feel all sorts of queasy inside. Simply calling up Norris would have minimized the incremental value that Price brings to the team.
Then on deadline day the team gave up a crop of lottery tickets for an unproven rental reliever in Mark Lowe. If you're going for broke you may as well really toss all the chips on the table, eh? If that wasn't enough, a few more arms were sent out of the organization for Ben Revere—a slight upgrade in the outfield which seemed hardly necessary.
Every disgruntled Blue Jays fan that was tired of stockpiling prospects while still losing games justifiably saw these trades and jumped right back onto the wagon (their seats have sat unoccupied since 2012), so it will never be a popular decision to oppose these deals. But a lot of those people admittedly don't care about the Blue Jays in 2016 or 2017 or 2018. To a certain extent, neither does Alex Anthopoulos.
These four deals, like 2012, look horribly bad until they turn out otherwise. Then they look like masterpieces.
For someone who is at risk of losing their job, that's hardly a bad gamble to make. For fairly risk-averse Blue Jays fans like myself, this coin flip has a frightening downside. The opposing side to this downside argument points out that in 2016 the team still has Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki and Devon Travis and Jose Bautista and Russell Martin. But they always had bats. They never had arms. And now they'll have even less in the future. This 2015 deadline will surely go down in the dictionary as the very definition of the phrase "all-or-nothing".
In poker when you go all in the stakes are high. If you win you reap massive rewards and look like a genius. If you come up short, you're finished. That's the price you pay for taking a risk. The Blue Jays front office went all in and are currently standing up waiting for the flop. If it doesn't turn out like they hoped, very few of them will be sitting back down at the table again when all is said and done.
Blue Jays fans will have to adopt a similar mindset, putting the blinders on and focusing on the next 60 days, it could get a little messy after that.