Hopefully everyone is getting over the hangover from all the blue flavored Kool-Aid they drank, following the Toronto Blue Jays trade with the Miami Marlins, because now it’s time to come back to reality. As with all big trades, involving big names, that favor one team, the consensus is instantly that the team is the now the new “Dream Team”.
This happens in every sport, every year when a team gets a crew of high quality free-agents and is instantly anointed THE team. No one has made the mistake of labeling the Jays the “Dream Team”, because that reference is worse than the Madden curse, but with drool coming off everything involving this trade, the label isn’t needed to understand what is expected from the Jays before even playing a single game together.
The reality is that rarely do these teams ever pan out. Not more than five minutes after the trade hit the news; the Blue Jays are going to be the AL East Champions, are the team to beat in the American League and in some places, the favorite to win the 2013 World Series.
So as every “expert” jumped on the normally empty Jays bandwagon, now is the time to smack some reality into the picture. The Blue Jays did acquire good players in Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, John Buck, and Emilio Bonifacio in exchange for far less; but all that means nothing right now except they have a much higher payroll. The angry fans in Miami do know a thing or two about high expectations, potential and being the team to beat. Now, less than a year later, they sit with nothing more than higher taxes and a lot of questions. Oddly enough, some of these same players headed north of the border were the same players that were going to bring baseball back to South Beach, especially since they had it all – new stadium, new coach, and a bunch of high priced free agents brought in to bring a title to Miami.
How did that work out?
With all the buzz of this trade, it is a surprise MLB has not already started making the rings for the 2013 Jays; because on paper they are great, after just robbing the most dysfunctional and worst franchise in sports, of course they are going to win it all.
The Jays were a good team that fell off the radar in 2012 as their injuries mounted up, but now they have acquired a slew of good players, ones that can help them battle in the tough AL East. The problem is, too often in sports when a team makes such a big splash in free-agency, the sports world instantly jumps on them as favorites without a single game being played.
Just as the Los Angeles Dodgers did late in 2012, grabbing top players from two teams. The Dodgers were the talk of the league and were going to catch the 2012 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants; how could they not, with the Giants losing one of their best players to a suspension and the ace of their staff having his worst year in the majors, it was a sure bet. The Dodgers would win the NL West because they had the big names and all the stars aligned for a championship.
The problem is games aren’t just won because of big names and championships are not handed over to the team with the biggest payroll, as evident with the slumping New York Yankees and those Dodgers, whose owners seem to have endless pockets, the games are won on the field.
Right now the Jays look good, but the only title they have won is on paper and many paper champions have come and gone over the years in professional sports, with very few amounting to much more than being labeled the team that should have. Not many, if any, of the paper champs actually come close to the high bar of expectations the sports world and their fans have set for them.
So before the parade gets prepared and they find the singer for O Canada, the Jays and their fans should remember they play 162 games for a reason and if money and big names were all a team needed to win, the Yankees would have 50 rings by now.