Last year, the Boston Red Sox made the splash of the offseason by acquiring Chris Sale from the Chicago White Sox. A move that magnitude had ripple effects throughout the American League as one of the best pitchers in baseball found a new home in the AL East.
Now it appears that same thing is happening this year, except one of the best hitters in baseball will soon be a resident of the American League East.
By all accounts, it sounds like the New York Yankees are *this close* to getting Giancarlo Stanton from the Miami Marlins. If you woke up this morning to learn the news and you aren’t a Yankees fan, you may have just rolled back over into bed and wished it was just a dream.
If Stanton is in fact coming over to the Yankees, it’s horrifying news for opposing pitchers within the American League East. Not only will they now have to face Stanton potentially 18 times a season, but this move significantly beefs up the Yankees’ World Series aspirations.
So, what does this mean for the Blue Jays? It means a division rival is now that much stronger and Stanton is around to terrorize Toronto pitchers for the next ten years.
That’s an extremely scary proposition for a team like the Blue Jays who were on the bubble as a Wild Card before. Stanton increases the Yankees playoff odds and the Angels landing Shohei Otani increases theirs. The Yankees and Angels are two teams the Jays are potentially battling for a Wild Card.
If anything, the Blue Jays might be one of the most capable pitching staffs in the AL East to contain Stanton. The Jays have a slew of power-pitching right-handed starters and relievers, which seem to be Stanton’s only weakness.
This all might seem like dreary news for the Blue Jays, but those transactions were out of their hands. The Jays may have attempted to make a play for Otani or even Stanton, but they can’t help where those players go. It just so happens one of those players landed in one of their rivals’ backyard.
It’s disparaging to see the reigning NL MVP find a new home in the Bronx, but 2017 was only the second season in the past six where Stanton has played a full year. He’s been injury-prone his entire career; it just so happens he was able to put it all together in 2017 and avoid the disabled list.
Of course, there’s going to be a little bit of jealousy and envy that the Blue Jays haven’t yet or may not make a move of that magnitude. The Jays still have a lot of work to do to get their roster to resemble anything close to a playoff contender. Despite Stanton going to the Yankees, there is still hope for the Blue Jays in 2018.
Whenever a move of this magnitude happens to a division rival, there’s a tendency to want to match or one-up that team by making a move of equal importance. But the second the Blue Jays get involved with a sword fight with a monolith like the Yankees, they’re bound to lose.
If the Blue Jays go out and make a retaliatory trade or signing to combat the Yankees getting Stanton, it’s bound to end badly. No matter what moves the Yankees, Red Sox or any other competitor makes, the Blue Jays have to stick to their plan (whatever that may be).
Unless the Jays were already contemplating trading Josh Donaldson before, the Stanton trade shouldn’t change their minds. To wave the white flag before the season has even started would be foolish. To make moves based on other team’s transactions is an extremely dangerous way to shape a roster.
After trading for Stanton, there’s a sentiment that this is the time for the Blue Jays to begin the process of an entire rebuild. That’s assuming two things: one, the Yankees will run away with the division uncontested, and two: the Blue Jays are bound to fail.
Just think back to what happened during the 2012 offseason for the Blue Jays. Once they reshaped their roster by acquiring high impact players from the Marlins and the Mets, the Jays were declared as World Series favourites. They went on to win 74 games and finished last in the division.
I’m not saying the Yankees will suffer a similar fate, but maybe we should let things play out before declaring the Yankees as 2018 World Series Champions and the 2018 Toronto Blue Jays as complete and utter failures.