How the Jays Managed to Blow a 10-Player Trade
July 21, 2012INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
It's probably not a healthy habit, but it's tough to look at baseball trades, especially deadline trades, and not immediately flip over to one detail: Who are the general managers that made them?
Such is the case for Friday's 10-player swap between the Blue Jays and Astros. Alex Anthopoulos has earned a reputation as a darling of analytical circles for some of the moves he's pulled off. He's inked several key Jays players to team-friendly, long-term contracts (most notably the five-year, $65 million deal he gave Jose Bautista after Joey Bats's huge 2011 breakout that now looks like a colossal bargain); swiped Colby Rasmus from the Cardinals in a shrewd buy-low move; and pulled off one of the best dump trades in recent baseball history, dropping $86 million worth of busted Vernon Wells into the Angels' laps. Meanwhile, the Astros are run by a group of decision-makers with sparkling reputations: Jeff Luhnow, who played an integral role in the Cardinals' success of the past few years, is the general manager; Sig Mejdal, who's had chunks of a whole book written about his bookish wisdom, is Luhnow's top lieutenant; and Mike Fast, a PITCHf/x guru who authored some of the most influential studies in the field of baseball analysis, was snatched away to do Houston's bidding behind closed doors. When these kinds of people make a big move, the tendency is to search for some brilliant, hidden motive beyond the obvious. That's either giving people credit for past work, or an appeal to authority. Neither's all that fair.
So, in the spirit of fairness, I'll offer this: The Jays may have blown it here.