Following the announcement of the Jays’ BBWAA award winners today Alex Anthopoulos was made available to some members of the media, very few of whom seem to have bothered to tweet out anything that the GM had to say. Fortunately for us, Gregor Chisholm of BlueJays.com– who’ll be joining Drew and I tomorrow afternoon at 2 PM ET, along with Ben Nicholson-Smith of MLBTR, for a Winter Meetings-focussed Google+ Hangout– took care of business, laying down several interesting pieces of information that he’s managed to expand on during the time it’s taken me to write this piece, posting a full transcript over at North of the Border. [Note: Read it!]

Several of Gregor’s tweets deserve a look, beginning with this one:

Not going to lie: on first blush, that somewhat surprises me, and makes me wonder if maybe something was promised Izturis when he signed on– though we see in the transcript that Anthopoulos specifically says that it was not. Yet… well… I don’t know, maybe it’s not so crazy…

Gauging them is made more difficult by the fact that both had down years in 2012, Bonifacio being limited to 64 games due mostly to injury, and Izturis having his worst season at the plate since 2005, posting a paltry-even-by-his-standards ISO of .059. Izturis has been a slightly better hitter when looking at both players’ career numbers, but if you look at just the last three seasons Bonifacio has topped Izturis with the bat.

That said, Bonifacio really only has one outlier season– his 3.3 win, .335 wOBA 2011– which is providing the bulk of his value. His weighted on-base has never cracked .300 in any of his previous MLB years, and if we switch the arbitrary endpoints to cover 2009 to 2011, excluding Maicer’s down year, Izturis has considerably stronger numbers.

I think you can argue that Izturis, with a little bounce back, might have the edge with the bat. And he’s generally had stronger advanced stats as a second baseman. Bonifacio, on the other hand, certainly has an extra dimension of positional versatility. He played over a hundred innings at six different positions in 2012, and even though he’s only an above average defender in the corner outfield spots, he’s at the very least capable at second, third, short and centre field as well.

So… I suppose his talents are probably best utilized by getting a good amount of playing time, and giving plenty of days off to just about everyone on the diamond. It maybe seems odd given the plaudits he has received from Alex Anthopoulos (as well as John Buck) since coming over as part of The Trade, but… sure.

Uh… and there’s more!

Neither of these revelations is surprising, though the one about position players is perhaps disappointing, in that it means that we seriously might be looking at yet another attempt to get something out of Adam fucking Lind. But I suppose that it doesn’t rule out the possibility of the club adding a platoon partner for him, which would mitigate his fucking awfulness significantly– and, in fact, Anthopoulos points out Lind’s fugly splits later in the chat, around the time he was also bringing up the possibility of Travis d’Arnaud taking at-bats as DH as well, which would be interesting, though probably not ideal for his development either behind the plate or against right-handed pitching.

To that point, he addressed the most telling aspect of his catching situation, explaining, “Right now, Bobby Wilson is an arbitration-eligible player, he’s out of options. We have a decision to make on him by Friday … I don’t see us carrying three guys to Opening Day. I think things can change.”

Hmmm…

As for pitching… yeah. As much as we want to get greedy about some of the guys on the market, I think we can feel pretty OK about the front of the rotation as it’s currently situated. And leaving open the possibility of bringing in a guy on a one-year deal– still into McCarthy, FYI– sounds just about fine to me. Especially because it’s clear that…

Right?

Having the Triple-A club the fuck out of Las Vegas will certainly help in that regard– not a lot of guys hoping to get significant second looks in the Majors are lining up to get their heads handed to them out in the desert– and that may actually be a big thing, given some of the other comments Anthopoulos made.

“The likelihood is that a minor-league free-agent signing, probably try to be more active there,” he said. Otherwise, he explained, “we’d have to feel that anybody we get, especially if we’re going to guarantee them a contract, they’re going to want the opportunity to start, that they would be an upgrade over the current five.”

