Apparently Alex Anthopoulos made a rather interesting remark (note the singular: there was probably just the one) during last week’s State Of The French Fries event, and while I’m not sure why it’s only just now being written about by new BlueJays.com scribe Gregor Chisholm (*cough*), I think it’s worth a couple words.

When John Buck was signed to a one-year deal, the promise was made to him that he was going to be an everyday player from start to finish,” Anthopoulos said in the BlueJays.com report. “When we were competing to sign him, there were a few other teams that wanted to sign him. That was really what separated us from some of the other teams.”

When we give our word to someone … that’s part of our brand,” he added. “When I’m negotiating with an agent or I’m trying to recruit a player, and we have to tell them something, whether it’s good or bad news, they know that we’re going to honour our word and we’re going to be straight shooters.

People in the game are starting to realize that the way the Toronto Blue Jays operate, they’re men of their word and they keep to their commitment.”

Now, that’s a perfectly nice spin to put on it, but… fucking seriously?

So, if the club makes a promise to a shitbag that he’s going to play, they’re going to keep running him out there come hell or high water or Vernon Wells’ 2009 season? And we’re supposed to be OK with that? And we’re supposed to believe that the theoretical benefit to the brand outweighs the tangible negative effect on either the current team or the club’s ability to make critical evaluations of young players going forward? That players don’t understand the nature of the business and are going to be petulant little fucking children about it? (Y’know, Frank Thomas not withstanding.)

Bulllllllllllll shittttt.

And for two, if this was always the case, why the fuck do they wait until now to say it? Why let Fuckface McSenile prattle on about wanting to get John Buck to 20 home runs and a fat free agent contract?

It makes absolutely no sense. And while I understand not wanting to get into a discussion of his complicated relationship with Cito, and why it was probably the better PR move to just let this one go– especially at the State of the French Fries, among a sea of season ticket holders, many of whom still probably believe that Cito walks on water– but… man… what a giant fucking load.

Comments (139)

  1. I’d be more upset if Buck had been patently awful, like VW in ’09, but I get what you’re saying.

  2. Your constant ragging on Cito is starting to get me down. He’s a loyal guy, that’s how he operated and the franchise knew that whe they rehired him. Sure he made the odd tactical error but who doesnt.

    He was a loyal servant, came back when the team needed him and all in all didnt do a terrible job. You think Farrell could have got us in the playoffs? my arse.

    Otherwise keep up the good work.

  3. You’re right. It appears their E5 signing/promise prevented them from getting Manny/Guerrero, and that’s just insane.

    As for Frank Thomas, I’ve never understood why people blamed Frank for that. He was benched within the first two weeks of the 2008 season (after coming off a 2007 season in which he was the best hitter on the team) and then released in mid-April without replacement (unless you count Stewart/Wilkerson). For a team that was planning to contend that year, that showed a complete lack of foresight (and most importantly in Frank’s eyes, a complete lack of respect).

  4. OK, but he made tactical errors every game and held back Travis Snider’s development for at least a season. If what AA says is true about “keeping promises,” I suppose we can’t blame him for Overbay and Buck playing out the season last year, though.

  5. The odd tactical mistake… hahahaha
    That is all…. continue.

  6. Keith Law commented in his chat that he doesn’t believe AA is telling the truth about this, and that it was basically all Cito’s doing. The reason, he thinks, AA made this comment is because it sounds better than admitting that the GM basically let the lame duck coach decide about playing time in this scenario.

  7. From the time JP was recalled Buck put up a line of .287/.330/.517. I get what you’re saying but Buck was most likely better than the kid would have been and ultimately the manager fills out the line-up card. I’m not sure what it matters how much John Buck caliber free agents think a team like the Blue Jays are men of their words, but if Anthopoulos is convinced it does he’s obviously got more information to go on than I do.

