The reason that Jays’ GM Alex Anthopoulos never had to worry about losing his job following a disappointing 75-win season was not the result of what he created on the field. Instead, it was the impact last off-season’s roster moves made off the field. The Jays, favoured to advance to the World Series all winter by oddsmakers in Vegas, increased their attendance by 436,899 over 2012. As a business, it was mission accomplished. As a contender, it was abysmal failure.

The important attendance resurgence began last November via a blockbuster trade with the Marlins and the subsequent signing of outfielder Melky Cabrera. There was an immediate buzz, an excitement for the Jays not seen since 1994, that resulted in “Let’s go Blue Jays” chants at Raptors and Leafs games. Jays’ swag flew off the shelves and advance ticket orders made the deal pay for itself.
When Anthopoulos made a December trade for Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey it completed an attitude transformation toward baseball in the city. But now, his job is officially on the line. The Jays cannot afford to take a step back in attendance. That means, simply, that another losing season is unacceptable. It suggests the GM can’t wait until the holiday season, or later, to make another impact. Jays fans are not in a forgiving mood. Attendance is the key. Thus the GM’s job hangs in the balance.