The door remains open to bringing in someone decent– and it’s a good thing that Happ isn’t locked into a starting spot– but the philosophy certainly eliminates some of the lower-end flier-type guys you might have hoped to see them take a chance on, just in order to create depth.

Later on, as we see in the transcript, Anthopoulos explained that he’s down to two or three free agents who might still be a fit for the club, and that these are not position players, and would be the kind of rotation upgrades of which he speaks– so don’t go etching your Opening Day rotation in stone just yet.

Besides that, he also explained that he figures he needs eleven guys who can ultimately be called on to start, if need be, and that they have several bodies there at the moment, though maybe not guys of the quality they like. One, technically, may be Dustin McGowan, who we’re told in another tweet is still being looked at as a starter– presumably still due to the fact that they want his wonky shoulder to have a very regimented routine.

McGowan is out of options, which makes his situation slightly more prickly, but the injuries and the $3.5-million he’s still owed may be enough to get him through waivers… y’know, in case the inevitable happens.

There’s a whole lot more in Gregor’s transcript, but that covers the major stuff, from my perspective. Though there was one more thing, from a tweet, worth noting:

Well… get them out of the damn picture, Paul. Right?

Gregor promises that a Beeston transcript will surface tomorrow…

Comments (118)

  1. Arg… the Argos. Another reason to hate the CFL.,

  2. Does this mean he’s not trading for Dickey to round out the rotation? sigh. back to reality.

    Of the cheaper fifth starter options that could be out there one of my faves is Luke Hochevar, who may be non-tendered by the Royals. I figure with a good team surrounding him, he’s got to be better than Happ, right?

  3. I feel like the real issues with converting to a grass (or just dirt basepaths) infield isn’t the Argos, but the Bills. Rogers has made a huge investment in bring that crap NFL team to Toronto every year, and I think I’ve heard rumblings over the past year they’re hoping to possibly get more than one home game in future years.

    The Bills (and the NFL) is money, and Rogers is a corporation who loves money. As long as the Bills keep coming Toronto, we’re never seeing a real baseball field. Which sucks.

    • They can always do those after the baseball season, though, unless you’re talking about a permanent move. I think that would make it a lot easier to fix/transform the field, or to bring in turf or… whatever is needed.

      Of course, now the Jays are going to be playing deep into October, which makes it even harder, right?

    • It’s easier to accommodate 1 or 2 Toronto Bills games rather than 9+ games by the Argos, thats for sure.

      • Easy fix, move the Bills to Toronto, give them the Rogers Center and build a beautiful new modern ballpark for the Jays. Dreaming is so sweet.

        • If anything, a proper NFL sized stadium will be built in the next 5-10 years to accommodate the Bills or Jaguars, but the skydome will always be home to the jays.

        • I like the idea, but I absolutely hate the Bills. A new ballpark just might be worth the suffering though

    • They can easily put in a dirt infield with the Argos as tenants. But to do it they would have to have separate turfs for both baseball and football, which will cost more money and more work from the crew, which would require Rogers to pay the crew more money. Which is why they won’t do it.

      I worked for the Argos this year in social media, and while the Grey Cup victory sure helped them I can tell you without a doubt that it would do wonders for them to get out of Rogers Centre. A smaller stadium for the Argos would make for a better atmosphere and higher ticket demand, and it would revitalize the franchise, which is exactly what moving out of Olympic Stadium did for the Alouettes. It would be as beneficial to them as it would be for the Jays, who could then get the real baseball stadium we all want. And a real baseball stadium, or something close to it, would be amazing.

      The real problem is not the Argos or Bills or football, but that BMO Field insists on being home to that stupid minor league soccer team instead of the Argos. That damn soccer team might be the worst franchise in North American sports. Move the Argos to a renovated-for-CFL BMO, retro-fit Rogers Centre into baseball-only with grass, keep the Bills in Buffalo where they belong (until Ralph Wilson dies and they move to Los Angeles), and everybody wins.

      • renovations to bmo would equal roughly the same as building a new stadium, as an entire stand would have to be torn down. also, minor league soccer team? don’t throw stones…CFL, HA!!!!!