  8. Your argument only works if you believe that AA believes that Aaron Cibia is truly the catcher of the future. I don’t believe that is the case. I think the thinking on JPA is that he is a good placeholder until d’Arnaud/Perez/Jimenez are ready, as well as a great asset to be used in 2012/2013 when he is pushed out by (likely) one of the aforementioned trio.

  9. Let me add an asterisk.

    *When the player is at an All-Star level, he’s gonna play everyday.

    I love this site, but I’ve never in my life seen so many commentators be so pissed off that a team over achieved and won as many games as they did.

  10. I think that AA gave an overly simplistic view of the promise he made. I’ll bet it was more along the lines of “as long as you’re playing well, managing the staff well, doing the things we ask of you, etc., then you can be the starting catcher 85% of the time.” Look at Russell Martin — he wanted a similar promise and AA couldn’t make it, so he signed elsewhere. No one likes a liar — just ask Ricciardi.

  11. I’m happy with EE playing instead of them signing Manny or Guerrero. If I thought this team was going to contend, I’d have wanted one of them, but since they won’t, I’d rather see if EE can stay healthy and put up some numbers.

  12. I don’t believe AA but i don’t think what he is saying is unreasonable. Sitting for a month or so did not hurt JPA’s development. Obviously i wish he had been playing instead of buck. It is important to maintain good relationships with agents and generally around the league.

  13. The Buck thing doesn’t really bother me. It’s not along the lines of Brumfield instead of Green.

  14. Fuckface McSenile? Wow, classy guy that Stoeten.

  15. Listen Stoeten, if AA doesnt develop a likeable culture in Toronto for players, they wont stay.

    I like his tactics, stick mostly to players that want to play in Canada, and quietly develop Toronto as that place that a big free agaent might want to stay because of direction, and upfrontness.

    Otherwise we will continue to wilt away for years ahead in the American League East. If we make it a great place to play, the youngsters will stay and other established payers will want to come here.

  16. Seriously? Are we still bitching about the manny/vlad thing?
    And how is it insane? E5 is so much better for this team than either of those guys….and cheaper too!

    I agree about the Thomas thing though. Guy is a slow starter and was benched just a couple weeks into the season after he started off slow. You’d think a guy like him would have earned the benefit of the doubt. Shitty move IMO

  17. “but… man… what a giant fucking load.”

    That’s what she said!

  18. Fuckface McSenile = I’m sorry, Cito?

  19. it wasnt a couple weeks into the season..it was the middle of may…and he probably would not have sucked that bad going forward…but let’s not pretend it was just a couple of weeks.

  20. You must be new. That’s his pet name for Cito. Makes me chuckle when I’m thinking of Cito as a caricature instead of a human being.

  21. whatever the truth, or lack thereof, of this assertion, three things remain true:

    1. When Buck was hurt, the aging limp-bat of Molina appeared FAR more than JP’s did in the lineup;

    2. When JP DID get to play in September, it was against the very best opposing pitchers, which was not at all productive for JP and a boon to the 20 HR chase;

    3. It wouldn’t have been violation of the professed promise if, in the course of almost 30 games in September, JP had started more than SIX of them.

    Not that another six is anything to get busted up about, I’m sure he learned tons last year. But it does make you go “hmmmm” about Alex’s statement.

    My take – yes, there was an assurance made, but it was likely something more like “we’re not going to call up the hot prospect and make a bench player out of you” I wouldn’t be surprised if Alex had originally planned to deal Buck at the deadline and just didn’t get an offer he liked.

    That said, when the question was asked he erred in even taking it – as opposed to simply dismissing it with an “I’d rather talk about the future” sort of remark – and having made that error, then was forced to put the best face on the situation without throwing Cito under the bus. There’s no real possibility of him saying something that would boil down to “the old fool wouldn’t listen to be but he was teflon so I had to bide my time”

    I won’t go so far as to say Alex broke his “I’ll never lie to you” pledge, but he definitely had to spin the fuck out of the situation.

