Thursday, August 13, 2015

Instant Gratification

Although the MLB trade deadline was less than two weeks ago, the Toronto Blue Jays are getting all A's for their flurry of deadline deals. Since shortly after the trades were made, the Jays have won 9 games in a row and cut the deficit in the AL East from 6-1/2 games to a half a game. 

A General Manager wants to give his team the chance to win.  Alex Anthopoulos has done just that. Regardless of where the Blue Jays finish, these trades -- obtaining David Price, Troy Tulowitzki, LaTroy Hawkins, Ben Revere and Mark Lowe -- have pumped life into this franchise right now.  A franchise that is set to play their most important games in recent memory -- a sold-out weekend series against the Yankees with no less than first place on the line.

On the flip-side, the Yankees are in free-fall.  After standing pat at the deadline -- Brian Cashman's only acquisition, utility man Dustin Ackley, promptly landed on the DL -- the Yanks were swept by Toronto and saw their lead nearly vanish.  

But while you can already call the moves the Jays made a success, it's still too early to say whether Cashman's gambit was a failure.  If the Yankees hold on and win their division, it would be hard to argue with Cashman's strategy.  They were a first place team with a solid lead and didn't need to make a deal.  Or at least they didn't appear to need one at the time.

Fast forward a couple of weeks: Michael Pineda, one of the Yanks' few dependable starters, went on the Disabled List the day before the Jays landed Price.  The Yankees once-formidable offense all but disappeared, going 31 straight innings without scoring a run.  Even when that string was broken last night, and clutch Yankee hitters gave the team the lead in the 10th inning, previously unhittable closer Andrew Miller blew his first save.  Yet the Yankees finished the night still in first place.  

But questions remain: Can Mark Teixeria, who hasn't played a full season since 2011, continue his resurgence?  Can Alex Rodriguez, already 40 years old and having played twice as many games as he's played in the last two years, keep hitting, too?  How will 21-year old Luis Severino respond in the heat of a pennant race?  

So kudos to Anthopoulos and the Blue Jays for taking a shot and seeing it pay off in the short term.  By October, we'll know who was right.

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