        • MLS is a minor league compared to the rest of the soccer world. The CFL is a minor league outside of Canada, but it’s a major league here whether you like it or not, just like Japanese baseball is huge in Japan and a minor league everywhere else.

          • Japan has won every (ok, 2) World Baseball Classics and a zillion little league world series. They’re major league. Just cuz the game is slightly different over there and the players that come over dont always work out, doesn mean its minor league. A Japanese team can stand toe to toe with an American or Domincan team any day.

          • Snarky I agree with you, and I’d love to see the World Series winner take on the Japanese league winner. My point is that when you compare Japanese baseball to MLB, in the eyes of many on this side of the pond, the Japanese leagues are to the CFL what MLB is to the NFL. That probably won’t change any time soon.

          • especially when the rest of the World doesn’t even call it “soccer”

  4. Like I’ve said before, Bonifacio is the first one into the lineup after an injury to any starting position player other than the catcher. He could easily get 100+ starts and 400+ PAs without having to be slotted in at any one position.

  5. Adam Lind is gonna get a fuck ton of at bats and it’s going to blow.

    • I have a feeling Adam Linds “back” is going to hurt and his 15 minute a day workouts are going to have him on the DL and bench in no time.

    • Really? From what AA said I don’t think he’ll see much action against LHP at all. Imo if the season were to start today you’d see Sierra or d’Arnaud as the final bench player. Either one of those guys + Davis is going to be superior to Lind vs LHP.

      • I could see Rajai DHing against LHP. The numbers are nice and the speed would make it nice.

        • It’s entirely possible though I have to admit it kind of disappoints me a little to think that it might happen.

        • They could also use Davis on the outfield on those days, and give one of Bautista, Rasmus or Cabrera a half-day off as DH too.

          Wouldn’t be my first choice – I’d obviously rather see a lefty masher as the platoon-DH – but there are worse options.

          • Yeah I believe that had been something mentioned before by AA . A lot more teams cycle guys through the DH spot to give them a day off from the field. At least with the depth on the Jays bench Colby and Lind could probably end up sitting a lot more in tough lefty situations now.

          • I think Davis or Bonifacio will be platooning with Rasmus. He can’t hit lefties either.

    • Read Gregors transcript. Lind s to earn his ABs.

      And he may only see RHP too.

      Seriously, read the transcript.

      I feel ten times better about Linds role now than I did an hour ago.

      • while I’m still a little unnerved about Lind’s role on the team, this is definitely the strongest language AA has ever used to describe our squinty little friend

  6. Re: Izturis vs. Bonifacio, Dave Symbrowski of FanGraphs was asked in a chat which he thought should be the starter for the Jays, and he said Izturis pretty clearly.

  7. OMG! *reading Gregor’s piece* AA actually called off the trade when the Marlins wanted to swap catchers too and then thought better of it later in the day

    • That must be bullshit

      • I don’t think it’s “bull” per se, but it was probably just a bluff.

        As AA even said, there’s no way he was going to give up the trade over that. He’d just have preferred not to make that swap, so he “bluffed” giving up on the deal to try and get out of it.

      • He said as much on the FAN the day the trade became official.

    • Old news fella. He has said it many times. Loved Mathis.

      • Fair enough. That just sounds preposterous to me

        • Here is the quote

          Q: Why swap catchers Jeff Mathis for John Buck in the Marlins blockbuster?

          A: “That was not something that we brought up. We never brought it up at any time. That part of the trade was introduced the last day and I was unwilling to do it. I said ‘No.’ It’s not anything against John Buck. I think he’s a very good player. He had a great year for us here. But we made a commitment to Jeff. He had been here and we weren’t looking to trade Jeff at all. From a loyalty component I didn’t think we needed to go down that path. That was what they felt was the final piece that they needed to get it done. So in the morning I said, ‘No.’ The trade was off. If that was what was going to take to get it done, I would not make that trade. And we shut it down. They were pretty adamant that it wasn’t getting done without those two players, so I let the day go by, then at the end of the day, maybe 4 or 5 o’clock, after a lot of talks internally, finally decided that we couldn’t let this deal, the magnitude of this trade and the potential impact on the franchise and the dollars involved, we couldn’t let it not get done because of those last two parts of the deal.”

