It was the great fall of 2012. The Toronto Blue Jays were the laughing stock of the American League East. The Orioles were in the playoffs, David Beckham was a member of the LA Galaxy, the L&L Flyers were just another rec hockey team, and the NHLPA exisited. The Orioles were bounced, Becks is gone, the Flyers are shattering numerous beer league records, and the NHLPA is having a vote to fake dissolve. Oh yeah, and the Jays are now the Las Vegas favorites to win the World Series.
I kid you not. Not the Angels, not the Dodgers, not the Giants, not the Tigers, not the Yanks, not the Sox, nobody else. The Toronto Blue Jays are the best team in baseball right now according to Las Vegas oddmakers. I don’t know if I personally would go that far, but Jays fans have to be over the moon about this offseason. And to think back at how it started is simply incredible.
When John Farrell left for that “better job” in Boston, they couldn’t have been lower. A season that was filled with so much promise for a team that some experts percieved was the best young team in baseball had become a nightmare by the end of the season. The team was destroyed by injuries in the 2nd half of the season. The lineup was decent, but moving forward the pitching staff was in shambles. Ricky Romero specifically had zero confidence in his arm.
Fast forward just 2 and a half months, and the Jays now might have the best pitching staff in the majors. Johnson, Buehrle, and now the NL Cy Young award winner R.A. Dickey. I’m not sure I have ever seen a team transformed so quickley. It’s been unbelievable how this team has gone from an absolute disaster, to now being the World Series favorites. And while the Marlins trade was pretty much a gift, the Dickey trade showed that Alex Anthopoulos has a brass set on him!
There are a lot of reasons to be scared off by R.A. Dickey. His best season has come at 37 years old, he has only been a high end pitcher for less than 3 seasons, Travis d’Arnaud is the best catching prospect in baseball, and AA had already put together a team that had the talent to contend in the American League. But he is going for it and when you go for it you better go all in. He has a good young catcher already in J.P. Arencibia (who this is a huge vote of confidence for), he has a lot of good young arms not only on the team but still in the system which make Syndergaard expendable, and by throwing John Buck in the deal they hardly take on any salary for next season by doing this deal.
In fact when you look at the deal, if Dickey continues to pitch at an elite level then paying him an average of only 10 mil a season over the next 3 years is a ridiculous bargain. And remember, while he is 38 he incredible rise is due to the fact that he only recently turned to the knuckleball. That’s when his career turned around and knuckleball pitchers can pitch effectively into their 40’s so to suggest that Dickey can keep it going for the next 3 seasons is very reasonable.
It’s a gamble by Anthopoulos without a doubt, but I love that he is willing to go all in like he has and watching him work over the years I can promise that he isn’t done looking to improve this club. The day the John Farrell move was done nobody anywhere could have guessed this team would be improved THIS much, THIS soon. It was the perfect time for Rogers to start spending the money. The Yankees and Red Sox are both down, and with the lockout on the Jays are able to grab all of the headlines in Toronto. An amazing turnaround in less than 3 months has everyone across Canada pretty jacked up for April, even if there won’t be playoff hockey.
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