LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLA. – Three trades have been completed thus far in Orlando, and all of them involve teams from the AL East. The best division in baseball has gotten better.While the Yankees lead the Cliff Lee talks, and the Red Sox and Orioles each acquired surefire 30 home run hitters, it’s the Blue Jays on the tip of everyone’s tongue at the Winter Meetings.
On Sunday, Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos unloaded starting pitcher Shaun Marcum to acquire middle-infield prospect Brett Lawrie from the Brewers. Anthopoulos said he dealt “from a position of strength” to get a player he’s coveted for months. He inquired about Lawrie’s availability this time last year, too.
Unlike their AL East counterparts, the Jays shipped away the Major Leaguer in this trade, but few doubt they are better positioned because of it. Anthopoulos is set on crafting a farm system that churns out a group of players that hit their stride simultaneously. That’s the only way to build a team that can compete with the Yankees and Sox on a more restricted budget.
The Blue Jays already have a strong pitching staff and a home run champ to anchor a dangerous team. If the pieces fall into place properly, they could be competing for AL East crowns within the next 24 months.
The continuous success of the Yankees and Red Sox has forced the Orioles’ and Blue Jays’ hands and they’re finally beginning to respond. Like any free market system, one entity’s success buoyed the lot. Meanwhile, all four aforementioned clubs have to look up in the standings to find the remaining AL East squad in Tampa.
Complain all you want about the media’s East Coast bias, but it’s clear reporters are simply headed in the direction of the talent.
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