Most times the Anthopoulos Speaks! posts we do around here involve transcribing a lengthy series of Anthopoulosian ramblings and occasionally trying to shoehorn them into some broader context, or simply unburying them, letting his comments stand alone. Times seem to be changing for Alex Anthopoulos, though– not to mention the media, who have caught on to the value of the verbatim translation racket– and in his latest round of chatting with the media there appear, to me, at least, to be more small details that need to be isolated and picked at, like the diseased bones of the weakest runt in a flock of antelope. Or… something.

The GM spoke to reporters following Sunday’s game (or perhaps before, I don’t fucking know). A transcript of it was provided later by, among others, Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star, and few of the comments marked an intriguing bit of departure from the typical Anthopoulos fare, and allow us to try and peer a little more deeply into the inner workings of 1 Blue Jay Way. Maybe.

The most striking thread that ran throughout the talk was Alex’s repeated emphasis on the fact that, in the overall, he mostly feels very good about the core of the club he’s put together.

Now, obviously any GM’s glowing assessment of his own club needs to be taken with a grain of salt the size of Lot’s wife, but it’s certainly not as crazy and distorted a view as a lot of the fans agonizing through these last injury-plagued weeks might think. And rather than debate the accuracy of his statements or how surmountable a task filling the club’s holes at DH, second base, and in left field will be– Anthopoulos would suggest it’s a minor issue, pointing out that when they were at full health, despite these holes, they were one of the better offensive clubs in the Majors– I’m far more curious about who these sorts of comments are designed to speak to.

Is it a gentle nudge at the disaffected casual fan when the GM proclaims that he thinks “we have the makings of a championship calibre team in the bullpen and from an offensive standpoint,” or is it, perhaps, the opening salvo in a campaign to convince Rogers that the time to take the reins off– the time to let him show that he can be as successful on a big budget as he has been while constrained by payroll parameters– is now?

I’m reminded of the recent chat at the Star by Richard Griffin in which he suggested that Anthopoulos wanted Yu Darvish, but couldn’t guarantee his employers that the Japanese import was going to be good– a necessity, Griffin says, for the corporate overlords, the implication being that they were holding strong on the notion they’re not in the venture capital business when it comes to baseball.

Is it possible Anthopoulos is doubling down on the roster he’s constructed and preparing to insist to ownership that they really are ready for the next step? Is he, perhaps, trying to create a contrast between himself and ownership– a much needed one, if some of the seething vitriol I’ve read lately from the ultra-negative suckholes that follow this club is any indication– and attempting to recapture some of his leaking goodwill with a view to another financially constrained and ultimately disappointing season in 2013?

I’m not sure either suggestion is true, but if it’s the latter, it wouldn’t be the first time Alex has tried to paint himself as boxed in by the now-infamous “payroll parameters.” Yet the wishful part of me wonders if we really aren’t right now in the midst of weathering the worst of the storm, and that the days of the austerity demanded of himself by Anthopoulos– austerity that, we can be almost entirely certain, was a major plank in the sell-job he did when campaigning to take over for Ricciardi– may be finally, mercifully coming to an end.

Eventually, if Rogers was going to run this franchise with anything resembling sanity or seriousness, there was going to have to be some kind of next gear of investment in the Major League payroll. With the audience numbers up, the core pieces farther along, and a pipeline of talent working its way up the minor leagues, needing a much shorter bridge to span the gap between what’s here now and what’s coming, we’re reaching the point where the kinds of moves it will take to add the pieces necessary for that next step look much more palatable, financially.

“I’ve always felt that if you want to take free agency, for example, you don’t want to build a team based on free agency,” he said, echoing what a sentiment he’s used since the beginning of his tenure to defuse the sorts of outlandish hypotheticals– the let’s get Prince Fielder and Yu Darvish kind of stuff– that easily tempt fans, but don’t make a whole lot of practical business sense, especially given the nature of this particular ownership group, and would be extremely difficult to execute even under the best of circumstances– especially as MLB’s lone team in a “foreign” market.

He continues, however, by saying that “if you’re finalizing your roster with one or two free agents, for the sake of argument, and you’re overpaying one or two out of 25 guys, the overpayment makes sense relative to the other part of the payroll as a whole.”

Now, with the talk of a “championship calibre” offence and bullpen, it may seem like this is Anthopoulos saying that he’s ready for that kind of finalization of the roster, but I don’t think it’s quite so easy to parse the words that way. After all, there is the acknowledged hole in left, and the unmentioned ones at second base and DH, plus the fact that Alex makes no bones about how the rotation is almost entirely in flux.

“I think everyone can do the math,” he says of his starters. “I think we’re just going to try to upgrade the rotation any way that we can. It’s not going to be forced and it’s not going to be with a [specific] number [of acquisitions] in mind. Right now the only guys under guaranteed contracts are obviously Romero and Morrow. Everyone has options or is a free agent, arbitration eligible and so on. From a rotation spot, the only guarantees are those two. Everyone else has really got to earn their way in.”

Answering follow-up questions he’s even more emphatic, saying that neither JA Happ nor Henderson Alvarez– the two most likely current candidates to fall in behind Romero and Morrow– has a guaranteed spot next year. “If we start saying five spots in the rotation are guaranteed and we promise everybody those five and then go out and sign a free agent, or make a trade or two to add a starter or two,” he says, “we have to call guys back and say, we’re going back on our promise and I don’t want to do that.”

He goes as far as suggesting the possibility of the minors for Alvarez, and the bullpen for Happ, all of which is music to the dissatisfied fan’s ears– as is the fact that he also made clear that they’re “not in the market right now for going after prospects, guys that are years away. That doesn’t mean we won’t take someone if they can be put in a trade, but it’s not going to be the focus for what we’re trying to do.”

I’ve seen, especially this year, a lot of fans try to put Anthopoulos in a box, suggesting that obvious tenets of his early-on philosophy– accumulating prospects and picks, years of control, and refusing to overpay for assets– were indelible parts of his being, rather than simply being necessary for the particular phase of team-building he was in. It’s fantastic to hear him make clear that he’s not this kind of monolithic caricature, and that he’s ready to take some of the resources he was surely promised– and let’s not forget, he very likely wouldn’t have taken the job if he didn’t feel that ownership was committed to doing right by him and his vision, much the way it’s been speculated that his top lieutenant, Tony La Cava, turned down Baltimore last summer over a lack of autonomy over staffing– and make the next step.

Part of what I’ve felt has held Anthopoulos back from lobbying harder for major expenditures has been the fact that he saw how it became his former boss’s undoing, as Rogers tightened the purse strings once they saw that the big contracts they allowed JP Ricciardi to sign were failing to produce the desired results. Perhaps Anthopoulos believes he’s now entering a safe zone, a place where the odd, inevitable big money misstep can likely be masked by the vast depth that’s starting to come through the system.

Even if that were true, however, his comments indicate in no way that a major off-season will definitely come to fruition.

“In free agency, you’re targeting a certain player, and I think where you make the mistakes is when you target someone, if you don’t get that player, you start settling,” he explains, true to his usual, austere, conservative form. But again we can ask ourselves, who is the audience for this statement: the fans who need to be tempered in their excitement, or perhaps the clubs and agents he intends to be dealing with over the next five months?

It could be either, it could be both, but at least he’s actually saying something along those lines to someone, and though his comments may simply be setting up a PR win for himself and the front office when Rogers ultimately recoils from the requests he makes this winter, that there seems a genuine chance he’ll actually be able to pull off shoring up the rotation while maintaing the strong offence and bullpen he already has in place is a tremendous silver lining for what has been a dreary few weeks.

