Monday links!

Doug Harrison of CBC Sports talks of the relationship between Alex Anthopoulos and ex-Leafs GM Brian Burke, whose expertise Anthopoulos occasionally sought– including 18 months ago, when, “Concerned with some off-field matters with one of his talented players, Anthopoulos picked Burke’s brain. Satisfied with his friend’s advice, Anthopoulos soon made what he still calls a ‘pretty good transaction.’ ” Hmmm. The only transaction I can think of that really fits the timeline is the one in which the Jays traded Aaron Hill and John McDonald, though the 2011 trade deadline deal that brought Colby Rasmus could potentially fit as well. Again: Hmmm.

Jason Martinez of MLB Depth Charts writes at ESPN.com (Insider Only) about the Jays’ championship window, explaining that he believes their optimal year for contention is 2013, which is pretty hard to argue with, given that Josh Johnson will be a free agent after the season, and key pieces like Mark Buehrle and Jose Bautista aren’t exactly getting any younger. I’m sure the Jays will find a creative way to reload for 2014, and more importantly, right now, who really cares?

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wonders if the Jays– or the Yankees– might be a landing spot for Michael Bourn and the one-year, pillow contract he’s surely at this point about ready to settle for. In the Jays’ case it would mean trading Colby Rasmus (theoretically at low point in value– though maybe he’ll prove this year he can go even lower), as well as giving up a draft pick. So… yeah. Not really seeing that happening.

Sportsnet has the entirety of Stephen Brunt’s John Gibbons feature up online, in three parts. Definitely worth a watch.

Amy Moritz of the Buffalo News covered Friday’s event at Coca-Cola field, and liked what she heard from Alex Anthopoulos, who explained that “ long term, seeing our payroll rise, having established big league players for multi years, that’s going to be great long term for this franchise. In the past when we were so reliant upon our young players, they may only spend a month or two [at Triple A]. Now they have the chance to spend the entire year here and really develop.”

John Lott of the National Post was there too, and gives us a great summary of the event, a picture of the dual-flag logo Bisons players and coaches will have their jackets emblazoned with in 2013, and quotes Alex Anthopoulos as saying that “We’ve almost devoted a small part of our front office to making sure that [Buffalo] is going to be a good club.”

While in Buffalo, Lott also looked at the club’s catching situation, after news broke of Josh Thole’s two-year deal– which still doesn’t guarantee that he’ll be backing up JP Arencibia in the Majors. In fact, Alex Anthopoulos makes pretty clear that he’d much rather Henry Blanco play well enough to earn the backup role, which would give the club a lot of depth at the position.

Bill Potrecz of the St. Catharines Standard was also there, and he spoke to Bisons GM Mike Buczkowski, who is excited about the opportunity to draw attendance from our side of the border. “We have so many Canadians coming to the malls and our theatre district so we want to make the Bisons another one of those options when they come,” Buczkowski said. “We want them to come to see a Bisons game and the future Blue Jays part of their agenda.” Season tickets, he tells Potrecz, go for just $500.

Jon Morosi of Fox Sports writes about the six 2012 AL also-rans, and how they’ve improved themselves this off-season, ranking the Jays (obviously) first. “I’m concerned about the heightened expectations placed on star personalities unfamiliar with one another,” he writes, oddly, seeing as that stuff doesn’t really matter at all, “but Jose Bautista has the stature to resolve any chemistry issues by becoming the undisputed leader of this team.”

Not a lot of Jays prospect content in episode 296 of the FanGraphs podcast, however at one point guest Mike Newman does single the club out as one making extensive use of video, saying that there’s a Jays video scout at virtually every minor league park he visits, compiling countless hours of video on various players.

Bluebird Banter goes back and looks at John Gibbons’ bullpen management during his first stint here, and finds nothing particularly alarming.

Ben Nicholson-Smith uses some quotes from Alex Anthopoulos in a piece at MLBTR detailing the arbitration process.

Joshua Menzies of Jays Journal makes the point that the Jays’ failed rotation plan in 2012 was probably a blessing in disguise, given what they’ve wound up with heading into 2013. I still wouldn’t mind having a healthy Drew Hutchison, but I see the point. And, y’know, it won’t hurt too much to send Hutchison to Buffalo, seeing as he’s never actually pitched at Triple-A, and only has 31.2 innings at Double-A.

MLB.com’s Cut 4 thing shows Ricky Romero getting closer to the Stanley Cup than the Leafs ever will. HEYO!

Scott Carson looks at both Jose Reyes and Tony Fernandez in his latest for Sportsnet.

Adam Rubin of ESPN New York has the text of R.A. Dickey’s speech at the BBWAA dinner over the weekend, in which he accepted his NL Cy Young award.

High Heat Stats uses WAR among non-closers to show just how crazy valuable Darren Oliver has been in the second half (or, more appropriately, last quarter) of his career.

