I was going to talk about the Raps mini losing streak or the Leafs winning streak (yes, a radio show actually led with the Raps last week so they are back on limits) but there is one story that has taken the city by storm the past few days so I am dedicating this blog to the Brett Lawrie-Josh Donaldson trade.
I’ll be honest, as much as I follow sports I don’t get to see much on the west coast because of my need for sleep. For this reason, when I saw the trade on Friday night I wasn’t entirely sure who it was the Jays had just picked up for Lawrie and 3 prospects. Since then I have watched the highlight reel and heard just about everyone in baseball and sports radio break it down and I think it is a great pick-up for the Jays with one caveat: he can not implode.
Toronto has a reputation for bringing talented players with good track records here to watch them fail. If this happens with Josh Donaldson, the trade will be an absolute disaster. Not so much because of what they gave up, but who they gave up. I like Brett Lawrie and his bulldog mentality but unfortunately it didn’t keep him healthy. The Jays put him through a lot of development and a position switch from 2nd base to 3rd base and then wanted him to go back to 2nd base. I don’t have an issue with trading a player that you worked so hard to develop but in this case the issue I have is that you had to trade a homegrown talent. For some reason, for the past 36 years the Blue Jays have failed to sign a top notch Canadian player (hopefully that has changed with Dalton Pompey). The Expos figured it out (Larry Walker). The Minnesota Twins had this down (Justin Morneau & Corey Koskie) and somehow the Blue Jays weren’t the first ones on the scene in their own backyard for Joey Votto, Russell Martin, Eric Gagne or even John Axford. This has been a crucial miscalculation in the past because, as we’ve seen with fan response to Brett Lawrie, we LOVE our Canadian born players. Fans didn’t care that Lawrie missed 150 games the past two seasons, they put on that #13 jersey and headed out to the Rogers Centre for $12 beers. The team is better with Josh Donaldson in the lineup, there is no arguing that, but the hearts of the fan base are slightly broken because we didn’t get to see what Lawrie could become if he stayed healthy. Maybe the fans in Oakland will get to see that. I can guarantee one thing, with Brett being from Langley, there will be a huge number of Canadians making the trip from BC to Oakland A’s home games next season so even if their lineup is less productive, jersey and ticket sales should be up at the Coliseum. That makes it a win-win for both teams.