Toronto Blue Jays: A clear plan for new management
Alex Anthopoulos shocked the baseball world twice this year — first at the trade deadline by completely reinventing the Blue Jays, and then as the offseason began, by moving on from his post in Toronto. Losing Anthopoulos is a big blow for the Blue Jays because he was a fan favorite in a way that most general managers are not. The Blue Jays just now seemed to be grasping their status as a big market powerhouse, but will have to proceed without the man who was aggressive enough to invigorate the franchise with aggressive moves.
David Price was the biggest addition at the deadline. The Troy Tulowitzki move showed that the Blue Jays were going for it, but he has never been able to stay healthy, and playing on the concrete carpet at the Rogers Centre will not be great for the shortstop’s joints. Tulo was shocked by the trade, and if he was being honest, would probably admit that he would have preferred to end up with the Yankees. It will remain to be seen if the Blue Jays trade of one injury-prone shortstop for another will pay off in a huge way.
Toronto could stand to lose up to three members of the starting rotation this winter. Price will probably not return. Marco Estrada gets to test free agency after an excellent year. Toronto would certainly like to have him back, but this is Estrada’s one big shot at life-changing free-agent money. The crafty right-hander needs to get the best deal for himself, as it is likely the last big contract he will sign. Mark Buehrle waffles on retirement every winter at this point in his career, and it’s still not clear what he plans to do this winter. Being left off the postseason roster might not help Toronto’s cause in convincing the veteran left-hander to return for one more year.
The new front office of Mark Shapiro and Tony LaCava will have their work cut out for them in keeping the momentum going in Toronto. The Blue Jays had the best offense in the league by a wide margin even before the trades that reshaped the roster. The pitching staff was a huge question mark, and will likely be so again next year. There are a few years left in the Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion window, and both are under relatively cheap contracts. Now is the time for the Blue Jays to continue being aggressive, but with uncertainty in the front office, will Toronto be able to attract any big names to Canada?