For whatever it’s worth, Tigers blog Motor City Bengals has been ranking farm systems throughout the league, and has decided the Jays come 21st.

Lastly, Jesse Wolfersberger of FanGraphs looks at some of the absolutely head-spinning numbers produced by the late Stan Musial, who passed away over the weekend. Meanwhile, at Getting Blanked, Darren posts a delightful example why the late Earl Weaver, who also passed over the weekend, was awesome– apart from the whole having Sabermetric instincts before it was cool.

Comments (61)

  1. It”s nice to hear an athlete open his mouth like R.A. Dickey and find out he’s smart for a change. None of this “I was taken out of context” stuff.

    • He’s pretty remarkable, it’s true. Doesn’t hurt, I don’t think, that he’s 38 and not 22, though. Or that he’s not spent his whole life in a coddled athlete bubble, like some seem to. He really hasn’t been elite since he was drafted in 1996– at which point, as we know, he was found to have no UCL in his arm and had his bonus offer reduced to nothing. It’s been uphill since then, and it shows– though obviously he had to have been a thoughtful, intelligent guy beforehand.

      He’s going to be real fun to have around, I think.

  2. Dfa Lind already

    • Who DHs against RHP? Who is out there that’s better and worth paying his salary plus the $5-million you owe Lind for this year AND his $2-million buyout for next? Because that’s the issue– you’re looking at paying something in the neighbourhood of $10-million for what’s probably only going to be a marginal improvement, given what’s out there.

      Not so simple, huh?

  3. I desperately don’t want it to have been J-Mac or Aaron Hill who was getting on AA’s bad side. Who are the guys we traded for rasmus? Rzep, Dotel, (ejax)?

    • Wasn’t Hill one of the guys who was part of the player revolt against Cito in the season prior… I suppose it is possible that it could have been him.

      • Can you really call that a “pretty good transaction” in retrospect?

        • Yeah, because it was a given that they weren’t going to pick up Hill’s options anyway, so he was gone, and they managed to get a starter at second for 2012. Even though… y’know… he kinda went to absolute shit after a great first couple of months.

        • Well, the deal was a half-season of Hill in exchange for a half-season of Johnson. Hill re-signed as a free agent with the D-backs the following off-season and was available to be signed at that time by any team including the Blue Jays, so the deal is not so bad in retrospect all considered.

          • Did they extend anyone around the time? The transaction could have been the opposite – satisfied by Burke that he didn’t have to worry, he extended someone?

    • My money is on Hill.

      “My advice to him,” said Burke, who refused to name the player, “was if a guy is a headache for your manager and a bad guy, his talent shouldn’t save him in the dressing room. … Get rid of him.” This can’t be JMac.

    • The article doesn’t necessarily say that the meeting took place 18 months ago. So maybe it’s Snider.

      • Doesn’t it?

        Anthopoulos did require an answer to a big question about 18 months ago, according to Burke, who has built a network of GMs in the other major pro sports and held various positions with NHL teams and the league over the past 25 years.

        Concerned with some off-field matters with one of his talented players, Anthopoulos picked Burke’s brain. Satisfied with his friend’s advice, Anthopoulos soon made what he still calls a “pretty good transaction.”

    • So far as the whole “Cito mutiny” thind was concerned, I always suspected Kevin Millar, if for no other reason than the fact kevin is in love with his own opinion. Can’t rule out Halladay either. He wanted out so bad at the end he could taste it.

    • Why not Dotel? He was (rightly) complaining about how he was being used in Toronto right after he got traded.

  4. Marcum for Lawrie would make sense but that was over 2 years ago now.

    • I can’t see Marcum being a big problem for AA. But maybe the discussion was more along the lines of, “It’s going to be real hard to trade this guy. A lot of fans are going to lose their shit. Burkie, how do you handle everyone hating on you?”

    • To get any kind of scoop like that, someone probably changed around a few material facts to make it impossible to figure out.

  5. Nice and curt little speech by RA. Especially the part where he reveals that he “drug her [his wife] from every little city in the country, to Venezuela, to Puerto Rico, to the Dominican Republic, and everywhere in between.” Heyo!

  6. Watching the John Gibbons vids. I’ve never noticed Halladay’s reaction to the lilley incident @ 4:35 of part 2. His reaction is perhaps as expected…nothing

    • Yeah, robots from the future don’t have the emotion algorithm.

    • I remember watching it as it was unfolding. Halladay glanced down the corridor but didn’t get off the bench for quite some time. He looked pretty disinterested.
      I forgave him for that after he nailed Big Papi with a payback pitch.

  7. It wasn’t 18 months ago, but maybe that CBC article is referring to Shawn Marcum? There’s certainly been rumours that the Jays weren’t happy with his behaviour.

