Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos (heard of him?) was on the Fan 590 this morning, speaking with Jeff Blair about the upcoming Winter Meetings in Dallas, and the off-season in general (audio here). Here’s what he had to say… again:

- Alex isn’t a fan of doing work at the Winter Meetings. He gets more done prior to and after they take place, and sees the physical get-together as a vestige of a time when baseball had a very different way of doing business– one that didn’t involve cell phones or the ubiquitous Blackberry. Yet there’s still value to the meetings, he says, because at them GMs are motivated to get things done.

- There’s also a political component to the meetings that he’s uncomfortable with. It’s an unwritten rule that meetings between teams feature equal numbers of people on both sides, which means that sometimes people have to be asked to leave, in order to even the numbers out. Anthopoulos doesn’t like having to do that to members of his staff, as it possibly gives the impression that they can’t be trusted, so he brings just about the smallest number of people he can.

- Another part of the reason he brings a small staff is because he wants to be able to simulate what they do in Toronto, whereas other clubs expand their pool of people that are in those meetings, which can make things convoluted and slow things down.

- Moving along, Blair asks about the recent comments from Paul Beeston about his distaste for the posting system for Japanese players. “Objectively it’s probably not the most effective way of doing things,” he says, but he gives no indication that this has any bearing on whether the Jays are interested in making bids. Quite the opposite, in fact– he brings up the fact that ultimately Boston thought that Dice-K was a $100-million player, and if he had been a free agent all of that money would have gone to him. They may not think it’s a fair system, but I fully expect the Jays to operate the same way: they put a value on a player, and that’s how much they’re willing to spend.

- “I was just on the phone with an agent before we jumped on,” Alex says, after being asked if there’s a hole in his roster that will be better filled via trade than free agency or vice versa. “It’s always easier to spend money than it is to give up players,” he says. “If you make a mistake, I don’t want to say it’s only money, because it certainly does impact things, and it can impact your payroll going forward, but it feels like it hurts a lot more when you make a mistake in a trade and you give up a very good player.”

- “All that being said, I know that I’ve come out and said that our preferred route is going to be the trade market,” he continues, “just because the free agent market for us, in the two years that I’ve been in the GM’s chair and the other years I’ve been in the AGM chair, you rarely find value in a free agent deal. It’s a lot of why [we've chosen] the philosophy and why we’re setup the way we are, that means we’re going to take more risk, we’re going to make more mistakes, and we’re going to give up players, and that’s the best avenue for us. “

- Asked if there’s a certain component to the lineup that he looks for, Anthopoulos stresses the need for guys who can get on-base, noting Jose Bautista and Yunel Escobar as the primary ones, then oddly saying that “Kelly Johnson is a guy who will draw some walks and be a good on-base guy,” as though he isn’t, y’know, essentially a free agent. Slip of the tongue? Does he know something they’re not announcing? I doubt it.

- He adds that he thinks Arencibia and Lind can get better at getting on base, that Brett Lawrie is among the key group, as it’s something they had asked him to focus on, and that Colby Rasmus has shown the ability to take walks in the past, but that can get better. He thinks Thames can get better as well, and notes that Edwin Encarnacion really took off last year when he started to be selective. “It doesn’t mean we’re going to forgo good players,” he adds, “and take someone who just walks.”

- Regarding the backup catcher spot, they feel better than last year, because they know Arencibia is going to be able to handle the load– and Anthopoulos notes that he essentially split time with Molina at the start of the season. This year, they’re not going to look for a guy who can catch 100 games if need be, they’re just going to look for the right fit– i.e. someone who is happy being a backup and isn’t going to stand in the way when Travis d’Arnaud shows up at the door.

Comments (17)

  1. I hope that slip means they’re considering keeping Kelly Johnson. They should be.

    Asking Lind to improve his OBP means asking him to start hitting LHP (something he’s shown he can’t do in his MLB career). Replace him or platoon him.

  2. Three main thoughts after this:

    1) I found the Kelly Johnson comment interesting too.
    2) I wonder if the comments about not being so worried about the backup catcher’s durability mean that Chris Snyder is going to be a fit, as the Jays have wanted him in the past but backed away because of injury concerns
    3) #DontSignHeath

  3. Speak of the devil:

    Morosi tweets: “Source says #BlueJays remain open to bringing back Kelly Johnson as the everyday second baseman.”

  4. @jonmorosi Source says #BlueJays remain open to bringing back Kelly Johnson as the everyday second baseman

    Great news. AA has liked KJ for a long time, I didn’t think they would part with him easily.

  5. I’m sure they’re open to it, but the price that another team will be willing to pay will probably prevent it from happening.

  6. Bullshit. If they can bid on guys like Papelbon and Bell, they can give Kelly Johnson what he wants.

  7. Agree with you on that. I think Johnson is a great fit for the next couple of years and the Jays could easily afford him. If Hill had lived up to past performances they would have happily paid him what he was due the next couple of years.

  8. You could use that retarded argument for anything.  If they can waste money on Bell, why not get Pujols AND Fielder??

    The fact of the matter is they have a dollar value where they see signing johnson and losing the 2 picks as a net positive.  If some other team offers more than that value, the jays won’t sign him.

  9. Interesting comments regarding free agency as a whole.  Still it doesn’t rule a deal out if there is actually value in it. Just depends on how the club values dollars vs performance. I would love to know how they measure stuff like that.

  10. Except if it was up to me, I would try to get Pujols AND Fielder. It’s not like Rogers can’t afford it (especially if they’re throwing around millions for overrated, overweight closers from the NL West).

    If the Jays are planning to contend in 2012 (and it appears they are), bringing back an above-average 2B like KJ becomes even more important.

  11. Lind had a .780 ops against lefties in 2009 which is close to Fielders career OPS vs LHP, so to say he hasn’t shown he can do it at the ML level is inaccurate. It is just obvious that Linds performance against LHP is the key moving forward, just as it is with most young Left handed hitters(Thames, Snider included.)

  12. Right…he did OK against them a few years ago during his career season that he looks nowhere near repeating.

    Adam Lind has a career .615 OPS vs. LHP for a reason (.639 in 2011, .341 in 2010). He can’t hit them and expecting him to do it in the future would be foolish.

  13. If Kelly Johnson wants way more than he’s worth to the team (not to mention the two picks), then who cares if they CAN give it to him.  It doesn’t mean they should.

  14. Way to forget about his other 3 seasons vs left handers and if you’re talking about moving forward since 2009 he’s obviously not going in the right direction.

  15. He CAN hit them because He DID hit them, but expecting it again may very well be foolish. Just as foolish as expecting a 35 year old(maybe) Pujols to perform anywhere close to $25 million+ player.

  16. Explain to me why AA needs to max out the budget THIS offseason. Did you ever think that maybe they feel that there is much more value and impact at positions harder to fill in next seasons free agent class. It is possible they feel better about spending $35 million on Cain and Kinsler than Fielder and KJ? You can’t look at free agent spending in a 1 year bubble, but instead look at the players potentially available in all the years that younger guys are making their impacts. Once they committ $120 million in salaries going forward that is it for free agents. Although we will hear, no doubt that they should be at $150 million then.

  17. Fullmer Fan get over the man crush there is a reason he is still available and other guys have signed including Hill. they have more value there is a reason the braves and dbacks gave up on him.

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