Alex Anthopoulos spoke with TSN Radio host Mike Richards (above, bro) earlier today (audio here), and guess what? The Jays need pitching, and their GM is damn ready to do something about it, and he doesn’t care who knows it.
So… it’s pretty much par for the course for AA, ca. fall 2012, but that doesn’t mean that the GM’s comments aren’t worth exploring, as he touched on off-season plans, gave the same explanation of how the club’s payroll works as he always does, spoke about the troubles with Adam Lind and Ricky Romero, and pretty much avoided saying anything concrete about the John Farrell speculation, as you’d kind of expect.
He did explain, however, that the Farrell stuff is “similar to trade stuff, where you’re reading things and 99.9% of everything you read is totally false. But it does make for interesting water cooler talk, and things like that.”
Trying to downplay it all through generalizations, he added that “we get asked about our employees all the time. We’ve already been asked about a few of our employees for promotions and so on– we’ve already had some leave for promotions– and those are good things. It’s tough to lose good employees,” he says, but it’s “a compliment to the organization when anyone has anything good to say about any of your employees.”
OK, then. Moving along!
Speaking about the off-season, the GM is eager to get going, explaining that the front office “had a meeting this past week, just with respect to free agency, and also trade scenarios. There’s no doubt about it, the first domino to fall for us is to add to the starting rotation. We have needs beyond that, but it starts there, and if that does not get done, we’re not going to go anywhere. So that’s got to get done, one way or the other. We’ve looked pretty hard at the free agents– we’ve done some comparisons and so on– we’ve tried to see where we might line up with teams in terms of trades, and who might be available. There’s a few names that are out there that are available that aren’t out in the mainstream media– because obviously clubs want to keep that quiet. So, that’s really the first thing that we’re going to try to get done fast– if we can be aggressive, and get one starter in some capacity early, that would be great. You can’t dictate the time frame, but we’re definitely going to try to move fast.”
It makes total, sense, obviously. Adding to the roster early will only increase the club’s viability as a free agent destination, and any kind of movement in that direction is going to help, with the Red Sox able to spend freely and the Orioles a viable destination, it’s not like the Jays can approach free agent shopping like it’s a grocery store, the way a lot of fans want to assume.
And it’s not like Rogers has entirely removed the shackles from Anthopoulos, as far as payroll is concerned, either.
“Having more money does not equal more winning– you can go through the thirty clubs now and see that there’s some big payrolls that didn’t get in the playoffs, or got eliminated,” he explains. “And obviously there’s teams [in the playoffs] now that have larger payrolls, but you have to spend it correctly and spend it wisely. There’s a lot of examples of teams that have spent, and they haven’t spent it correctly. From our standpoint, in terms of payroll and what I have to work with, I’m normally given a number– an area– to kind of stay within, and if I need to go beyond that number, or if I have a request, it’s something I talk to Paul Beeston with first. I’ll talk to him about it, I’ll explain why, I’ll talk to him about the player, how it would fit, how it would impact us from a payroll standpoint, and then– from my understanding– he would talk to Nadir Mohamed and Keith Pelley and explain all of that, and we would go from there.”
So… what we’ve always heard, I guess.
As for Romero and Lind, we’re told that there were “never had any serious discussions about” sending Romero to Las Vegas the way they did Adam Lind. That’s because Ricky’s “mindset didn’t change, his work ethic didn’t change. He could have easily felt sorry for himself and stopped working and threw up the white flag and quit, or try to come up with some excuses to not pitch. He took the ball every day, didn’t want out of the rotation, continued to work hard.”
Lind, on the other hand, was demoted “after he had two seasons where he didn’t perform as well as we thought he could. And then he got off to an incredibly slow start, and then you could even see from mentality and his mindset that he was completely lost. I think he lost a little bit of his fight, and he needed to just get away from it and regroup. He was hearing about it all the time– media, fans– and it just became a little bit overwhelming. With Romero, I don’t think it was even close to the same thing.”
Hmm. I wonder which of the two is more likely to be back– even though I think it could be argued that Lind most certainly ended his season on a more positive note. Which isn’t to say that I’d want him back in any capacity but as a last resort left-hitting side of a 1B or DH platoon, it’s just… interesting.
“Ultimately,” Anthopoulos says of Romero, “we have to find a way to get him back in the strike zone.” He adds, “Right now it’s a lot of trial and error– we’re looking at all kinds of things. We did it during the year,” while admitting that the club really doesn’t have a good answer for their Opening Day starter’s troubles.
But hey, at least there are more starters available than we supposedly know about! And… y’know… all that other stuff Anthopoulos always says!