    • We wanted Lawrie months before the trade happened. He was one of the most sought after prospects in the league. As soon as Milwaukee was within reach of a playoff run the door to Lawrie was open and Marcum was on the table. Selling the fan base on a deal that would ship out two franchise players for a dude with a marginal profile had to require more discussion.

  8. Obviously the chances of signing Michael Bourn are slim and depend on a number of factors outside of the Jays control, but Rasmus might yield a little more in return if traded than the total value of a 2nd round pick and bonus pool money.

    Not to mention Bourn would be eligible for a qualifying offer and draft pick compensation at the end of his deal.

    • I would take the better power Rasmus offers down in the batting order in this lineup then what Bourn could do at the top. I think Rasmus makes more sense.

      • Rasmus has little trade value right?

      • Well Bourn is the better overall player and should be again in 2013.But he’s also more expensive.

        I’m not really concerned about he fits into the lineup. But one would assume he’d be up top with Reyes, likely in the two hole. Which would push Melky to #5 and Lind to #7.

        It would be worth it just to have Lind get a few less plate appearances, I think.

        • Agreed. Bourn doesn’t make a lot of sense down in the order where Rasmus figures to be, but I could get behind a Reyes – Borun – Bautista – Encarnacion – Cabrera – Lawrie – Lind – Arencibia – Bonifacio lineup (against RHP) really easily.

      • I love… you.

    • Signing Bourn (which would cost the Jays a draft pick after their protected first rounder) and trading low on Rasmus does not fit AA’s MO. Cafardo is talking out of his ass on this one.

      I do like this quote from the Red Sox GM on their lacklustre trade record:

      “It’s fair to say we have examined that,” said general manager Ben Cherington. “I think it’s part of a bigger examination of our evaluation and decision-making process. As with most examinations, adjustments will likely be subtle but real and likely implemented over time.

      In other words, they suck at making trades and are doing some internal soul searching. Well, I I hope they fucking choke on Farrell.

      • AA also acquired Rasmus on the cheap.

        And I’d suggest AA’s MO continues to evolve as the team gets better.

        Case in point trading two top prospects for a 38 year old pitcher. Many on this board suggested it went against AA’s MO as well.

        The chances of it happening are very slim. But I don’t want to convince myself the offseason acquisitions are over yet!

      • Correct me if I’m wrong, but if the Jays signed Bourn, they would forfeit their 2nd round pick. But if they managed to snag him on a pillow contract and offered a qualifying offer next off-season, they could snag a compensation pick – which would be higher than the 2nd rounder they gave up, right? Free pick upgrade?

        • Jays are over payroll, and a salary freeing move would need to be made IF Bourn is to come here

        • Correct. Similar situation to what I suggested with Soriano except, as was correctly pointed out, Soriano might just accept the qualifying offer next year. I think Bourn turning down a 1/14 offer is more realistic so… IF Bourn is willing to do a 1/14 contract for this year and IF AA has the financial flexibiltiy, then the move is a no-brainer.
          I have my doubts about the former and would be shocked about the latter. This season has been full of shock though so I wouldn’t rule anything out.

          • jays sign bourn,
            lind and rasmus to the rays for young pitching.
            lind and rasmus go on to sign team friendly extensions and put up hall of fame careers for the rays.

          • Lind and Rasmus and prospects go to someone for a salary dump. Adam Lind has negative value.

  9. That ESPN piece said Stroman will miss 50 games to start the season.

    I thought he served most of his suspension last year and had only a couple games left.

  10. Maybe it doesn’t fit the ’18 months ago’ perfectly, but I’d put my money on the Marcum + Lawrie deal, in regards to AA seeking Burke’s advice.

    Most of my reasoning stems from the Jeff Blair comment a few months ago about being sure Marcum wouldn’t be re-signed this offseason (before the trades) because he had heard AA had a problem with Marcum.

  11. I so want Michael Bourn in CF….hell yes.

    • No thanks. Strikes out a lot, and has superior defense. Who does this remind you of?

    • What? Why?

      I hate Bourn (not personally) and he in my mind the overeaction to the new stats. Until recently, speed and defense (or, more specifically, “range”) were undervalued, and now with certain players they seem to be overvalued.

      I don’t have much interest in paying 4/$60 (or thereabouts) for a guy who has no power, gets on base at a merely decent pace, and who’s only elite tool is his legs, considering he’s 31 and that’s pretty much exactly the age speed starts to go.

      I hate Bourn.

  12. I’m not getting the video on Gibbons to come up. Am I doing something wrong or could it be because I’m south of the border and not a Rogers subscriber or something crazy like that?

  13. hi

  14. What’s the pin AA is wearing on his lapel?

  15. John gibbons is simply the coolest guy to ever walk the earth!

  16. id rather have Jason Bourn

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