By Andrew Kavanagh
The Toronto Blue Jays are one of the biggest surprises so far this season in Major League Baseball. Most experts predicted they would finish ahead of the Baltimore Orioles in the American League East. No one would have predicted that 55 games into the season they would sit in a tie with the Boston Red Sox, just 3.5 games back of the American League Wild Card spot.
This season the Blue Jays committed to re-building. Over the summer they traded away arguably the best pitcher in the Major Leagues, Roy Halladay (who recently pitched the 20th perfect game in league history), for a handful of prospects. The organization accepted the fact that they may not perform very well in the first few seasons following this huge shake-up and realized that their young players would need time to develop.
As good as the Blue Jays have been this season, the future is looking even brighter as their young players will continue to grow and improve over the next few seasons. The team could very well challenge for a post-season spot in the very near future.
Now consider the Maple Leafs who finished dead-last in the Eastern Conference last season, and 2nd last overall in the NHL. Two seasons ago, with the loss of big-name stars like Mats Sundin and Nik Antropov, it appeared the Leaf organization was committed to a period of re-building. The Phil Kessel trade last season seems to me like it was a step in the wrong direction. The team traded away what would become the 2nd overall draft pick in this year's draft as well as their 1st and 2nd round picks next season to the Boston Bruins.
The only way the Maple Leafs will improve is if they are willing to be bad for a few seasons. Granted the Leafs were bad this season, but trading away their 1st round draft pick deprived them of ..... (more)