After looking at what was the best move for the Blue Jays this off-season, it would only be fair to look at the worst move made since Ben Revere struck out looking, ending the Jays' playoff run.
Although no roster transactions manifest a clear screw up on the part of the Jays' front office, the dealings and eventual departure of former general manager Alex Anthopoulos have to be regarded as the worst "transaction," of this off-season.
As the story goes, many within Jays nation assumed a level of uncertainty when Mark Shapiro was announced to be the club's President following the 2015 season. Anthopoulos's contract was up at the end of the season, but how could he possibly leave the 6ix after creating the best Blue Jays team in over 20 years? How could he or David Price possibly walk away from all of that?
Well he did. After Rogers made a last-plea attempt at extending the architect of last year's happiness, Anthopoulos declined leaving a fan-base who only got a taste of winning thirsty for more with no clear path the next season.
He left the money. He left the security. He left the team he transformed from run-of-the-mill in 2009 to World Series caliber in 2015. It was shameful, shocking and worst, preventable.
Speculation can only be made as to why Alex walked away, but the common theory is that Anthopoulos wanted full reign of baseball operations the way he had under former President Paul Beeston. Conceivably, that liberal style of leadership wouldn't continue in 2016, as Shapiro, a baseball man himself, would likely want some say in the general decision making with the club once his contract began. Given that, it makes sense why Anthopoulos would want to move on to other things, which eventually included being made a part of the super front office with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
From the other side, maybe it makes sense why ownership may want to move on from Anthopoulos. Since he took over in 2009, payroll has increased $51 million and for what? In six seasons, ownership spent over $651 million, making a playoff appearance only once. With teams like the Pittsburgh Pirates and Baltimore Orioles--who have made more postseason appearances spending less--it may seem like a smart business move to change things up in hopes of creating success through younger, cheaper players.
That said, while it may be a rationally palatable business move, it was a terrible public relations one. Ownership created and facilitated this high-spending frenzy in 2012, allowing Anthopoulos to take on massive contracts in the Miami Marlins trade, furthering it with deals in each of the following years. If they didn't want to spend, rejecting Anthopoulos' massive trades was their prerogative. But they didn't; they let the pot boil to the point where it eventually worked and produced a playoff appearance. Then, they pulled the rug from under Anthopoulos, without hesitation, without justification.
That's the problem that most Jays fans have a hard time stomaching. Change is hard, but when it's sudden it makes it all the more hard to swallow. If Jays fans were able to get a real dialogue of what went on behind closed doors, maybe this would be easier to understand. Maybe it would be easier to move on from. But they can't. They can only speculate what happened. What was said. When you don't know the truth, the mind can create some truly miserable scenarios.
Fact is, the man that brought Blue Jays fans glory in 2015 is gone, potentially forever. While the pain of the ugliness of the situation may reside with time, it doesn't change its appearance as the darkest moment of this offseason.
Yet, we endure.