  22. “So, if the club makes a promise to a shitbag that he’s going to play, they’re going to keep running him out there come hell or high water or Vernon Wells’ 2009 season? And we’re supposed to be OK with that? And we’re supposed to believe that the theoretical benefit to the brand outweighs the tangible negative effect on either the current team or the club’s ability to make critical evaluations of young players going forward?”

    This isn’t “MLB The Show” for Playstation. Joe Mauer doesn’t have pictures of that ginger in mexico, and there are real life implications to every action that AA makes. This is a real live franchise.

    Why don’t you guys just get off it and admit you were assholes. This post wreaks of straw grasping…

  23. Keith Law is in the same boat as DJF, having thrown Cito under the bus and not being able to own up to their wrongful assumption…

  24. If you care about the team being entertaining or good, Manny and Guerrero are much better choices at DH than the proven mediocrity that is Edwin Encarnacion.

  25. Yeah, thank God they didn’t have to go out and sign Ramirez for a wopping 2 mill.

  26. Bitching about paying Encarnacion more money than Manny Ramirez got based on a promise? Certainly. E5 isn’t a good hitter, Manny Ramirez is (with a 400+ OBP).

    And yes, for a team with the best pitching staff in baseball (Halladay, Burnett, McGowan, Marcum, Litsch) with a real chance at the playoffs in 2008, benching and releasing Frank Thomas without a real replacement in order to save money was a real disappointment.

  27. You might want to check your facts there. Frank Thomas was released on April 20, 2008, two weeks into the season. A crazy move for a MLB team that supposedly cared about winning.

    Of course, most fans didn’t care because they had been turned off by Thomas’ low average or whatever other ridiculous reason they didn’t like him for.

  28. I kinda liked the comment…. and the philosophy in general.
    Let the man march boys… Let the man march!

  29. Sure this is a real live franchise and there are real life implications to every action AA makes. It’s just, which do you think is more valuable, the benefit to the brand of keeping a promise, or the benefit to the club of actually getting to see your potential next year rookie starting catcher (or how about your never-played-the-position-before potential next year starting 1B) in MLB game action?

    We’re assholes all the time, but that doesn’t make us wrong on what a useless old fuck Cito was.

  30. I think what AA meant to say was:

    ” they know that we’re going to honour our word as long as they are playing well”

    I’m sure if Buck was a complete bust he wouldn’t have received as much playing time, but not playing him regularly when he’s been one of the top offensive catchers in the league and the only reason he signed with your team was because of a promise of playing time…well that’s entirely different.

  31. It is important to maintain good relationships with agents and generally around the league.

    I think this is true, and I did gloss over it in the post, but I also think that a happy medium could have very easily been reached, and Senile Gaston is the one who has to answer why not. (Well, except that he already did, and his answer was fucking retarded.)

  32. “…or whatever other ridiculous reason they didn’t like him for.”

    Like his 72 OPS+? Granted it was only 72 PAs but he didn’t exactly light it up in Oakland either. He just about managed to become replacement level over the season. You really wanted to pay a declining 41 year old DH $10m in 2009 by letting his option vest?

  33. Man, I was too kind to this fucking dumbass.

  34. thanks DJF for commenting on this. i’m a little shocked that we didn’t hear about this sooner. it’s a pretty appalling statement for a rebuilding organization.

    that said, i don’t believe AA. The Cito “help him get a good contract” line was used with respect to Tallet, Overbay, and Buck. That makes me think it’s a Cito thing and not an AA thing. Further, i believe that AA was given the job by Beeston on the condition that Cito be allowed to play out his contract, so as not to make it seem like the clubhouse revolt achieved its purpose.

    AA is using what happened to try to build the brand, but i don’t believe that it was his call. it’s a case of trying to turn a negative into a positive.

  35. I agree with this, in that AA not only has to develop his players, but he also has to develop relationships with agents around the league. In this case, next summer if/when he decides to start to “go for it” in negotiations, when speaking to an agent, he can confidently say “look at what we did for that guy”. That has to hold some sort of sway with an agent, at least. If AA knew that 2011 wasn’t going to be “the year”, and it was going to be another year of development for the club as a whole (which would appear to be the case) then he knew he had an entire year to develop and evaluate JPA, anyways.

