Moving your Opening Day starter and nominal ace takes a certain amount of guts. Doing it in consecutive years while remaining steadfast in building is damn near impossible. Alex Anthopoulos clearly has these guts to make these challenge trades and keep reaching for the Outer Chutlosphere of elite talents.
That's a good thing for a man in his position. Take this money quote from his interview with Jonah Keri for Getting Blanked (read every day, I post twice a week)
Because of the division we play in, the teams they put together, we need to get as much upside as we can. There’s a risk component involved, that’s part of it. But we’d rather shoot high and miss.I don't think anyone — after spending more than 30 seconds thinking about it — would disagree. That doesn't make it easy. For Anthopoulos and his team, sure. But for us, too.
If we were in a different division, our strategy could probably be tweaked. But the win totals required to get into the playoffs in the AL East, they’re 95 and above. You can build a very good team, and we have...You certainly can get into the playoffs with 88 wins elsewhere. In this division, you need to be that much better.
This age of baseball enlightenment is a great thing but it comes with a price. How much has the average Aware Blue Jays fan invested in Travis Snider? How many hopes have we pined to his barrel chest? How long did the average Blue Jays fan spend talking themself into Shaun Marcum, Nominal Ace?
Like the Tao said on Twitter, we wanted the new regime to be bold. I don't think any of us new exactly what we were in for now that they are. It isn't that I'm attached to Shaun Marcum in any way. The "flu-like symptoms" thing got tiresome though I admire the considerable chip on his shoulder.
It should make for some entertaining interviews in the near future. Shaun Marcum strikes me as a guy who spends most of the day operating at or near "seething contempt."1
But saying good bye to Shaun Marcum is one thing. Loading up a package for Zack Greinke might just be another. Greinke, Upton, any potential game-changer. Loading up a basket full of kids and making a run at it makes my blood run a little cold. It seems so soon! Are they ready?
Obviously the braintrust knows much better than I. Perhaps I like the safety and security of perpetual re-building? Spared from the rigors of contention and the tortures of pennant races; baseball fits my little life perfectly. Making plans, stopping life to suffer through 3.5 hours of potential agony? Yikes.
Call me a coward if you must, but my thick layer of ironic detachment didn't get there by accident. Worse than getting close and missing? Missing all together. Those of us who remember the 2006-2008-era Jays for what they are realize there's no glory in an honourable death.
1 - I know he's saying All the Right Things now, but he's got some hate in him. Book it.
You'll never guess where the image came from. Dogs on Skateboards!