          Wow. Just bizarre. Not from Alex stand point…He made a commitment to Jeff. What is bizarre to me is how the MARLINS were willing to call off the salary dump if they could not get their hands on Mathis. Really? You are going to send us BUCK AND CASH because you need mathis that bad? wtf?

  8. At least the door is still open on some possible free agent starters. Hopefully he doesn’t just mean AAA fillers exclusively. He really seems vague on that, so knowing the way he operates, that’s potentially a good thing I suppose. Just need to him to use his mind tricks on Haren or McCarthy for a one year deal.

    I am intrigued about the catching comments and Wilson being out of options. I guess we’ll know a little more by Friday. If they keep him I guess it would certainly signal some future move at catcher before spring training.

  9. Dempster on a two year contract would make the rotation look pretty damn good. Might be out of their price range or Dempster might want something like four years.

    Also McGowan was looking good in spring training last year and if he doesn’t fall apart is a pretty good asset as a #6/#7.

  10. Here’s some news. Should AA let Bautista play winter ball or play on the Dominican team in the World Baseball Classic?

    http://www.torontosun.com/2012/11/28/jays-wary-about-bautista-playing-in-wcb

    • As cool as it would be to see the first 4 guys in the Jays lineup playing for the D.R I’d rather not risk Jose at all if it can be helped.

    • Seeing that Jose was interviewed about a week ago and said he was two weeks away from dry swings,let alone hitting off a tee. I would suspect that winter ball is out.
      Dunno about the WBC schedule.

    • I imagine that not letting Jose play for the DR would be considered a real BS move, with potential to anger the players, and the commissioner’s office.

    • In my opinion, he shouldn’t even be allowed to participate in the HR Derby. It fucks him up every year.

  11. Just fuckin sign Villaneuva already. He would sign to a short term deal if given a spot to start im sure.

    Or package Rasmus or JPA for your arm.

    PS Uptons deal was way higher than I thought it would be. Wonder where Bournes goin now

    • With Upton’s new contract I think you’re underestimating Colby’s potential value by quite a bit if he bounces back. If he were to put up similar numbers to his 2009-2010 years, and that’s not a stretch as we saw from his first half numbers last year (.821 OPS) there’s probably $10 or $11 million in surplus value there per year if not more and he’d still be under contract for 1.5 years more.

      • No thats entirely dependant on the arm that is brought back. Im not saying trade him for Tanyon Sturtze.

        Plus if a solid arm was brought back theres lots of talent to replace Colby in center. I just think the rotation is more important

        • Obviously with regards to the arm but I guess what I should have said was that Colby has potentially a lot more value all by himself than I think people are giving him credit for especially after the Upton signing. What guys like Bourn and Pagan get will probably just reinforce that., Unfortunately, there’s a very good chance you’d be selling low if you were to move him now instead of say at the all-star break. Who knows maybe the Jays extend Colby if he bounces back and end up trading Gose.

          • @Nm Yup some teams will be left off the centre field carousel and will be very interested in either of our two cf’ers but for an starting pitcher however

          • His surplus value is irrelevant if his actual on field contributions don’t improve.

          • Colby’s gonna get much better pitches this year because of the overall improvement of the batting order. And he’ll be healthy (at least to start the season) so he’ll be fine.
            There’s a high possibily that Jays will be buyers at the trade deadline too. So if Gose improves his stroke there will probably be huge decisions to make.

          • Marshalle I stated right off the bat if he bounces back.

    • Normally try not to be a homer for ‘hometown boys’, but would not be entirely against a return of Villanueva. If you could get 15 starts out of him before he starts to fade, you may be in a position to replace him with one of the Tommy John boys.