Comments (208)

  1. “But again we can ask ourselves, who is the audience for this statement: the fans who need to be tempered in their excitement, or perhaps the clubs and agents he intends to be dealing with over the next five months?”

    Or he is just stating the truth – which is always so much less absolute than people want to accept. You can’t just target just one player because it makes no sense to. It would just be lazy.

    Good analysis as always. Unfortunately to the rabid “fans” his talk of getting free agents will just be him flip-flopping on his philosophy. Me, I’m being patient… until winter meetings. But I sure expect a big move or two then.

    • “Unfortunately to the rabid “fans” his talk of getting free agents will just be him flip-flopping on his philosophy.”

      I think I’d consider those “fans” “idiots”, who probably also don’t understand the concept of changing one’s opinion when circumstances change.

  2. ‘dis gonna be good.

  3. Great post Stoeten–championship calibre, as always!
    I’m not sure AA’s main audience are the fans, as he’s often said that he’s focused on long term results, and is confident that fans will be happiest once the team becomes a perennial contender. Perhaps his audience is Rogers, although again he’s said before that he makes his case to Beeston who then deals with ownership. Given AA’s seemingly tight relationship with Paul, I can’t believe he’s trying to manage that in public. So I’m left with the belief that his message is to agents (of free-agents). He can’t talk to them directly now but he can get his message out through the media—the Jays are ready to contend, and to pay for it. But even if I’m not his intended primary audience, his message is music to my ears.

  4. “I’ve seen, especially this year, a lot of fans try to put Anthopoulos in a box, suggesting that obvious tenets of his early-on philosophy– accumulating prospects and picks, years of control, and refusing to overpay for assets– were indelible parts of his being, rather than simply being necessary for the particular phase of team-building he was in. It’s fantastic to hear him make clear that he’s not this kind of monolithic caricature”

    It is so sad that this type of point has to be made. Someone with half a brain should be able to understand that strategy is adjusted over time and along the progress of a plan.

  5. The thing is, the offense is not championship calibre. They have too many hackers in the lineup like lind, arencibia, davis etc who really struggle at getting on base. They need a strong obp guy like youkilis to play 1b. I would be disappointed if AA went onto next season without making some changes to the lineup. They seem to struggle against quality pitchers like price, sabathia, bucholz, and rays pitcing . They see them very often as well and they cant figure them out meaing their approach could be better. The bullpen can be very strong no doubt and the starting pitching needs improvement for sure.

    • When this team isn’t riddled with injury, Davis is on the bench and Arencibia’s batting ninth.

      • Still got lind in against RHPs who sucks. Also, they have to be concerned about escobar. Hes been more awful than not this year.

        • Arrencibia is still better then most in the AL, you need to compare to the competition

          Napoli (and he is a 1B/DH as well), Wieters, Santana, are the only guys off the top of my head that are better then him. Plus D’Arnaud is touted to be better then him.

          Yunel being awful is an overstatement. Look at his rWAR over 2 Win’s. Do some research before you make these outlandish comments.

          Lind doesn’t suck against RHP .325obp against RHP this year 745OPS. Not great but far from sucking.

          As for the Jays lineup looking bad against the Aces in baseball… Have you not realized that that is why they are called Aces? They do that to every lineup.

          • Please, Please, Please don’t just cite WAR like its the answer to everything baseball. Yunel Escobar has an OBP under .300, an OPS under .650 with almost no power and no SB. If you look carefully, his offensive WAR is only 0.5 (which kind of sucks). He then is given 2.5 Wins Above Replacement by whatever shady defensive metric rWAR uses. There has been NO redeeming feature of Yunel’s offensive season and WAR reflects that, as it should.

            What were you saying about research?

          • @ Ray

            I am sorry I didn’t realize defense had nothing to do with baseball. Yes his bat has taken a step back but if you look at the competition at SS in this league you will see that he is far from the worst. On top of that, he is one of the better defensive SS’s in the league. Not sure why WAR is not a legit stat of a player. Have you seen the plays that Yunel has made that guys like Hardy, Jeter, Zobrist/Rodriguez simply can’t make? He is easily the best/2nd best offensive SS in the division (better then Hardy, Rodriguez, Aviles) and is by far the best defensive. Not sure how you don’t get that…

        • you make great points and for the most part I agree. I’ve played some pro ball (A) as a pitcher and can tell you if I had MLB stuff most of the jays w/n bother me as they lack plate discipline ( notice how much better EE is now that hes is willing to take a walk like Bautista if they throw him shit balls). Thaames was your classic hackr-throw it close and he would chase. Davis and Arencibia are terrible in this regars and Escobar has regressed this year-his walks are way down.
          As an improvement to the team they should look at Nick Swisher if the Yanks let him go. A stitchhitter who can fill in at 4 spots and has a high OBP for EE and JB to drive in.
          However, above all they need 2 good SPs that would rank equal to or greater than Ricky. Alvarez belongs in the minors as he is too predicatble at this stage

          • if I had mlb stuff I could shut down shitty hitters too

            but i dont have mlb stuff :( 65MPH fastball

    • I don’t disagree on the lineup having off nights against strong pitching, but the majority of clubs have the same problem. The fact you are overlooking, is that those pitchers are the cream of the crop because they get outs. But the Jays (the healthy lineup) have put up top of the league numbers against all kinds of pitching, both horrible, mediocre and good, and once in a while, they have broken out against the best in the league.

    • “They seem to struggle against quality pitchers like price, sabathia, bucholz, and rays pitching”

      Yeah that would happen, like it does for the rest of the fucking league.

      • Yeah, but they struggle every fucking time. When was the last time they beat up price,sabathia, or bucholz? Never happens. I know they’re good but they cut the through the jays lineup like a hot knife through butter. They should do ok against them once in a while.

        • Plus, I didnt say they ONLY struggle against good pitchers. They could use some help in obp against even mediocre ones.

        • Jays beat up CC pretty good Aug 29 2003 and chased him after 5 innings last september 16th.
          They got to Price in three innings on July 25, 2011
          Bucholz, well, Sept 29, 09

    • Great, you’ve identified the problem .Let’s all go to the championship offence machine, jam a skittle in there and get a whole bunch of championship offence on the cheap. Show me the teams that don’t struggle against the ‘best pitchers in the league’.

    • OBP is a great statistic and all, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle. Having a lineup full of high-OBP guys does not in itself make you a great offence.

      Take, for example, the league leading teams in OBP, and their ranking by runs scored:
      1. Cardinals, .342; 4th in runs
      2. Rangers, .341; 1st in runs
      3. Tigers, .337; 10th in runs
      4. Yankees, .337; 2nd in runs
      5. Twins, .332; 12th in runs

      Don’t get me wrong, there’s a correlation, but there’s more to an offense than OBP. Having a bunch of guys who can walk does not automatically translate to an unstoppable offense.

      • Those top 4 teams are all in the mix for a playoff spot and are all top 10 offenses. The twins would be better if they had more power in their lineup. OBP is very much one of the most important offensive stats. Especially in the AL.

        • Yes it’s important. But clearly the Jays are finding a way to score THE MOST RUNS OF ANY TEAM without a high Team OBP.

          Do I think they should work to improve OBP? Yes I do. But I still agree with AA when he says the offence is pretty damned good as it is (or was before the injuries)

        • Hey! I saw a movie about OBP. I think it was a Bollywood flick. Starred a guy named Prad Bitt or something.

    • So, when they were the top scoring team in MLB, that still wasn’t championship calibre?

    • We would lead in runs scored if not for a as many as 8/9 starting lineup being out.

