Wednesday July 18 2012 : Should The Toronto Blue Jays Trade Their Youth For A Title Now?
As one of the top cities in the world, Toronto has ironically failed to have a championship team since the 1993 Blue Jays won the World Series. What should have led to a Canadian dynasty in America’s game instead turned into infuriation, as a dedicated fan base has dwindled over the past 19 years. However, during this current season, the current crop of players appear to have rallied around adversity, as despite a variety of serious injuries, the team is only two games out of the second wild card spot. With this being the closest the Blue Jays have come to making the playoffs, we wonder if they should trade off their youth for a chance at a title?
Toronto is blessed with having one of the most potent offenses and one of the top three minor league systems in the MLB. Yet for every positive comes a negative, as the team’s bullpen has been its Achilles heel for the past five years. Entering the season, the bullpen was seen as an area of strength, as Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos made sure to upgrade. Once the injuries to the starting rotation took place, fans, media and online horse betting enthusiasts alike, all agreed that for the Jays to have any chance this year, the bullpen would have to step up. Aside from the now injured Luis Perez, and set up man closer combination Darren Oliver and Casey Janssen the bullpen has once again been an area of weakness instead of strength.
Nevertheless, the Blue Jays are only two games back of the second wild card spot in the American League. What this indicates to us is that Anthopoulos may need to trade some of the prospects in order to bring in relievers that can shore up the bullpen. If Toronto were to trade struggling minor leaguers Chad Jenkins and Deck McGuire in separate trades with teams such as the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners, one has to believe the pitching would be upgraded. As it stands right now, the Blue Jays rank 27th in team pitching, yet still find themselves only a couple of games back of the wild card. Imagine what the team could do if they were willing to part with players further down the depth chart?
Aside from the bullpen, the Blue Jays starting rotation could also use an upgrade. We mentioned earlier, that the team sustained serious injury to the rotation earlier in the season. For those unfamiliar, Toronto lost three of its five starters in a span of four days in late May. As a result, the team has been using a carousel of relievers and minor league journeymen to fill the void. In our opinion, if the Jays were at all serious about contending this year, they would make trading for proven starters a priority at the trade deadline. If the price is right, as in players they could part ways with, then Toronto has to make those deals. GM Anthopoulos has built up as strong a minor league system as we have ever seen, but at some point he has to make a return on the big club.
There are two differing schools on how the GM should handle the 2012 edition of the Blue Jays, and both have solid arguments. One school believes that this year was never supposed to be the year the team actually contended, and they should continue to allow the top prospects to grow for next year. Conversely, if the Blue Jays once again stand pat and stay the course, it sends a message to the players that the team doesn’t actually believe they are good enough to make the playoffs. If this latter belief is how Blue Jays management feels, then the season is already lost for another consecutive year.
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