      Of course, if the Jays really are playing with the ‘big boys’ now, we should be setting our sights much higher. Seems to me AA and Beeston are playing really coy of late. Although I wouldn’t rule it out, I would doubt it’s Greinke- simply by virtue of the length of contract he’s likely to receive.

  12. espn’s fantasy podcast plays a game called “bona fide or bonafacio”

  13. How is the all dirt infield different than other multi purpose ball parks like Oakland, and the old marlins park?

  14. Does NM get a cap tip or does he get a crotch grab?
    I don’t know the protocol in this situation.

  15. I little Photoshopped uni on Izturis would have gone a long way to a ‘tip o’ the hat’

  16. Google + Google + Google + Google + Google +

  17. breathtaking to see AA lay to rest that half-baked theory that a deranged Cito obsessed with his legacy in his final season (you know because two WS rings isn’t enough) defiantly ignored the front office’s wishes and maniacally started Buck over JPA

    Q — On d’Arnaud’s situation…

    “Travis wouldn’t come up unless there was a need, someone got hurt, someone got traded. It’s like the year when J.P. was having an MVP-calibre season down in Las Vegas. John Buck was having an All-Star year here so there was no room for him

    **AGGRESSIVE CROTCH GRAB, VIOLENT NOSEBLOWING HOLDING ONE NOSTRIL SHUT, DEEP GREEN HOARKING**

  18. Maybe I’m being naive, but I really think that if Beane offers any type of contract to McCarthy, he’s going to stay in Oakland. Him and his wife have both tweeted multiple times about how well the organization has treated them throughout the whole getting his skull caved in thing. He even still uses pronouns like “we” when talking about the A’s in the future.

  19. I think the most interesting part of AA’s comments pertained to the catching situation.

    He sounded very open to a trade, which presumably would be either JPA or Buck.

    Miami is eating all but $1.5 mil on Buck’s contract; I think he definately has a little positive trade value at that amount.

    But presumably Wilson has lasted on the 40 man this long as insurance for a JPA trade.

    I still think there is quite a bit of intrigue heading into the winter meetings. AA’s qualifiers & vagaries were on display and we really have no idea how far the payroll can stretch and how many prospects he is willing to trade.

    • hes just going to release wilson and probably add carreno back to the 40 man

      • There’s such a shortage of catching that I could see AA getting something for Wilson. Not much though, maybe a few squares of sod from an actual baseball park to get us started on our new GreenDiamond project.

  20. I stil think we should get marcum on a two year deal. Don’t think he’ll be that expensive, and he may take a pay cut as well

    • My guesses of the 3-4 free agents AA is looking at are: Marcum, Jackson, Dempster, and McCarthy. Sanchez is probably going to be too expensive so I would cross him off the list.

      Out of those 4, I see Marcum and Dempster as legitimate possibilities because I don’t think they would command big prices and both might have legitimate interest to sign here. I think Marcum would be a good signing at the right price, and if Dempster was willing to do a cheapish 1/2 year deal then I wouldn’t mind him as the #5. Jackson would be great but he could probably get a decent 4-5 year contract somewhere.

  21. I could still see the Jays doing something like 5 years @20 per to a guy like Jackson; not on the idea that he’ll be anywhere near worth it in today’s money, but in 5 years player salaries are going to inflate by so much, 20 million could be a bargain.

    These TV deals are going to alter the financial landscape of baseball dramatically.

    IMO, not for the better, as it will further increase the disparity of rich and poor.

    What a great idea to create a sport where each team plays at least 162 games a year. So much content.

    • $20 Million AAV seems like an overpay for Jackson. Might as well add $5 Million more AAV and you could get Greinke. Marcum at 3-4 years 12-15 million (or more?) seems like a better idea to me.

      I still think the best bet to solve the pitching is to give the Mets an offer they can’t refuse for Dickey. Potentially with a window to sign him. JPA+any prospect not named d’Arnaud, Sanchez, or Syndergaard for Dickey? AA has what it would take to get it done, but it would be a gamble, but I think a move that puts the team over the top and would make them one of the top 3 teams in baseball.

