Newspaper article International New York Times

Suddenly, Blue Jays Appear Playoff Bound ; Aggressive Deadline Deals Bring Upgrades Intended to End a Long Drought

Newspaper article International New York Times

Suddenly, Blue Jays Appear Playoff Bound ; Aggressive Deadline Deals Bring Upgrades Intended to End a Long Drought

Article excerpt

In deals for shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, pitcher David Price and others, Toronto acquired, almost overnight, the parts that could end a 21-year playoff drought.

Paul Molitor rounded the bases just ahead of Joe Carter on that electrifying night of Oct. 23, 1993. He felt the roar that pulsated inside the Skydome when he scored the winning run on Carter's homer, giving the Toronto Blue Jays their second consecutive World Series title.

It remains the last postseason play in Blue Jays history.

Nearly 22 years later, Molitor was back in Toronto this past week as the manager of the Minnesota Twins. On Monday he was reminded of that exciting time long ago, as more than 45,000 people filtered into the seats of the same stadium and threw their vocal support behind David Price, one of several new Blue Jays players who those fans hope will finally get Canada's team back into the postseason.

"I've seen and heard it before here when it's like that," Molitor said the next day as his team stretched before batting practice. "This sounded to me like there was more hunger to it. There was some real urgency there."

When the Kansas City Royals reached the World Series last year, they wiped clean their account as the team with the longest absence from the playoffs, not having been there since they won it all in 1985.

Now the onus is on the Blue Jays, who are acting as if they want to hand that baton of futility to someone else. General Manager Alex Anthopoulos made a dizzying series of trades right before the July 31 nonwaiver deadline to enhance the roster, hauling in a trove of talent that was the envy of 29 other teams.

Anthopoulos and the Blue Jays have made bold moves before, but there is a universal sense that this time is different. He acquired Troy Tulowitzki -- some the best shortstop in baseball -- from the Rockies. He pried Price -- considered the best pitcher available -- from the Tigers. Anthopoulos also grabbed outfielder Ben Revere from the Phillies and the relief pitchers Mark Lowe, dealt by the Mariners, and LaTroy Hawkins, who came with Tulowitzki from Colorado.

Almost overnight, a team that needed significant upgrades, particularly an ace pitcher, had virtually everything required to quench its postseason thirst. …

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