      RUNS SCORED.

      As in the ultimate product of all batting.

  6. Stoeten,

    Hopefully this is the beginning of some major investments that help propel the Jays to where the sincere majority want them to be.

    You make one point that is laughable though and can not support the cause ..

    “He very likely wouldn’t have taken the job if he didn’t feel that ownership was committed to doing right by him and his vision…”

    What 35 year old (whatever) would not take 1 of 30ish Baseball jobs in the world??? Even if it was run by Interbrew!

    • Did you seriously not read the next part of that sentence?

      • LaCava’s decision was about autonomy (as you say) and situation .. AA would certainly have taken this job under nearly ANY scenario ..

        • I don’t know how you can possibly say that. La Cava, and others’, reported decline of Baltimore is far more instructive than you want to believe: serious candidates who can work comfortably in just about any front office don’t just fall all over themselves to take these jobs under any terms, even if they’re rare. They’re keen enough not to set themselves up to fail.

          • I agree with you for the most part .. however who the heck knew who AA was?? I mean he had a huge fan in Beeston and while he is exceptionally influential and respected who else would give a 32 year old Canadian his 1st GM job? AA would have been silly to NOT accept this GM role or any other regardless of situations. These guys have egos and think they can turn around or deal with most environments. This is a good thing!

          • @beeds

            Why do you think AA would be in such a rush to take a GM job where he didn’t think he could succeed? How is that better than waiting a few years and then getting an opportunity in a more desirable situation, while still in all likelihood before he turned 40?

            I don’t understand your assumption that he’d sign up for anything just to get “General Manager” on his business card.

    • I was kinda thinking the same thing.

      I get the Lacava and Baltimore comparison…but, really, that is arguably the worst situation for any prospective GM to consider.

      Even cheapass Rogers isn’t as bad as Angelos.

      • If Rogers was as adamantly constraining with resources and insistent on operating the club as a shell game with crazy layers of PR insulating fans from the truth as people want to believe, yes I think they might be.

        • I actually think Rogers would love to spend money on the Jays if they new it would make them a competitive team. They just have too much invested in supporting TV channels, radio stations, the dome, etc. that are tied to the team. Unfortunately no one has come to them and said if we sign these 2 or 3 guys, we will be a winner.

        • Didn’t Ricciardi accept the job under the above-mentioned constraints?

          Zing!

      • I think AA keeps Rogers as the distraction he needs to do the building … I would not be surprised if he already knows pretty much how the financing will play out in the various phases of his plan. That he does not brag about more money than he currently spends is a mark of intelligence and bodes well. Let the short-sighted turds churn in their puddle and try to piss on Rogers from there while AA waits for the core that can actually be supported by spending some serious money.

  7. I truly believe this is the off-season where we see what Rogers owns a baseball team for: to win or to invest.

    I know most of us really don’t care about ERA, but for those that do, when you’re 25th in the game in starter’s ERA (4.76 ERA), you’re not going to win many ballgames, even with a top 5 offense.

    For us sabermetricians, the Jays are 28th in SP with a brutal 4.91 FIP, 26th with a 4.44 xFIP, and 27th with a gross 3.9 fWAR.

    Some numbers to compare a great rotation to the Jays:

    Washington Nationals’ starting pitchers have a combined 8.09 K/9, 2.73 BB/9, and a HR/9 of 0.76.

    Blue Jays’ starting pitchers have a combined 6.20 K/9, 3.60 BB/9, and 1.30 HR/9.

    I know the Jays have been dealing with injuries, and the Nationals got to draft 1st overall for Strasburg, but Drabek and Hutchison weren’t doing much anyway, and the rest of the Nationals’ rotation is insane. The Jays don’t have to be quite as good as that, but it shows just how vast the Jays are from having a solid rotation.

    Anthopoulos has to work a lot of magic to make this team a contender for 2013, IMO.

    • Two of Washington’s top four starters were acquired in one off-season, though.

      • Yep, which is why I feel this is the off-season where we see what Rogers – maybe even Beeston – think about the team as that: a baseball team. There’s a business side to it, but eventually you have to spend in areas to get to that echelon you strive for.

        If the Jays did something similar to what the Nationals did, sign a solid #3 starter and make a trade for a #2-3 starter (even if they overpaid a bit), would that make them a playoff team? I have my doubts, but it would definitely set them up a lot better than where they currently are.

        They need to do something, and the type of moves the Nationals did last off-season are a good model to possibly emulate.

        • Why should we have any faith they will? As Andrew correctly points out, 2 of the 4 Nationals starters could have been had by the Jays in the last off-season and they chose to pass. Why does anyone expect this off-season to be any different?

          • What makes you think they “Chose to pass”?

          • Perhaps because the starting rotation wasn’t such an area of focus last season? The Jays had a brutal bullpen in 2011 and needed to be rectified, and it was.. it just didn’t pan out.

          • Last off-season the Jays didn’t need starters, they needed rotation spots which they could use to try out Cecil, Alvarez, Hutchison, Drabek, McGowan, McGuire, and Jenkins, and see which of them stuck.

            As it turned out the first one sucked his way to New Hampshire, the middle three got injured, and the latter two sucked their way out of future contention. But at the time the Jays needed to give them all a chance. Mission accomplished. Now we know that Hutchison is probably the closest thing to a MLB starter in that group; Drabek needs to cut back on walks, Alvarez needs an out-pitch, and the rest are probably bullpen fodder.

            Next season there is no one for whom we need to save rotation spots, as the Lansing three and others (Osuna, e.g.) are all at least two years away. As such we are free to make offers.

          • Why not have faith? It’s a better feeling; leads to more enjoyable fan-dom … Do you really think those 2 starters would have the same results on this year’s Jays as on the Nats? Live in glass less than half empty if you want. THAT choice is yours. Pretty much the only one for those of us in here.

    • Winning is an investment and those guys at Rogers do know that. A lot of them were alive in ’92-’93.

      If they really thought 30M (for 2013) spent on 2 FA pitchers would get them into the WS, they’d go for it. WS + pennant race is worth a fortune to Rogers.

      So we will see if they share AA’s sentiments.

    • I guarantee you Rogers owns a baseball team solely as an investment, since their shareholders wouldn’t let them own it otherwise. With that said, making the team a perennial contender / winner is good for business, so they are also interested in winning, as far as it makes them money.

  8. gose + escobar + jpa to d-backs for upton. get ‘er done.

    • D’Backs don’t need a catcher.

      • That’s good caz JPA ain’t much of a catcher anyway!!!

        BAAAZING!

        • Arencibia’s not all bad though. If he stayed healthy he probably would have had a 2 fWAR season. He just needs to clog the bases more, much to Buck’s dismay.

    • this is the kind of ridiculous chatter that assumes far too much from past results and is more like playing chess with yourself in your own mind than any kind of possible relevance to baseball and the extra complexities surrounding all such chessboard moves. The really great trades like Carter et al are totally shocking and you think at first they might be terrible mistakes. I’ll give AA 5 years to show me he has one of those in him … they’re extremely rare. At this point we have no way of telling whether Moises Sierra will have a better career than Upton or not.

  9. first – sign David Ortiz as DH to a 2-year contract

    second – trade for King Felix at whatever cost

    third – sign Edwin Jackson to a 2-year contract

    fourth – Hold Championship Parade along Yonge Street!

    • Jackson wouldn’t sign a three-year deal with the Pirates last offseason. Why would he take a two-year deal from the Jays this time?

    • Ortiz sounds like he’s done in Boston so he might be available.
      But I’m going to reiterate my vote for Swisher. He’s more versatile and younger.