    • Way too much for Jackson.

      Inflation will always be an issue, but that’s no reason to over pay now.

      4/$48 and he gets to play for a contender.

      • What if every team in the next two years sees a 30 to 50 % increase in payroll?

        I tell ya, There’s a whole lotta money coming in from these new tv deals-little or none of it will be going into owners pockets.

  22. I like Maicer at two, granted he had a lousy season but he’s got a nice glove with the potential to rebound with the twig. Boneface will pay everywhere and hopefully take away bats from Raj and Lind. I hope those two eat tainted beef.

  23. This seems like an important tweet as well:

    Gregor Chisholm ‏@gregorMLB

    #BlueJays stance on payroll sounds the same as before.Beeston believes there`s an ability to add more if right opportunity presented itself.

  24. All do respect to the Argos…

    But if they’re the only thing holding up the dirt infield, or even natural grass, kick them the hell out of there!

    Rogers doesn’t own the that team. Why would they shoot the Jays in the foot for the Argos sake?

    Besides, if the Argos were kicked out and forced to find some smaller, more intimate field around the GTA to play in, they’d be far better off anyway.

  25. I thought this quote froim AA was interesting:

    “d’Arnaud right now, if the season was to start today, we haven’t seen him come back from the injury, he’ll be in the Minor Leagues. But if he does force our hand there are always ways to make trades or find a spot for him.”

    To me, that definitely seems like he won’t be the one traded….

  26. Bonifacio and Davis on the bench is some pretty nice speed.

    I can’t really remember how bad Davis’ play in CF was. Perhaps that was because I blotted it from my memory. Was it sufficiently tolerable for him to be a useful platoon for Rasmus against some lefties?

  27. Actually, for some reason I thought that Bonifacio was better batting as a lefty. I was wrong, his career OPS is .707 vs LHP and .658 vs RHP. That’s even starker in his career 2011: .863 vs LHP and .723 vs RHP. So he’d be the perfect platoon for Rasmus against LHP. From what I gather his fielding in CF is not up to Rasmus’s standard but is much better than Davis. So against LHP the lineup would be:

    Reyes SS
    Cabrera LF
    Bautista RF
    Encarnacion 1B
    Lawrie 3B
    Arencibia C
    Izturis 2B
    Bonifacio CF
    Davis (or Sierra) DH

    • Jesus that’s a bunch of speed.

      Bonifacio, Davis, Reyes. Even Izturis.

      If you squeeze Gose in there can you think of a faster lineup?

    • Actually, if you tweak that a little, the run of speedsters is ridiculous:

      Reyes SS
      Cabrera LF
      Bautista RF
      Encarnacion 1B
      Arencibia C
      Bonifacio CF
      Lawrie 3B
      Izturis 2B
      Davis (or Sierra) DH

      So, consecutive guys who are a legitimate threat to steal: Bonifacio, Lawrie, Izturis, Davis, Reyes, Cabrera. Not too shabby.

  28. Hey Stoeten, when you see Gregor ask him why his blog has that annoying and distracting background watermark.
    Love his content, but I get a headache whenever I try to read it.

  29. Just because he’s not looking at FA position players doesn’t mean he won’t trade for one

  30. Not sure if you were implying otherwise, but if McGowan clears waivers, I believe he can elect free agency, no? With us holding the bill. I think he’ll spend a lot of time on rehab in the minors, employing as many tricks (setbacks) as possible before finding a spot for him in the rotation.

    Also, I read in the transcript that AA noted he had no 0-3 (pre-arb) players in the starting rotation. I think as he plans for the future, this concerns him. So his primary pitching target will be a 0-3 guy, like an Anderson, Ogando or Holland, and if unsuccessful, might look at a FA on a short deal.

  31. [...] Anthopoulos made some interesting comments this week (h/t to Stoeten over at DJF for breaking them down). Most notable was this Tweet from MLB Jays beat writer Gregor Chisholm: AA [...]

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