In 2012, GM Alex Anthopoulos, like we, the fans should expect The Blue Jays to play playoff baseball. Toronto will in position for the post-season, even with the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees in the way, clearly the benefit of the front office. Anthopoulos’ vision is one we have lacked in major Toronto sports for a long time; he provides a confidence and a strong self-belief that this division is ours to take.
This is the most exciting time to be a Toronto Blue Jays fan in the city, for the first time in nearly twenty years. It’s clear that the front office is solely focused on getting to the playoffs, with the rapid decline of their rival competitors; the biggest wins will be had in free agency. The allegiance showed by the front office by staying together shows that now is the time for the Jays to claim the top of the AL East. 2012 has to and will be the season that fans have patiently waited for years.
Anthopoulos, and his assistant GM Tony LaCava have shown that they’re serious about staying together in Toronto and getting results. It’s very rare for a GM to change a team policy on the fly, but he made his intentions very clear, Anthopoulos’ power move to keep skipper, John Farrell from even having dialogue with the Boston Red Sox is his strongest message so far. His statement says boldly, that the team is serious about not just 2012, but developing something special for a long time.
Unlike Bryan Colangelo and Brian Burke, I salute the work that Anthopoulos is doing. While the other two guys have become personalities in Toronto, they have not actually built teams that are consistently improving. Proving to be a forward thinker, Anthopoulos is rarely heard, but his performance is loud. With his decision making, he differs from the two, because his vision is clear and the moves he makes support them. The vision of other two GMs is still questionable, but fans are always in full attendance for their games, unlike Anthopoulos, who has seen the Rogers Center significantly lacking fan support.
He has not compromised the team’s future by making bad trades or throwing good money over bad like the other guys, and unlike JP Riccardi, he is building a team that can realistically win now and win often. 2011’s mid-season Colby Rasmus trade makes it clear that Anthopoulos is playing chess, while Toronto’s other GMs are playing checkers.
The New York Yankee’s core of star players are at their decline, yet, make up almost the majority of the team’s payroll. The Boston Red Sox have a major front office recovery to undertake and major chemistry issues to resolve in the club house. The Tampa Bay Rays are merely over achievers, and the Baltimore Orioles are, well the Baltimore Orioles. All things combined propel the Jays to finally be in the situation where the playing field is as even as ever before.
This will be the year where the Jays make a serious playoff push. Playing in the AL East, however, comes with a price, and the team still must spend in the off-season. The Jays already have the catalyst and it is built to make a 2012 playoff run. The cagey Anthopoulos, can bring it all home in this off-season, to make a deeper playoff push he can remain silent, and let some money speak in free agency.