Ladies and gentlemen, your 2015 playoff-bound Toronto Blue Jays.
Normally, and ideally, championship teams are built on talent that is homegrown and developed within their organization. But as you see below, nearly everyone in the Blue Jays starting lineup and the rotation are all made up of players from other organizations.
Ben Revere (Philadelphia/Minnesota)
Josh Donaldson (Oakland/Chicago Cubs)
Jose Bautista (Pittsburgh/Kansas City/Tampa Bay…)
Edwin Encarnacion (Cincinnati)
Troy Tulowitzki (Colorado)
Justin Smoak (Seattle/Texas)
Russell Martin (Pittsburgh/NY Yankees/LA Dodgers)
David Price (Detroit)
Marco Estrada (Milwaukee)
RA Dickey (New York Mets/Minnesota/Seattle…)
Mark Buehrle (Miami/White Sox)
Then you add Chris Colabello (Minnesota) and Dioner Navarro (Chicago Cubs/Tampa Bay/LA Dodgers…) on the bench and Mark Lowe (Seattle/Texas/Cleveland…) and LaTroy Hawkins (Colorado/Houston/Milwaukee…) in the bullpen, and you got a championship team that broke a 22-year playoff drought.
Don’t lump the Blue Jays with the likes of the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox who go out and buy their players through free agency. What the Blue Jays have done is get players that no other team wants. In other words, this is a team built on outcasts. Bautista, Encarnacion, Smoak, and Dickey certainly fit that criteria. If you go through a roster of a professional sports team you will normally see three or four players that were either cut or traded by other teams. Over half of this Blue Jays team is made up of those types of players.
Add to it, fans have embraced these players like family, especially Donaldson who will soon be named as this year’s American League Most Valuable Player. These moves are a credit to General Manager Alex Anthopoulos. He and his management team dug through all the sand that is the 29 other Major League Baseball teams to find little gold nuggets. It is their ability to take these unwanted pieces and turn them into a winner is what made this team special.
The Blue Jays are not the only sports team in Toronto that has benefitted from getting players from other organizations. Kyle Lowry has flourished since he joined the Raptors and Joffery Lupul has been a solid contributor since becoming a Leaf.
It is an unusual way to build a championship team. But if the Blue Jays win the World Series, you can thank the outcasts for getting this team there.