|Image courtesy of Daylife via Reuters|
As rivals in the American League East, the Toronto Blue Jays are all too familiar with their foes in Beantown. And as happy as they may be so see some of those faces leave the division, the ripple effects will be felt long after those players have left town.
Basically, I think this blockbuster trade signals either one of two things; either the Red Sox are looking to clean house and rebuild the team from the ground up, or they're merely just freeing up payroll so they can spend like crazy in the offseason.
For argument's sake, let's say the Red Sox were motivated to trade Gonzalez, Beckett, Crawford and Punto for the former reason; because they want to start fresh. This is obviously good news for the Blue Jays in the short term since is makes the Red Sox a much weaker team in the short term.
However, that doesn't necessarily mean the Red Sox would be a weaker sister of the American League East for very long. As we've seen, a team like Boston has flourished in the past with a much smaller payroll and a bevvy of younger players.
A few consecutive years of smart drafting and some lucky breaks and Boston could be back in the game sooner than any of us could probably imagine. With the right scouting and front office in place, they could right the ship very quickly.
But what if the Red Sox shipped off all those guys just so they could go out and go blow their budget again on a different set of players? After freeing up over a quarter of a billion dollars from their payroll, that would certainly open up for the Red Sox management.
With that kind of bankroll, Boston could sign easily Josh Hamilton, Nick Swisher, Zack Greinke and other highly-coveted free agent players this offseason. And if that happens, it would be very very bad news for the Blue Jays and the rest of the American League East.
After all the shenanigans in Beantown these past few years, I don't think that even makes Boston a very attractive destination for free agents like Josh Hamilton and Nick Swisher anyway. It sounds like there is a clear divide in the clubhouse; that players are either against Bobby Valentine or with him.
Not that either of those guys would be free agent targets for the Blue Jays, but if marquee players can stay away from signing with the competition, that would be all the better for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Speaking of free agents, I think this trade only increases the possibility that the Blue Jays go after somebody like David Ortiz. He's been there from the start of the entire mess in Boston, and somewhere like Toronto might be looking better and better come this offseason.
This kind of situation is difficult because from a front office perspective, you can't get too wrapped up in what everybody else is doing around you. If that were the case, Toronto might have thought 2012 was the year to strike because it looked like the Yankees were getting old and falling out of contention. And now New York is poised to win another division title.
I think the perfect balance is keeping a keen eye on the competition but not letting them dictate what your team does. So while the Red Sox/Dodgers blockbuster trade does affect the Blue Jays to some extent, it ultimately shouldn't change their master plan.