After leaving the Blue Jays at the conclusion of the 2015 season, it’s only taken Alex Anthopoulos two years before he landed another job as General Manager of a big league team. This time around it’ll be with Toronto’s adversary from the 1992 World Series, the Atlanta Braves.
As for that saying “nice guys always finish last”, well Anthopoulos has proven yet again that old adage couldn’t be further from the truth. Although he hasn’t been the Blue Jays GM since late 2015, his lasting impact on this franchise is still being felt all this time later.
When Anthopoulos acquired Josh Donaldson on November 28, 2014, every other general manager throughout baseball must have been kicking themselves for not pulling the trigger on that deal first. Toronto didn’t even have to go above-and-beyond in their offer to get Donaldson. Anthopoulos offered what pretty much every other team could have easily matched, but because of his special touch (a combination of thinking outside the box and his persistent nature), it was the Blue Jays who were able to strike a deal for such an impact player.
Toronto still has another year left before Donaldson becomes a free agent, meaning the Blue Jays will continue to benefit from his contributions for some time yet. To top it all off, Toronto could stand to bring in a huge haul if they do decide to trade Donaldson prior to the 2018 trade deadline. If Donaldson is moved, Toronto owes Anthopoulos a huge debt of gratitude for whatever they receive in return for the 3-time all-star.
No team should ever have to endure a 21-year absence from the post-season. Unfortunately, between 1994-2014, that was the sad reality for the Blue Jays. Many fans of this ball club who were too young to remember or weren’t even alive the last time the Blue Jays won the World Series never had the chance to experience post-season baseball prior to 2015. Anthopoulos changed that, and he did so in the most dramatic fashion when he acquired David Price, Troy Tulowitzki, Ben Revere, Mark Lowe, and LaTroy Hawkins, thus transforming Toronto into one of the best and most exciting teams in baseball.
Some people criticize Anthopoulos for committing to such lengthy and expensive contracts for players like Tulowitzki and Russell Martin. The reality is, Toronto needed those players in their efforts to finally get over the hump and make the post-season two years ago. Before 2015, the Blue Jays were stuck in such a losing rut that it felt like the organization had forgotten how to even go about building a winner. Anthopoulos put an end to all that nonsense, reminding us what it felt like to win again, and that in itself was well worth the price of all those prospects and bad contracts.