The non-waiver deadline has passed us by, and the Blue Jays remained relatively quiet opting to move two outfielders for two bullpen arms, addressing one of the Blue Jays most glaring weaknesses. However, this isn’t about what happened at the trade deadline, it’s about what didn’t happen and why.
Ironically enough, it was an interview by John Smoltz on MLB Network Radio today that really got me thinking. John Smoltz was a part of one of the most successful dynasties in baseball history during his time with the Atlanta Braves. He was an integral part in helping the Braves win 14 consecutive division titles from 1991-2005. During the interview he was asked his thoughts on the trade deadline, and how the Braves, who were notorious for being rather quiet at the deadline, approached it.
While I don’t have the direct quote, his sentiment was rather eye opening for me. He basically said that the Braves were quiet at the trade deadline because they didn’t want to give up future success for short-term gain, and with 14 straight post-season appearances you can’t argue that they weren’t at least successful in that regard. He also conceded there was a flipside to that argument in the fact that some teams would go all-in for their post-season run at the trade deadline and make the moves that made them better for the short term, but at the cost of future success, with most having to begin rebuilding soon after.
And while he conceded that some of those teams may have been teams that eliminated them in the postseason, or had more immediate success, the Atlanta Braves were undeniably successful in their own right. While the Atlanta Braves’ 14 consecutive division titles only netted them one World Series championship, that sustained success is something every GM strives for, and AA would certainly be happy with a similar record of sustained success.
However it wasn’t only Atlanta’s approach to the deadline that made them successful, they also had the talent to be successful. The reason I say this is because I believe the Blue Jays do as well, not only in the farm system, but right now. Now, I am very aware it doesn’t feel like it right now, not with the record hovering around the .500 mark and the lineup looking as feeble as ever, and leaving Seattle with another lost series, it is a tough time, but there is a silver lining.
As the trade deadline passed, the Blue Jays had 11 players on the Disabled List and all major league teams have an active roster of 25 players. The fact that almost half of a major league roster is on the disabled list, and that the “spare parts” have continued to keep this team in the hunt for a wild card berth should be a more celebrated accomplishment
Of the 11 on the DL are 3/5s of an opening day starting rotation and the Blue Jays MVP (and arguably a potential AL MVP). That type of loss to a starting rotation would cripple most major league teams, while losing your team’s most valuable player for an extended stretch in the middle of the summer would kill most fan’s hopes for a postseason berth but the Blue Jays and their fans, may not have thrived in the face of adversity so far, but they have certainly survived. Still dealing with the losses of Brandon Morrow, Drew Hutchison, Kyle Drabek, Jose Bautista, Luis Perez, Sergio Santos, Jason Frasor, JP Arencibia, the Blue Jays knew that the time to make a move for short-term gain wasn’t now. The return of healthy and rested players to the Blue Jays lineup will be huge boosts, but Jays fans should take solace in the fact that not only were the Blue Jays not sellers at the deadline like many suggested they may be, but that the Jays added two pieces to the puzzle that can help us now and continue to help us in the future, not to mention the addition of J.A. Happ, who I believe will see a bigger role handed to him in the future as he acclimates himself to the AL.
In short, Alex Anthopoulos has always stated that he isn’t building for one post-season appearance, he is building a team that will be a perennial post-season contender with a prolonged period of success, and if the 2012 season so far is an indicator of anything, it’s that Alex Anthopoulos will stick to his game plan unless something spectacular happens and changes his course.
You can follow Brandon on Twitter @Bam_86
*Shoutout to Steven McEwen for some fact-checking help. Follow him on twitter @SMcEwen_eh