      Everyone wants Felix – there’s no evidence that he can be had

      E-Jax… sure why not. Anibal Sanchez too!

      I’d offer Ian Stewart a minor league contract too. Give him a chance to win a bench job in ST and/or have him as insurance when the inevitable Brett-Lawrie-just-went-headfirst-through-a-dugout-wall Injury occurs next year.

      • i suspect ejax gets a qualifying offer… and it isn’t out of the question that ortiz will, too.

        i could be wrong here but i don’t think AA gives up his top two picks for those two guys. we’ll have a better idea who the jays will chase once the deadline for qualifying offers passes.

        • Might be a second rounder if we end up picking top 10 next year…. heh.

        • The team signing the player doesn’t give up there pick anymore. They just add a spot before they pick. Per new CBA

          • I thought that too. So I looked it up:

            http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20111122&content_id=26026776

            • The current compensation system for losing “Type A” and “Type B” free agents will be eliminated. Under the new system, teams will receive compensation for losing a free agent only if they offer — and the player rejects — a guaranteed one-year contract equal to the average salary of the league’s 125 highest-paid players. Compensation for losing such players will consist of one Draft pick at the end of the first round.

            • When clubs sign a compensation-eligible player, they will forfeit their own first-round selection, or their second-round selection if they pick in the top 10.

          • neither of those two points are true.

            1- signing team loses first round pick (top 10 protected)

            2- team that loses the player gets a pick in the sandwich round.

      • I hate Nick Swisher…I fucking hate his guts..him and stupid tongue wagging, finger waving, smug smiling, tobacco chewing ugly ass!!
        FUCK HIM

        ok…I feel better now

        • Oh yeah! He’s a giant douche. But I’ll feel less badly about him when he’s on my team and getting on base 38% of the time with EE and J-bats coming up behind him.

          I can forgive a lot of douchiness when you’re doing that for my favourite team.

          See:
          Lawrie, Brett

      • I saw on MLBTR where billy butler could be made available in the offseason. He would be a nice option for DH. Unfortunately I think the royals want MLB ready pitching in return so the jays might not be a fit.

  10. i like AA. he has done an excellent job. …but isn’t this the same sort of stuff that we heard last offseason (albeit more focused on starting pitching) prior to AA going all ‘payroll parameters’ at the winter meetings?

    i suspect it is still going to be tough to attract free agents to a fifth place team in a foreign country that plays on turf in a half empty concrete monstrosity… and if you empty out the system you are pushing all your chips into the pot with nothing to bridge to. AA is in a tough spot here unless rogers does a 180 and really opens up the wallet and dramatically overpays for a couple of free agents..

    • Not even close.

      Last year AA said payroll parameters at the winter meetings.

      This year, well in advance of the winter meetings, he’s openly talking about overpaying 1 or 2 players because the rest of the roster is good enough.

      • i’m not suggesting that AA is literally saying the same things… we’re just seeing the same themes we saw early last offseason (before the payroll parameters stuff).

        last offseason:

        beeston – (paraphrase) ‘we have money’

        AA – (paraphrase) ‘we’re not looking for prospects’ + ‘we have strong core and are looking to take the next step’

        etc.

      • and just because he SAID payroll parameters did not mean there were any … People admire him for his ninja-juggling-on-a-tightrope and think that at the same time he is going to tell everybody our here everything. Rogers really has no part of it that really feels the deflected heat. Smart move I say.

  11. http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=17998

    There was an interesting article on baseball prospectus about Travis Snider. Interesting read I thought I’d paste it for you unsubscribed plebs:

    *SNIP*

    [Note: Yeah, please don't do that.]

  12. Why would he have to do his talking to his bosses through the media especially if it’s Beeston? From what he’s always said, he just has to go to Beeston and explain why he wants player x and so on. You’d think it would be just a matter of him doing so especially if he believes they’re ready. After that it would be up to Beeston to make the argument to Rogers management. I don’t see how it would change now.

    As for the general premise of him asking for more money like Riccardi I think anyone (Rogers management) with a bit of awareness regarding the franchise knows the situation is a lot different. It should also be noted Riccardi got the money only after Ted Rogers decided to spend because he was worried about not doing it after buying the Dome. The problem was that after decimating the scouting staff and spending little in the amateur draft over a number of years just as ROGERS wanted, the foundation wasn’t nearly as strong as it is now. In this case AA has a much better foundation to work with that’s likely to only get stronger as all the higher ceiling guys make their way through the system.

    Beeston has said all along that they will spend when the time is right. Prior to this season you could have argued the time was then but imo there was lots of questions still to answer. I think there’s still a couple to answer going forward but a lot less and lets face it I think Jays management knows better than anyone the answer is not in the minor leagues right now. If they don’t spend this coming year to plug the holes I don’t know when they will. TV ratings are through the roof. Attendance is up over 25% in a single year and probably would have been higher without all the problems. Those were caveats Beeston dropped as an excuse when they didn’t spend this winter and while it’s only one year they certainly look to have been answered.

    http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Columnists/Elliott/2009/10/05/11307181-sun.html

  13. I think that unless Henderson Alvarez pitches differently for the rest of the year you have to go in to the offseason looking to bump him out fo the top 5 if you are serious re contending.

    He really should start the season in AAA working on stuff (like an out pitch) and be made to earn the promotion to Toronto. (hopefully not in LV)

    There really is nothing wrong with ‘blocking’ him and asking him to pitch his way up (as should be the case with Drabek).

    I think my problem with AA’s unwillingness to overpay with prospects or $$ for propsects is that the alternative is worse. I mean – you are talking 2 or 3 years before the guys in Lansing are likely ready.

    The aim is to win games with this broad lineup (EE, Bautista etc) – they’re not here forever. So you use all your scouts and you pay the price like MLW did with Lawrie and the NAts did to get Gio. Not much other option at this point

  14. I wonder what the NPV of moving the AAA team from LV to Buffalo is. I would say that it’s in the tens of millions of dollars.

    Aside from Mark McCoy’s travel costs, you have an ability to assess players, you have enhanced trade values (no-one believes LV stats and just write them off – even good players), you have an ability to get people to TOR games when you need them and you have commercial tie ins for local businesses etc..

    Losing the relationship with SYR was a fairly stupid chapter in the JPR-Godfrey book given the effect it has had on the whole franchise.

    I would be using at least $5m or $6m + in incentives as a carrot for Buffalo to sign up for 2 years – and pointing out the guys at Lansing could be there in 2013.

  15. I’m cautiously optimistic about the winter. Like others, I think it’s pretty much the time for Rogers to show what they’re about.

    Attendance and TV ratings are up. Time for some reinvestment in the product.

    • I am not optimistic about the winter. It will be shitty and cold like it always is.

      Rogers is a corporation. They’re about making money. They will spend when they can envision a return on their investment or when they come to the conclusion that if they don’t spend it may cost them more.

      • Even looking at it from this viewpoint, as others have pointed out the attendance is likely up this year due to the buzz around the ballclub heading into 2012.

        If the Jays do nothing of significance in the offseason and finish this year under .500, I fully expect the attendance to go down.

        And I don’t think the bean counters at Rogers want that.

        Even if it’s purely for financial reasons (i.e. to continue the momentum of increased revenues), I think there will be some money pumped into the big league team.

        • That’s fine. Just wanted to make sure we were on the same page. I’m annoyed by fans who think that some corporate owner owes them something because they went to a game once and bought a hot dog and because they really, really care about their team.