  36. Well, as you say, 72 PA means nothing– and he started really slowly the year before and came on like a horse on fire. But yes, the vesting option was the issue, and Thomas’s attitude about having to sit (he deserved to have some games off until he got into form, I think) meant that it would have created a stickier situation down the road. It wasn’t handled well by either side, but I think it was more understandable than is being suggested.

  37. #1. Real baseball fans understand the significance of a sample size like that, especially with a notorious slow starter like Thomas. His 125 OPS+ over 625 PA in 2007 (2nd on the team behind Stairs) was far more relevant.

    #2. Yes, I understand why they got rid of Thomas. They didn’t want to pay him. Releasing him would have made sense if they had an actual replacement in mind (like, say, Barry Bonds). But they didn’t. Rogers decided to cheap out in a “contending year” and they are routinely given a free pass for this.

  38. on maintaining relationships with agents: AA has 4 guys who think they can close on the roster, and at least one guy who was being talked about as the closer of the future. i can’t imagine Octavio Dotel or John Rauch or Jason Frasor are super pleased with AA right now.

    i fully expect some of those guys to be traded before ST, but the Rauch and Francisco acquisitions must have felt like a betrayal to Dotel.

    i think the agents angle is overblown. good players want to play for good teams, and mediocre players want a chance to earn better contracts. the latter is not a real concern of mine.

  39. I wonder if Overbay is happy that Cito let him play in his Free Agent year. That 5mill he signed for is a pay cut.

  40. I should add, going back to the comments about Buck: if what Anthopoulos is saying is true, they must have had a discussion about this with Cito. Would that discussion have been necessary unless Cito had come to him to suggest otherwise– that Arencibia play more, for the good of his development? And then, as a result of that discussion, Anthopoulos shut him down, citing his promise to Buck?

    The whole notion is fucking preposterous.

  41. Hey Stoeten, but I hear Cito gives terrific reach-arounds. Could you imagine how amazing it would be to look down at a black hand doing for you?

  42. Can’t really say I agree with you here Stoeten. I would if Buck had been signed to more than a 1-year deal. I would if JPA’s career really got f-ed over by playing Buck. I would if Buck were really having a bad year. But none of those things are true, so AA is playing the PR game in an effort to make Toronto an attractive place to be for the free agents of the future.

    As for Cito, I really don’t care, and neither should you anymore. He didn’t set the franchise as a whole back at all, and AA played it smart by refusing to step in. Why bother when 2011 was so close anyway?

  43. You are a sick fuck

  44. Okay Mr Wizard. So are you so fucking stupid even in hindsight to say that you would have kept Frank Thomas and his 10 million dollar vesting option? Do tell fucktard!

  45. It’s not about JPA’s career being fucked over, but limiting their ability to assess their needs going into the off-season.

  46. lastly, thanks to young Mr. Gregor for being first to get this story. The piece on bj.com is what we have come to expect in the way of puff pieces for the organization, but without it the story isn’t being discussed.

    Cito’s handling of young players was a major theme of his time as Jays manager. I think it’s fair to be discussing this on the eve of a new era in Jays managerial history.

  47. “Real” baseball fans? What the fuck, do you get paid to be a fan or something? How are you any more of a real fan than I am? You remind me of an idiot who previously posted on this site, his name was Brad Fullmer Fan, and he was a grade A asshole.

  48. He is BFF. He changed his name.

  49. There’s a time and a place for BS responses and that was as appropriate of a time as any to give one.

    Don’t ruin the credibility of this blog by nitpicking quotes from over a week ago…..

  50. He is your best friend forever?

  51. If I posted stupid shit like him I would change my name also.

  52. Well, ideally it would have been best to replace Thomas with somebody that could actually hit like Barry Bonds.

    But if the only replacement options were Shannon Stewart and Brad Wilkerson, yes, certainly, I would have kept Thomas. I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t like when the Jays release one of their best hitters two weeks into a season that they are supposed to contend. It’s kind of a poor reflection on ownership and management.

