At this time exactly two months ago, a day after the regular season ended, I sat here in a state of confusion as a Blue Jays fan because I was having a sense of deja vu. I expressed that I hadn’t lost my faith in Alex Anthopoulos but it was evident that the feel-good vibe of early 2012 had gone out the window and changes needed to be made.
We head into this winter with many more questions and concerns than 12 months ago and the only significant changes in the Blue Jays roster over the course of the season was another revamping of the teams bullpen. (Oct. 4, 2012)
It may not be clear but the frustration of a disappointing season was quickly setting in. I’ve never doubted AA to be a worthy MLB General Manager and Executive but after a season that didn’t add very much to my opinion, I needed something to happen to boost my confidence.
Time for Rogers to open up their wallets, AA needs to go shopping. (Oct. 4, 2012)
Sure I said it but did I really think that it would happen? Honestly, if you had asked me at the time I probably would have given you a “hell no, Rogers won’t spend this winter”. Never in my wildest dreams did I think AA would take on nearly $165 million in contracts by pulling off the biggest trade in team history.
Two top tier starters… TWO! A legit all-star calibre shortstop and former batting champ… WHAT?! A player with speed that can bat at the top of the order while playing both infield and outfield positions… KIDDING ME?! A backup catcher who had his career year with the Blue Jays…… Okay, maybe John Buck isn’t that big of a deal but I don’t doubt that he will be a serviceable backup on this ball club. As a cherry on top of this trade-pie, the Marlins felt gracious enough to send $8.5 million our way as well.
Now if we can fast forward to the day Bud Selig finally gave the trade his stamp of MLB approval, I would have been happy and content if AA decided to sit back and smoke stogies until pitchers and catchers reported.
Fast forward again to Nov. 16th… MELKY CABRERA! Even as I write this I can’t help but get a giddy smile on my face thinking about our newfound batting order, we now possess the last two NL batting champions (minus technicalities), both of whom will bat infront of Jose Bautista in 2013. With the addition of Melky, Emilio Bonifacio who I referred to as “a player with speed that can bat at the top of the order while playing both infield and outfield positions” will now be able to come off the bench and make spot starts where needed.
Add Esmil Rogers, Maicer Izturis, Jeremy Jeffress, Eli Whiteside and the additions of A.J. Jimenez and Ryan Goins as well as numerous other minor league signings and the 2013 40-man roster has received quite the facelift from last years version.
So what to expect as a Blue Jays fan between now and April? Hopefully AA can make a splash in the trade market because that is the only way he will be able to improve the starting rotation. I don’t expect much turnover as far as postion players but I’d bet everything I own that KJ won’t be around. I also think that John Farrell will be back as Manager but if that’s the case AA needs to extend his contract immediately. (Oct.4, 2012)
Okay, I understand nobody is perfect but I was pretty damn close wasn’t I? AA made his splash and KJ is gone forever but what about that John Farrell comment? At the time I honestly felt we needed to extend Farrell if he was going to be managing the club moving forward but as it became more and more evident that he had a foot (or two feet) out the door, a change needed to be made.
GIBBONS IS BACK! Wow… just wow. I don’t know if this was more of a surprise than the Marlins trade or Cabrera signing but it certainly put me in a state of shock. Amongst all the names flying around for who could fill the vacant Manager’s spot I never once expected John Gibbons name to be the final answer. Now that it’s happened? I couldn’t be more pleased. From all the reports about how well Gibbons handles his bullpen, his willingness to work a platoon situation and his straight-up-no-bullshit-attitude, I think he is the perfect fit for the Blue Jays.
The past two months have clearly been a whirlwind of excitement and renewed expectations. Fan optimism is at an all-time high since 1993 and I can’t help but wonder what the roster will look like another two months from now.
No matter what happens, I ask you to please buckle up because 2013 is going to be one helluva ride!