  16. the “cold water”/reality check of “targeting” players the Jays want are the comments over the last couple of days from Dirk Hayhurst and Gregg Zaun about FAs not really wanting to come to Toronto – in fact, Hayhurst had the revelation about teammates he knew who were ‘HOPING’ to get out of The T dot (sacrilege). Now, 2009 was not the happiest of years, so perhaps that can be some context to Garfoose’s comments but still, Zaun was very clear about the perception of high taxes, problems for players with wives and families (the wives have to be recruited far more than the organization knows perhaps).

    And, as Sam Cosentino pointed out, post 9/11 border crossing is far worse than the glory years of World Series Blue Jays

    Lots to overcome

    • That’s why I think we should be prepared for an overpay and just be ready for the inevitable comments that are going to claim it was a bad move because of the price.

      We’ve been through it before with Riccardi and while it didn’t work out then there’s no reason for it not to this time if it’s done on the right players.

      • sure overpay, but it sounds like there are some flat out Nos – because you can’t reasonably overpay the amount with some guys – ie, happiness over an extra couple of million, when they have already made 10s of millions

      • People won’t get mad at an overpay, if the team is ready for contention. It is when you overpay and the team isn’t ready (ie Fielder last offseason). Heck Fielder may not even make the playoffs with Detroit this year with a better lineup and easier division.

  17. I’m not sure there’s a hole at the DH spot, EE seems to be the answer there, but there is a hole at 1B but then again EE also seems to be a fit there. The real needs are a LF, and starting pitching. We can all agree Davis is not the answer in LF as an everyday player. Sierra isn’t either. Gose isn’t ready to be an everyday OF in #MLB yet. But I think AA is a little ahead of himself when he says this team has a championship like bullpen? Really? Our Bullpen is no where near Championship Calibre.

    • EE in LF…

      i mean if he is playing both 1B and DH… why not add a third position?

    • I think this pen as a group deserves to have the rest of the season to show what it can do before we right them off. It’s only been about half a month but statistically the pen is on pace for it’s best month of the year.

      Going into next year you can either try and resign a guy like Lyon or move Stroman into his spot and then replace Jenkins with Happ if he’s still around for your long man. Happ isn’t really a necessity either with 2 good lefties in Loup and Oliver. Delabar’s splits also make him a great option vs lefties as will.

    • Why isn’t Sierra the answer in LF?

      • Why wasn’t Thames or Snider? He might be one day but are we going to waste another season or half a season to find out if he can match his AAA numbers which by the way weren’t as good as Snider or Thames.

        Maybe the Jays will have to economize in left if the budget isn’t there. That’s the problem none of us know just how much spending money AA will be able to pry from Ted’s cold dead hands.

    • I’ll take Cooper at first if we land a stud in LF.

      Or I’ll take Ortiz as DH (he likes Jose, maybe Jose can convince him). 2 years – like Frank Thomas. Frank Thomas was a great signing if the team was a little better overall. Just like you wouldn’t build a team around Winfield but he was perfect in the moment.

  18. Andrew Stoeten likes to swear.

    And he has a beard.

    That’s so cool — and scary too.

  19. Sign Ortiz and Scuatro.
    Sign Anibal.
    Trade for a number two starter.

    • I like all of these. Ortiz may cost $12MM, but not for more than two years at that rate. Why not? He isn’t showing regression and this team needs a DH. Encarnacion can hold it down at 1B.

      And I LOVE that someone else sees what I saw in Scutaro. He could really capably fill the void at 2B when KJ leaves and he’s better and most likely cheaper due to age. I see him playing for a long time, though.

      I am vexed on what to do for a FA starter, and am a little wary of Anibal’s (SSS) record in the AL so far. I would prefer McCarthy plus one more plus (size) innings-eater like Blanton. That gives you your gamble on high-end talent at discount prices, and another arm that’s dependable and showing some good peripherals this season.

      • I don’t know how much longer Scutaro plans on playing, but when I say sign him, I mean for only 1-year as a stop gap for Hech or some other move. Give him 1-year, $5 million-ish. Maybe add an option on there with a nice buyout option for Marco.

        Ortiz I love for a two-year deal, at something like $25 million. A heart of the lineup that consists of Bautista-Ortiz-EE would be epic. Plus I think he is friends with both Jose and Ricky, so maybe they can help recruit.

        Right now Anibal’s bad AL start is too small of a sample size, if he continues to tank, then maybe.

        • 1 yr with mutual or performance-based option does sound good for Scutaro. I think it’s possible he could be reliable performer, or at least worthy bench depth for a playoff team in year 2 of that contract.

  20. This post, as great as it is, is kinda getting my hopes up. It makes me think that the Jays are gonna spend.

    Then on the podcast yesterday, Drew saying he thinks that the Jays wont be outbid on Greinke gets my hopes up even higher.

    I don’t like to get my hopes up, and I never did last off-season, even with all the Yu speculation. But my hopes are getting kinda high.

    This team is really just a few pieces away from being a really good team.

  21. I don’t see David Ortiz as any different from Frank Thomas in this situation, sorry. I think he is in steep regression, and having an anomaly of a decent year in which the Red Sox are NOT a contender.

    I just don’t see a point in signing a guy like that, when we have a younger, better version of him Encarnacion.

    In my mind the areas of focus I see are 1b ( obvious I know ), 2b, and without a doubt the starting rotation. We have two guys that we know can pitch in Romero and Morrow, adding one more marquee arm and a having maybe Laffey and Alvarez at the end of the rotation could be damned good. A left fielder to shore up the outer regions, and we have a team. Escobar can go either way for me; at the very least you know we have a great fielding shortstop a little power. I genuinely think D’Arnaud makes the 40 man out of camp next year, but I’m basing my opinion the information of others as I’ve barely seen him play with my own eyes.

    All in all, this is winter to start adding those components and hope our prospects are what we think they are.

    • I would rather spend 12 million on a good left fielder or center fielder and have Colby go to left than spend 12 million on a dh only type. If money is going to be an issue and lets face it, that’s most likely going to be the case, 12 mil for a dh is a luxury we can’t afford with so many more holes to fill. If we didn’t ideally need 3 starters, a left fielder and a 2nd baseman then sure I’d love to have him hitting between Jose and EE. Unfortunately, the pitching is going to eat up most of your budget imo.

      • On the other hand, would it be better to spend $12 million to upgrade DH from Lind to Ortiz and let Gose and Hech be zeroes in the lineup and solid in the field; or would it be better to spend $12 million to get a great bat in LF/2B, but who almost certainly would represent a downgrade defensively there, and have Lind DH?

        Lind is less of a lineup hole, but at the same time replacing him doesn’t hurt our defense.

        It’s an intriguing question, at any rate.

        • Lind and Cooper platoon! Between them they’d have one bat, one defensive position and one chin!

        • Again I don’t necessarily think DH is our first priority. I mean sure if we strike out in getting the pitchers we need it might be our only option and again if we had the money for all of them of course I would love to have Ortiz.

          That said, Lind’s been pretty good since he came back up. I want to see once and for all what he can do the rest of the season bad back or not. If he is still putting up an OPS of 850 over the last few weeks then I think I’d roll the dice on him one last time as a left handed platoon at dh. Please note if I had my way he wouldn’t be facing left handers unless it was an emergency. Of course if he reverts to being sub 700 Adam again then I cut him loose and try and look elsewhere.

      • Give me a good bat at DH and good glove (albeit terrible bat) in LF over a good bat in LF and no value from DH.

        I’d prefer Ortiz and Davis/Sierra over say Swisher and Lind/Cooper.

        • The Yankees don’t seem to miss not having a full-time DH. Great place to stash their aging stars from playing the field.