  53. Don’t piss me off cupid!

  54. You’re right. If you believe 60 AB in the first two weeks of a season is somehow a significant sample size, it’s not a reflection on how much you love the game. It just makes you a moron.

  55. Didn’t change my name, just logged into my twitter account here. Didn’t know it would be so confusing for you all.

  56. Best hitters? His ops that year was shit!

  57. Check your facts, please. His OPS+ was 125. 1st on the team among full-time hitters and 2nd behind part-time player Matt Stairs.

  58. He said even in hindsight. That means looking back on it now. You still would have kept him, and let his option for 2009 kick in? Answer the question.

  59. He would’ve had an even bigger pay cut had he not played everyday.

  60. I guess it’s just too bad that Cito put Overbays next contract above Lind getting time at 1b.

  61. Not relevant. You don’t manage with the benefit of hindsight. You can only evaluate moves reasonably at the time they are made.

    Although, as I’ve said many times before, releasing Frank Thomas and replacing him with Barry Bonds would have been the best thing for the 2008 Jays. Heck, if that team makes the playoffs, the best pitcher in baseball is probably still pitching in this city.

    Releasing him and replacing him with Stewart, though? I’ll take my chances with the Big Hurt (and possibly platoon him with Stairs if necessary).

  62. but at the time was john buck a clear type A or was he borderline? it does make a difference.

  63. His ops+ as a Jay in 2008 was 72. Check your stats fucker. http://www.baseball-reference….

  64. I’m afraid you’ve missed an important point about sample size and also apparently misread my posts.

  65. I have no idea what you just said.

  66. Whether we the fans believe what AA said is actually the reason, that fact remains that saying things like that publicly actual does promote a culture of loyalty. The optics are very good. When a player says all the right things (I.E. Jose being willing to play 3B), might he actually have some misgivings? Sure. But we expect him to keep those issues private. In the same way, any educated fan realizes that Cito was the problem here, but do we really want AA to go public with that? I sure don’t. It seems like this spin is an attempt to turn a negative into a positive.

  67. I really can’t wait for spring training. discussions like these really make me want it to be spring training.

  68. Don’t Loverbay and Dorito hate each other?

  69. I dont know, but all of a sudden I have a craving for some sweet chilli heat, or some cool ranch.

  70. Still with the Bonds stuff? There was no way in hell that was happening, let alone on the Jays, because an entire league of owners colluded against him.

  71. Bonds got blacklisted the day the Chelsea Clinton-Barry Bonds sex tape came out.

  72. Sex tape? That would mean that someone actually had sex with that troll?

  73. Yes, pandering to Bud Selig and the other owners in baseball has really worked for them over the years. If you really care about making the playoffs, that’s where you tell the rest of them to fuck off and sign the best hitter in baseball.

    Of course, really anybody would have been acceptable over Shannon Stewart and Brad Wilkerson though.

  74. give me a like if you want me to die

  75. Any of the members of monkey army interested in a browser based BASEBALL mmorpg?

    It’s a fairly in-depth game statistically, it follows the normal tropes of sports mmorpg’s and like most it doesn’t cost anything to play.

    Build your character, have him get drafted, improve his skills as you level up, ect.

    The second season of beta testing is almost over, hurry get your character in and have him make it to the advanced leagues before he’s blocked by long time players.

    Here’s a referral link if you’d be so kind: http://www.twooutrally.com/ref

    Thanks,
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  76. If you change your name to Revenue Canada then yeah, I will give you a like.

  77. Didn’t someone already tell you to fuck off?

  78. http://www.beyondtheboxscore.c

    We could sign him for DH right now, too.

