Blue Jays all in with 20 percent roster overhaul
Tulo, Price make big splashes while Toronto adds key pieces in 'pen, outfield
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays had every intention of being extremely active prior to this year's non-waiver Trade Deadline, but nobody could have predicted that Alex Anthopoulos would make this many moves in such a short period of time.
Anthopoulos finalized four trades prior to Friday's 4 p.m. ET Deadline. He acquired the top position player available in Troy Tulowitzki and the top pitcher available in David Price, but he didn't stop there. Toronto also bolstered its bullpen with Mark Lowe and LaTroy Hawkins, while upgrading left field by trading for Ben Revere.
The magnitude of these deals is shocking enough, but they become even more stunning when compared to last year's approach. In 2014, Toronto also found itself in contention, but it seemed to be maxed out on payroll and wasn't able to get anything done. Anthopoulos made sure that history wouldn't repeat itself.
"That was definitely part of the thought process," Anthopoulos said when asked if he purposely saved available funds and prospect capital during the offseason. "We were very careful. We made some moves in the offseason, but we were very careful with what we did and we just wanted to be very confident in what prospect capital we used, what dollars we used.
"Ultimately, we felt that no matter how good you feel about your team, come July, players get hurt, players aren't performing, you're going to have needs. So we wanted to give ourselves as much flexibility as we could, and I think so far it worked out."
The whirlwind week began early Tuesday morning when Anthopoulos traded right-hander Jeff Hoffman and a package of top pitching prospects for Tulowitzki and Hawkins. Another shocker came Thursday when left-hander Daniel Norris and two additional prospects were sent to Detroit for Price. The final pieces were put in place Friday afternoon by inserting Lowe and Revere into the mix.
Toronto added approximately $8.5 million in payroll for the remainder of the year and dating back to an offseason trade for Josh Donaldson, the club has parted ways with 11 pitching prospects over the last eight months. It's a big commitment both financially and in terms of player personnel, but they are the moves Anthopoulos hopes puts his team over the top.
That's not the way things worked in 2014. Toronto went into the season so capped out on payroll that several players inside the clubhouse offered to defer money on their contracts to allow the club to pursue free agent Ervin Santana. If Toronto took a similar approach this offseason and added a couple of more pieces before the year began, then the moves this week likely never would have been possible.
"We stayed in contention, we had the flexibility available," Anthopoulos said. "Obviously ownership has to give us those resources to be able to do it and we were able to make a big splash in the international signing period with Vladdy Guerrero Jr.
"That was a big expenditure and obviously bringing in guys like Price, with the money he makes, from an ownership standpoint they gave us everything we could ask for. But it was done by design to leave us a little bit of room and maybe not jump out and do some things we weren't totally committed to in the offseason."
In the last five days alone, the Blue Jays have turned over 20 percent of their 25-man roster. The farm system took a big hit, but the club remains adamant there are still plenty of valuable pieces left for the future. That may or may not end up being the case, but there's no question that the next two months are the biggest priority.