          What the Jays need is pitching. Starters who have proven track records of 180+ innings and who have some success in the AL.

          With a strong farm system, AA has plenty of trading chips to make a trade to acquire a starter in the Justin Masterson mold. Young, team-friendly terms, plus pitches, success in the AL, capable of eating innings.

          Acquiring a high-end pitcher like Greinke is not going to happen. Sure, AA is going to kick the tires on most if not all FA starters. But the team is not ready yet. There are too many pieces missing to go out and overpay for the final touches (which would be a pitcher and a bat).

          AA has many options in terms of the trade market but the Jays have little leverage in terms of the FA market. Many players view Toronto unfavourably, for a variety of reasons (turf, tough division, different country, no ESPN, etc.).

          Best to continue building the core group and utilize the minor league system as trade chips.

    • Thomas would have worked out great if we were a contending team. He smacked it hard. He didn’t cost that much – 10M a year for 2 years is not going to be a problem for the Jays even in the worst case scenario.

  22. The Jays need to put Steve Delabar in consultation with training staff to rehab McGowan and others, maybe go sign Jeremy Bonderman as a “Ben Sheets-like” reclamation project and work his shoulder back into shape

    http://recruitingcycle.com/2012/04/dreams-never-fade-steve-delabar-hbo-real-sports-interview/

  23. Training staff and medical staff can be important recruiting points with FAs, (see Phoenix Suns in the past)

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/mariners/2017517739_mari16.html

  24. “…needs to be taken with a grain of salt the size of Lot’s wife,”

    Stoeten, I wouldn’t have taken you as one to resort to Biblical allusions.

  25. Speaking of pick hoarding, there are a number of potential free agents who could be signed without AA needing to give up any picks.

    Like say, Greinke, or Dempster, or…

  26. First, I only skimmed Andrew’s post. Seemed to make sense. I think. Not exactly sure what his point was though.

    Second, to me AA sounds like a portfolio manager defending his losing stock positions.

    Third, a championship calibre offense probably has better representation on the all star team. We might love Lawrie, Rasmus and… EE but if you could trade straight up for Longoria, Granderson or Ellsbury, and maybe Big Papi wouldn’t you at least consider it? In the glory days the Blue Jays had bona bide all stars at a number of positions. Don’t even get me started on the starting rotation…

    • @ Kevin. Agreed. You need more than this boom/bust offense to be championship caliber. You don’t win championships by tagging bad pitchers for 4 homeruns one game only to accumulate 8 baserunners over the next two games. Good players and teams are far more consistent in their attack.

      • When Bautista is here it’s not a boom/bust offense. It needs a DH and LF upgrade, which, I hate to say it, could even come from Sierra, but when healthy this team can rake.

    • “Third, a championship calibre offense probably has better representation on the all star team.”

      Joke? All-star team is voted by fans. So you just want popular players?

    • First… ok so you haven’t learned how to read, glad you alerted us.

      Second… useless narrative. AA said the bullpen is good and uh it sure does look that way. He said the offence is good and it did lead in runs scored until we lost 8/9 starters. He said rotation needs improvement – which everyone (even idiots like you) should agree with.

      Third… uh talk about not being sure what someone’s point is. Is our payroll 300M now?

      • Apparently we live in different realities. In my reality the Jays were no better than a .500 team before the recent rash of injuries. They also weren’t the only team to lose key players. One might argue that they scored a bunch of runs- and that is always a good thing- but you only have to watch them play Oakland and Tampa Bay to grasp the point that there is a bit more to it than that.

        I am an ardent but casual fan. Perhaps, as you so kindly stated, I am an idiot. The kind of idiot that believed AA when he said it was his priority to add a middle of the order bat and top of the rotation starter last winter.

        Anyway… how did you make the jump to a 300M payroll? Were you just being an ass for the sake of being an ass or is that a defensible number? My point was that if you went position by position through the AL East and put together a single team there wouldn’t be a heavy representation from the Jays. Beyond Jose Bautista in right field who else would you truly choose? JPA? Probably not. Colby? Maybe but that would be a stretch. Lawrie? Gotta love him but eventually someone is going to notice that his stats are a bit light for 3rd base. EE? Great season but over Tex and Gonzalez? Escobar? Only if you think grounding out to the short stop has actual value.

        • Edwin Encarnacion was the second best DH this season (the position at which he was eligible), second only to Ortiz. He wasn’t voted onto the team, however, because Kansas City needed to have representation under the “every team in baseball must be represented at the all-star game” rule.

          Brandon Morrow was a virtual lock to make the team before he got injured.

          So yeah, I think the Jays are on the right track. And yes, the people who vote on the all-star game are idiots. (See EE’s snub.)

  27. Given the number of injuries both pitching and to starters really hard to gauge this years performance. Need another starter as with or without surgery Drabek is a huge question mark

  28. There is another way to interpret this.

    All the other places of the field have questions. The bullpen could be good enough. The offense could be good enough. The defense could be good enough.

    The starting pitching is not good enough. And there’s no one coming up any time soon who will make it good enough.

    There’s something nice about certainty. No worries about future regrets.

  29. Dear God,

    Please have Blue Jay ownership see the light to take the constraints off the wallet this off-season.
    Please have all of the goodwill built attract a big free agent or two to Toronto.
    Finally, please allow Toronto to have some October baseball

  30. I still believe that the #2 starter everyone is clamoring for AA to acquire is not going to come from FA. Very much as Latos was a “Who knew HE was even available”, so too will the SP that comes to Toronto this off-season.

    The best way to counteract the anti-Toronto sentiment that FA’s may (or may not) have, is to trade for them. Maybe Colby Rasmus didn’t want to come to Toronto, but when the deal was made he didn’t have a choice. FAs have the option of a) going where the most money is, b) going where they WANT to play or c) going closer to home. Absent a no-trade clause with Toronto on it, that isn’t an option for a player under contract and team control.

    You may be able to get a serviceable #3 on the open market (ala EJax or Perkins from Minnesota, but the likelihood of bringing in a FA #2 starter is unlikely.I agree with one of the comments above about getting King Felix whatever the cost. Aces dont grow on trees, and when they become available the price tag is often big, but then, so is the benefit… ask the Phillies how they feel about having been able to march Halladay, Lee and Hamels out there every few days. Toronto has not had that “Ace” since Doc left. We wont be signing Greinke… But Floyd, Peavy (if his $22m option isnt picked up) or a guy like EJax, Marcum or Liriano could be options… but i think the big fish is #1 or #2 on an MLB roster right now (think Garza in CHC or Hanson in ATL).

    That’s how I see it.

    • Totally agree that trading is still their best option because the player has no say in the matter.

      • What players do you think might be available in trade?

        ANY validity to the ‘Hech +’ for JUp idea?

        • I dont think there is a player in MLB that ISN’T available in trade for the right price, including someone like Jose Bautista. While I find it extremely unlikely that Joey Bats would be dealt…

          To put it in perspective…

          If Baltimore called offering Manny Machado and Dylan Bundy for Joey Bats would you pull the trigger? I sure as fuck would…

          Its about maximizing assets. While no one would want to see a player like Bautista or… GASP… LAWRIE leave TO, the harsh reality is, if an offer hits the table that AA simply cannot refuse, either one of those two are gone. In a flash. All GMs would operate on the same pretenses. ALA Miami “listening” on JJ, and Arizona “fielding calls” on J. Upton. Just because a player is perceived as “available” doesn’t mean they’ll be moved…

          Adversely, just because a player (Stanton for example) is deemed “untouchable”, doesn’t mean they cant be had for the right price.