  79. As a mascot I presume.

  80. He’d still get on base more than E5.

  81. Dude he`s like 46.

  82. No way this guy ever took roids.

    http://kermittheblog.wordpress

  83. I agree. Bonds played the game a straight down the line as you can.

  84. And Jamie Moyer is how old again?

  85. Like many other players in his era, he took steroids. What a shocker.

  86. Encarnacion will make 2M dollars in 2011 and gets a minimum of 500,000 in the event of a buy out in 2012. Manny Ramirez will make 2M dollars in 2011.

    (In response to the guy who said EE is cheaper than Manny)

  87. Who else is 46, or even close?

  88. Is it really though? I mean, they cost JPA, what, 70PAs at most?

    I think that AA might be casting things in the best light, but I doubt the truth is far from there. Mostly because it fits AA’s profile of cost assessment. Pissing off the fans and the baseball old guard by cutting the legs out of his retiring and widely respected manager isn’t worth three weeks of JPA’s development. Telling an All-Star catcher that he’s going to sit in favour of a rookie and thus sending the message to every FA out there that the organization will toss you aside the second your value diminishes isn’t worth three weeks of JPA’s development. Most importantly, three weeks of JPA’s development won’t tell you whether or not you need to go out and find a new starting catcher. This place would be the first calling for AA’s head if he dropped JPA after a poor September.

    The minimal gains aren’t worth the potential costs, and that being the case, the move made sense. The Jays committed to JPA as the starting catcher for 2011 back in August, unless something better came available. With that in mind, in a non-contending year, if those three weeks were so vital, he’ll have them before May. So what’s the point in arguing as if AA sacrificed something real in this decision.

  89. You know the off-season is too long when people start thinking of Barry Bonds as a possible DH..

  90. I wrote that article about Bonds! Yeah! I love DJF!

  91. I was kidding about the Jays signing him right now, by the way. But I don’t doubt that Barry Bonds could still hit in MLB if he actually wanted to.

  92. https://www.baseballinjurytool

    2Frank injury tally

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  94. I don’t doubt that the team would pull the plug on a guy hitting at the Mendoza Line, playing time promises or not. I think this was just an example of a rare borderline case (there were advantages to playing Buck, after all – he was almost certainly a better option for the sake of the 2010 team, and he got the Jays a draft pick by piling up stats) – so AA is trying to buy a bit of free agent goodwill. I don’t have a problem with what he said, even if I don’t believe he meant it 100%.

  95. I hear Canseco is looking for work.

  96. This is a perfect PR spin for using the error that Cito made by not playing the kid and using it to tell the public that this organization keeps its word to its players. – Another calculated move to set things up in 2012-2013…..That little statement may stick it a free agent’s mind when deciding between Toronto or another place

  97. Nobody’s saying 70 extra PA’s makes JPA the 2011 ROY and turns the Blue Jays into the organization that snubs veterans on a 1yr ‘re-establish yourself’ contract. Nor is anybody saying you sit Buck entirely and hand the job to JPA just because he lit up a hitter’s league either. Yes, Buck was an ‘All Star’ thanks to a horrid group of catchers in 2010 and rightly so, he had a great September, but I can’t get behind the way Cito handled the situation.

    You have to question Gaston’s choices when it came to which games JPA played in and which starters he faced. Where is the logic in running him out against CC Sabathia, David Price, Jon Lester, Dan Haren and Felix Hernandez? It also doesn’t help that Cito explicitly stated that he wanted Overbay to get a good contract in the offseason, if that was handed down by AA and Cito is that much of a puppet, fine. I tend to lean towards Cito being the ‘old school player’s manager’ type who couldn’t give a flying fuck about what kind of shape the team is in next season – see; Adam Lind’s virtually non-existent track record at 1B, Travis Snider’s continually impeded development, Aaron Cibia’s demonstrated ability to be owned by some of the best pitchers in the league.

  98. What you should take from this is the fact that we don’t know shit about what happens behind the scenes. So we should stfu about stuff like this.

  99. “That’s what she said”

    I’ve never heard that joke before! You bring so much to the table, thanks for contributing.

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