Happy New Year! Let’s hope it will be that for us Jays fans. While it could have started off better, I’m already sick of naysayers crapping over the one thing the team has done so far- the Washington trade. It all comes down to context. If Toronto had to scramble to score runs and was over-run with high-end pitchers, this might have been a bad trade. But in the real world, the trade was a steal for the Blue Jays. Ben Revere was entirely unnecessary to the team, given Jose Bautista in right, should-have-been Gold Glover Kevin Pillar in center and probably Michael Saunders – remember him?- in left. that leaves Dalton Pompey or Esquiel Carrera as chief candidates for backups… and Chris Colabello can help out in a pinch. Not to mention up-and-coming, speedster Anthony Alford (number two on the team’s own prospects list) possibly being ready for prime time this year. Pompey gives the team the speed Revere added at about $4million less per year– and he’s a hometown boy to boot!
In exchange we get a hard-throwing reliever who’s happy to leave his former team, a guy who has 95 saves in his six seasons with a highly respectable 3.02 ERA. Last season he finished off righties to the tune of a .146 batting average , while struggling with lefty hitters a bit. He also notched 29 saves with Washington before being shunted out of the closer role by hothead Jon Papelbon. Drew Storen significantly boosts the Jays bullpen.
However, I reserve the right to reconsider the wisdom of the new regime if this trade is only setting up a way to get rid of RA Dickey, or any other seasoned starting pitcher. Toronto has the hitting to go all the way in ’16. The question mark is in pitching, so it’s the hope here their resolution is to beef up the pitching staff- not make it thinner still.
My thoughts on this year’s Hall of Fame selection, up next