          No one saw Latos being dealt.

          So after my long-winded response, the simple answer is… anyone is available… for the right price.

          When Wayne Gretzky was traded to LA, I learned that.

      • Dont tell that to Dwight Howard or NBA star players.

  31. I think I’ve done a pretty good (read: absolutely terrible) job of staying patient while AA builds a deep and strong foundation that will eventually become a mighty condo tower of world series championships – or some such metaphor.

    I even loved trading all of our left fielders for controllable, hard-throwing bullpen arms – the last two years proved to me that whatever we were doing wasn’t working, at least if you define working as not completely failing every time we had a goddamn lead. (wait for the but)

    BUT, I’ve got to say that this winter is going to be a make or break point for me. AA has done a great job of erasing the question marks that existed last year. Our 2013 team is almost entirely made up of sure things and empty slots. Its up to him to fill them credibly. By my count, he HAS to find the following:

    A LF – you don’t trade all the Left Fielders in your organization only to shift a defense first center fielder over there and say TA-DA! You just don’t, or at least you shouldn’t.
    Two pitchers; a 1/2 and a 3/4 – Are Jake Peavy and Joe fucking Saunders too much to ask for Rogers? I can’t go through another spring training talking myself into Chad Jenkins or Henderson Alvarez or whomever the new Aaron Laffey will be. I can’t and I won’t.

    AA’s a smart dude and it certainly looks like he’s set himself up for a fun offseason. But fuck, baseball’s too long a season to root for the same team that had no shot the past two years.

  32. Am I completely insane to think that this is just AA being remarkably candid and honest? I didn’t take his comments as PR spin or an attempt to communicate through the media with agents/Rogers decision-makers. I think the whole “targeting a certain player” spiel is possibly a softer way of saying that there are some FAs that still wouldn’t sign in Toronto if they gave them a blank check and the keys to the ‘dome. On a personal level, I think he’s also got something to prove–2013 will be his 4th season as GM and regardless of how well we all think he has done so far, he’s getting to that point in an executive’s career where they need to produce results or risk ending up on the unemployment line. If that is, in fact, a major determinant of when the purse strings will open, I think it’ll happen sooner than later.

    • It drives me crazy when people pretend that baseball players give two shits about where they play. Watching hockey and basketball (where players are offered the same amount of money by most suitors) warps perceptions. Baseball players go to whichever team offers them the most money. Period.

      You’re confusing correlation with causation. Good players tend to play in the glamorous markets because those teams shell out the cash, not because they’ve “always wanted to become a Yankee” or whatever shit they say at the press conference. If the Jays offer the most money, nine times out of ten they’ll get the player.

      • And how is it you’ve come to know that? Lots of heart to hearts with Star free agents I suppose? 9 out of 10. What amazing research you must have conducted to arrive at that number.

      • Well said. Unfortunate that it’s false.

        • I’ve been known to be wrong, but I’m pretty sure I’m not here.
          I can’t think of a single player who turned down significant money because he didn’t want to play somewhere. You think AJ Burnett had a boner for beaverclaws? Or that Randy Johnson first wanted desperately to join an expansion franchise, then realized that all he wanted all along was to wear the pinstripes? Or that Barry Bonds had always longed to visit Alcatraz? Carlos Beltran, Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols, CC Sabathia, Manny Ramirez – all of them followed the dollar signs. Fucking Johnny Damon shaved his beard to join the Yankees!

          I don’t understand how you dismiss that out of hand. Lots of those guys even spoke at length of how much they loved their original franchises, then bailed when they saw what they would have to leave on the table.

          • I think it’s more a question of when the money and term is more or less the same that those other considerations come into play, and how MUCH extra the Jays have to pay to get somebody to come here. I would expect it would be different with every individual player. But I don’t know, I’m just a guy sitting at home watching Spider Man with my four year old.

      • Agreed. I don’t think Prince is a Tiger because Detroit is such a great city. Also I think Yu may have naturally preferred Toronto, as a community, over Texas but the money was better in Arlington.

        • Does it really need to be said that Darvish didn’t choose Texas over Toronto or some such nonsense? His choices were, sign in Texas or go back to Japan.

      • I was under the impression that Cliff Lee turned down a bigger $$ offer from the Yankees to play for Philly. I could be mistaken though.

        However, yes, in most cases, money wins.

      • Not a good look to preach about correlation/causation and then pull a completely unsubstantiated number out of your ass. But let’s pretend you’re right (which you’re not, but I digress). A guy like Zack Greinke will have his choice of where to sign and he’ll get just about the same amount of money where ever unless someone really goes off the reservation. What incentive does he have to choose a team in the AL East that plays on carpet in a relatively hitter-friendly park where his face won’t be splashed on ESPN every Sunday or Monday night? That’s, of course, to say nothing of the fact that Canada’s tax system is much less friendly for pro athletes…I don’t know how much of this the teams offset with bonuses and tricks to reduce the burden, but I have to assume it’s a concern.

        If it’s a difference between, say, 4 years and $100 million or 6 years and $180 million, then yeah, guaranteed money wins out. If the years are the same and it’s a smaller difference, then I see no reason why guys won’t go either a) where they want to play, or b) where they have the best opportunity to succeed and get more guaranteed money down the line.

    • I don’t think it behooves a GM to say *anything* to the media unless there’s some benefit in it for them, and AA is a smart guy. On the flip side, I think GMs do themselves mostly a disservice if they are candid.

      I think he knew what he was saying, and if you were able to catch him at all in interviews after his scrum (the one with Wilner pre-game, for example), he answers to similar questions were virtually identical, word for word, which says to me that he’s rehearsed his message (not that I’m exactly an expert or anything… I’m just a dude commenting on a blog) .

      • I could be convinced to agree with you, much as I’ve bought into what AA said wholesale. However, I think his statements are beneficial to him, and I think they can be both sincere and rehearsed–consistency is important, regardless what the message is. Obviously he’s going to say good things about his club, but the fact that he’s being pragmatic and demonstrating a commitment to improvement can only buy him goodwill with any fan with critical thinking skills.

        I’m totally willing to admit that this might be confirmation bias on my part, so much as I want to see him as the anti-Ricciardi…a smart dude who doesn’t get bogged down in the world of spin and message control

  33. I think the club was 1 or 2 players away in just about any season you could name. What club wouldn’t improve by sprinkling in two really good players? What has happened this year to really boost AA’s belief in the championship caliber “core”? Nothing. It’s laughable to think one or two guys wouldn’t have meant more meaningful baseball in 2011. The wild card was only 91 wins. This whole core talk and championship caliber mumbo jumbo is just a bunch of happy clappy bullshit to excite the base.

    • Do you remember the questions about Morrow, EE and Rasmus in the spring?

      Even the questions that were answered in the negative (Lind, Arencibia, LF) have value in that the club can finally move on to other solutions– as they started to do this year, with Lind’s demotion and the trading of their LFs.

      I’m sure it’s real fucking satisfying to not bother to think about the shit you spray around, but if you’re actually serious, you might want to say a few more things that aren’t such an obvious load.

      • I didn’t realize half a decent season from Morrow, and career years from EE and Rasmus mean job over, championship core in place. I’ll give you those for the sake of argument. Then you list three negative answers. Lind, JPA and LF. Well, they must be part of the championship core because AA said what a fantastic relief it is to have only one area that needs attention – starting pitching.

        Why should I have to think about the shit I spray? You’re making a living spreading non thought out shit.

