The Toronto Blue Jays are making improvements in a less than flashy manner and that could lead to exciting times
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The Toronto Blue Jays currently sit 4 games back of the AL Wild Card race and 9 games back of the division leading Red Sox. On paper, there is a lot of ground to make up, but in reality, this Blue Jays team is young and talented and perfectly capable of making some noise. They have obvious needs heading into the July 31st Trade Deadline and, while there is opportunity for a big splash, the club has taken the boring road to improving thus far…and that could be exciting.
With pitching being an obvious need, specifically in the bullpen, the Blue Jays have pulled off a couple of minor trades that could play huge dividends for them. Firstly, sending Joe Panik and Andrew McInvale to Miami for Adam Cimber and Corey Dickerson (and his nearly $10M salary). While the addition of Dickerson creates some interesting questions about which Blue Jays outfielder could be made available in trade talks, it is the addition of Cimber that fills a bigger need.
As JFtC’s Jim Scott already pointed out, Cimber could be an exceptional fit for the Blue Jays. Cimber’s ability to throw from a funky arm angle and induce ground balls could prove to be very effective in the middle innings. He isn’t a flame throwing back end closer type, but that is OK. At this point, a mid 3 ERA reliever that doesn’t walk the opponent’s entire batting order is a massive improvement over, say Tyler Chatwood. Whatever manner in which Dickerson helps this Blue Jays club, Cimber will arguably provide a much more needed improvement. And, before the end of June trade, how many Blue Jays fans even knew who he was? And, how many will miss Panik…or McInvale?
Fast froward a little bit and the Blue Jays jettisoned Rowdy Tellez to the Brewers for Trevor Richards and Bowden Francis. This one might have stung Blue Jays fans a bit more since there is a segment that really believes in Tellez. But, whether you believe or not, there simply was no room for him on this roster. What there IS room for is a righty reliever with an 11.65 K/9, a 1.14 WHIP and a FIP of 3.76. He does have a save this season, but given the usage of bullpens around baseball, that doesn’t mean he’s a closer.
Instead, the Blue Jays have picked up two relievers – and given up pieces that have no impact on their present or future success – who come with years of team control. As well, both new guys can be used in multiple innings/bulk situations. That kind of flexibility is something this front office likes and could use not only this year, but in the next couple.
These two relievers make the Blue Jays better. Period. They are not flashy names like Craig Kimbrel or even Richard Rodriguez. But, they don’t need to be. There is still lots of time for the Blue Jays to make that big splash that fans want to see- the kind of splash that ramps up excitement, one that could coincide with the team returning to Toronto. There’s time for that.
There are also pieces remaining that the Blue Jays could use to make such a move. The improvements they made come at a minimal cost to the organization. Sure, some people may be a fan of Tellez, or even Panik (not sure how many McInvale fans are out there), but if you look at this objectively, the Blue Jays got better without losing significant prospect capital. The exciting trade could still happen. But, we also have to remember that the cost to trade for an elite talent could be incredibly high, which could make things rather difficult for a Blue Jays front office that covets their prospects. If that is the case, I’d rather see the Blue Jays take the chances to make improvements when they can instead of banking on a big fish. I’ll take boring all day, every day.
These two moves are exciting. They’re not exciting because of the names involved. One could argue that the names involved make the deals seem more pedestrian than they are. These are exciting because they improve the club’s playoff push AND leave room for the bigger, sexier trade(s) that can still happen. But, even if it doesn’t happen, this Blue Jays team is better than it was before these boring deals were made and that is exciting.
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.