The Toronto Blue Jays 2011 campaign has been overshadowed by Jose Bautista's continued rise to stardom; as well as, the constant battle between the Red Sox and Yankees a top their division. However, what has gone nearly unnoticed is the job Alex Anthopolous has done to revamp the Blue Jays franchise as a whole. After trading Roy Halladay, Anthopolous had one huge contract in Vernon Wells to move, before he could start building a legitimate contender. At the beginning of 2011, he was able to move that once dubbed unmovable contract to the Angels in exchange for Juan Rivera and Mike Napoli.
After moving Mike Napoli for Frank Francisco and cash, he waited until the regular season to continue to cut costs and add good young pieces. Anthopolous was able to get the Dodgers to take on Juan Rivera and his contract, and then he swung a three team deal that coupled with the Wells trade, changed the entire economic picture of the Blue Jays.
The Jays sent Jason Frasor and prospect Zach Stewart to the White Sox for Edwin Jackson and Mark Teahan. Then flipped Edwin Jackson along with Corey Patterson and two relievers Marc Rzepcynski and Octavio Dotel to the Cardinals for Colby Rasmus, Brian Tallet, and PJ Walters.
So those are a lot of names and contracts floating around and getting on planes and switching uniforms. So let me just translate what this all in the end meant for the Blue Jays and means for their future. The Blue Jays gave up Vernon Wells, a prospect, and three solid relievers for Colby Rasmus, half a season of Juan Rivera, a prospect, two relievers (one good, one not so good), and Mark Teahan (and his 4.75 million dollar contract).
The Blue Jays, through these deals freed up 34 million dollars of contracts and only brought in just under 12 million dollars. Giving up over 26 million dollars of Major League talent, you would think that the Blue Jays gave up serious production; however, they did not. Using SABRmetric statistics VoRP and WARP to estimate the value/runs produced of these players, the Jays only gave up 3 runs of production this year, or about half a win.
Thus, Anthopolous gave up half a win this season to free up 26 million dollars to work with, making the Blue Jays an ample threat to continue improving their team. As well as he now has a young, highly talented outfield (Colby Rasmus, Travis Snider, and Eric Thames) who all have produced much better than Vernon Wells this season, and will all most likely produce more than him next season and make all together 1.3 million dollars. 25 million less than just Wells.
Incredible job by Anthopolous building for the future, and making his team no worse off at all then it would be if he was not rebuilding.