Blue Jays at Orioles, continued

Sunday, August 04 2019 @ 10:23 AM EDT

Contributed by: Magpie

Because it's clearly needed.

Atkins said something the other day that got my attention, although it seems to have passed more or less unnoticed.

Basically, he was talking about lightning striking; about the organization benefiting from what amounts to dumb, random luck. That's not how he put it, but it's what he was talking about.  The example Atkins took from his Cleveland experience was Corey Kluber, a fourth round pick who came to Cleveland in the Jake Westbrook trade. It's not something you can count on, which he seemed to realize, but it certainly happens. I've always thought dumb, blind luck was far more important in baseball than anyone ever seems to realize or talk about.

But we should know about that here, as there's no way the 2015 Jays ever happens without it.  Unforeseeable dumb luck was the heart and soul of that team. A utility player who had been obtained mainly because the incumbent third baseman was injury-prone became the best hitter in the whole wide world in Anthopoulos' first year on the job. In his second year, he drafted a player in the 32nd round. Those guys are organization filler if you're lucky. But by 2015, this 32d round pick was giving the team a 4.9 WAR season and providing the best outfield defense the franchise had seen in a generation. A player who had been forced upon the franchise when the injury-prone third baseman mentioned earlier asked for a way out of town turned into a 40 HR slugger in his 30s. A marginal pitcher, whose main claim to fame was leading the league in home runs allowed and who started the season in the Toronto bullpen became a very good number two man in the rotation at age 31, and an All-Star the next year. Even Josh Donaldson - that's mostly just a good baseball trade, but good luck and good timing are always involved when some other team decides they need to put a potential MVP on the trade market. That kind of opportunity doesn't come around very often.  Certainly, the Jays don't win championships in the 1990s if San Diego doesn't decide that they need a shortstop so badly that they'll give up Roberto Alomar to get one.

Stuff like this happens completely out of the blue. Heaven knows Gord Ash and J.P. Ricciardi never had that kind of luck. If Atkins doesn't have that kind of luck he's not going to succeed either, which is something he actually seems to realize. You can build around it once it happens, which Anthopoulos managed to do successfully just as the clock was ticking towards midnight. But you can't make it happen. You have your process, whatever it is. And then you cross your fingers.