        • Thank you sir! All this talk about FINALLY having the proper pieces in place, but needing 1 or 2 more high calibre players has been happenning since the 2000 season where we finished 4 games over .500 (83-79). That season is VERY comperable to this season in a few ways.
          We had our big power hitter (Delgado2000/JBats 2012) one of our starters (Wells 2000/Morrow 2012 -injury) and our 3rd baseman (Batista2000/EE2012 – snub) in the ASG.

          a year later enter Ricciardi, with all the loud noise and useless movements we got more of the same until it got worse in 2004 when we finished 67-94.

          Now we’re back to the almost exact same spot as we were 12 fucking years ago. Honestly, we have some good players, but we’re diving in the shallow end when it somes to all-star calibre performers on a regular basis.

          I love the Jays with all that I am, but the smoke and mirrors we view our players with, year-in and year-out, really hurts…

  34. This team reminds me of that Bill Murray movie with the Ground hog and the day that kept repeating. I think it was called ‘The movie about going to be and waking up to the same day that was yesterday’

    Seriously, no one should expect the Jays to make any significant free agent signings this off season or be much better than a .500 team next year. I’ve been hearing this team is on the verge and might sign player X every year for more than a decade. I’ll believe it when I see it.

  35. There’s some pretty cynical Jays “fans” on this board. I’m really not sure why you all bother with them. Can’t be much fun for you.

  36. Anyone think Cooper might stick in 1B…I would rather have him than Lind, and maybe make Lind a bench bat. Also I feel people are underestimating what AA thinks of Rajai, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he’s our starting LF.

  37. I think the Ownership needs to realize that there is a buzz with these jays and they need to ride this and adding a big piece would be huge!!!

  38. Yes! Yorvit Torrealba.

  39. I find your lack of faith disturbing.

  40. Everyone moans about Yu Darvish. He has a 4.54 era and a 1.46 whip and costs around 20 million a year. Whereas, Henderson Alvarez, who everyone wants to send back to the minors, costs the league minimum and has a 4.58 era and a 1.44 whip. Obviously he doesn’t have as many strikeouts as Darvish, so his imaginary, “fielder independent” statistics aren’t going to be as good. But Alvarez is also (almost) 4 years younger. I’m personally glad the Jays didn’t land Darvish. He has to perform at an ace level for that contract to work out. I’m not saying he won’t ever do that. But if I’m shelling out ace money, I want a bit more of a guarantee than a scouting report.

  41. I wonder if they bring back Carlos V as a starter next year? I wonder if he’d come back if they only offered him a spot in the bullpen? I guess it’d depend on what other people are offering.

    • I’m guessing they offer him a contract with the understanding that, while not guaranteed a starting spot, he will definitely be in the mix for the back end of the rotation.

      • Sure. But if he keeps this up for the next six weeks, does that situation change? Will there be other bidders who might guarantee him a starting job?

        • I thought about throwing the caveat, “unless he just rapes the league his last 6-7 starts,” but yeah, you hit the nail on the head with that one. It’s a whole different kettle of fish if he pitches like he did in his last start for the rest of the season. It would also kinda present the Jays in an interesting/difficult decision deciding what CV really is.

  42. I guess they wait and see.

  43. One tidbit t that I took as a sign of an earnest, and pretty major shift in direction was AA’s mention that they have shifted significant scouting resources from the minors to the major league level. To me, that’s a tangible change that lends credence to his assertions about now going after major league talent.

    It could be just ninja mythology, but AA tends to go pretty balls in pursuit of assets when he’s focused on them. I’ve been a big fan of his performance as GM to date, and I’m kind of a little excited because I expect him to deliver.

    Regarding lineup holes… EVERY team has weak spots in the lineup. Even the 1992-93 Jays had the likes of Pat Borders, Manny Lee and Darrin Jackson at or near replacement level offensively. A championship caliber offense, to me, means top 5, and with capable (read: not exceptional) bats at LF, DH and 2B, I think a lineup with Rasmus, Bautista, Escobar, Lawrie and Encarnacion is basically there.

    • It is exciting. AA has done a great job. (Except I don’t like either the Happ or the Lincoln trades.)

  44. Did you remove that stolen content from BP? Good on ya’!

  45. “Awesome! We just got Yorvot Torealbea” said no one ever….

  46. Torrealba > Gomes

  47. Just throwing it out therein the spirit of out of the box thinking…if an uptonesque bat was acquired in the off season wouldn’t a lawrie escobar. Hech EE/cooper infield be enough? For all we know TDA could be the next buster posey and if rasmus/bautista+stud to be named later are healthy who cares if hech is hitting 200 in the 9 hole if his defence is as good as advertized…LF and 2 starters and treat hech like a NL pitcher; improved defense and minimal cost to free up FA money for starters and 3 prospects for Upton…and toss rajai in on a trade and have a faster, smarter 4th outfielder with a cannon for an arm able to play all 3 OF spots in Gose…

    • Completely agree. We don’t need an all star bat at every position. I don’t think I’d want Gose as our 4th OF. I think he has more value developing for another year in LV or as a trade asset, but on the whole I think the current offensive core is enough to win, provided we add a couple capable starters.

    • Let’s also get some gold plated toilets in the Rogers Centre and unicorns that fart Lucky Charms between innings!

      Maybe, MAYBE we could pull off the Upton (or other unnamed stud OF) trade, but using Gose as your 4th OF is retarded…in that it retards his development, not to mention lowers his value as an asset.

      • I get the point but for all we know his ceiling is rajai davis with plus arm/defense…why not get the value you can now instead of letting him pad his stats in Vegas…it’s not like rajai can hit a breaking balls either…

        • I agree on getting the value you can from him, but I think that value is *higher* as a trade asset than a 4th OF.

          • True enough…I get the feeling marisnik (sp?) Is the one they’re really waiting on so perhaps gose in a LV/Jays split then hopefully sell high…4th outfielders are a dime a dozen anyways…

  48. And question for Stoeten…I’m dreaming of AA to ninja one of the following players: J.Upton, Car-Go, Rickie Weeks…is there any chance and. If so which is most likely.?

    • You mean this Rickie Weeks?

      .219/.330/.389/.719

      It’s probably better than KJ, but you’d be rolling the dice that he isn’t entering a decline phase.

      Then again what’s the alternative for 2B right? I can’t see Hech OPSing over .600 let alone the .719 Weeks is putting up in a down year.

      The question is if we could get him cheaper based on the down year, and what would the cost be?

      • It’s a gamble but buying low on a 2nd baseman with 30 hr power is a gamble I’d be fine with…look at adam dunn this year…everyone has a bad year…

  49. Trade for garza flip him for upton

    • Please refer to my comment 5 posts above yours in regards to toilets and unicorns. No way AZ takes one year of Garza for several years of Upton.

  50. Is JPA in a Jays uni next April or is he packaged out. I wonder if we’ll get TDA and Mathis next year.

    • Pity about JPA’s injury. He was having a monster month. I would have loved to see if he could have strung a couple of good ones together to finish off the season. While his OPS might have dipped over last year the average and power improved and his defense certainly improved. Personally I can’t see them doing anything with JPA until 2014 unless d’Arnaud comes up and makes an immediate impact like Posey did. I am still betting d’Arnaud is backup and right handed platoon at DH next year.

      JPA for all the flack that he gets is 14th in fWAR at 1.6 among catchers with nearly a month missed. For what you’re paying him and what you’re going to need to spend on pitching I really don’t see a need to move him. One thing we’ve seen is that depth isn’t a bad thing to have. He is also 15th in wRC+ ahead of guys like Saltalamacchia, Montero, Martin and Buck. Obviously, I’d love to see him walk more.

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