I seem to recall trying to live blog a chat that Richard Griffin had with readers at the Toronto Star once, and that it didn’t go particularly well. And yet, apparently that’s not going to stop me from trying it again, as the Toronto Sun is hosting a live chat with Alex effing Anthopoulos, beginning at 11:15 AM ET today, and I figure it’s worth following along.
Sound about right?
Check out the live chat on the Sun’s website here, and keep refreshing as I try to not get too bored by the horrible questions being asked. Follow along below the jump!
11:10 AM: The chat window isn’t really doing anything just yet. Shouldn’t it be? We shall see…
11:18 AM: Alright, we’re off– apparently this really is a thing. So head over there and get asking some questions.
11:22 AM: Everything’s a little milquetoast off the hop, with AA “commenting” on season ticket sales– the best they’ve been in years– and the Braves’ acquisition of Justin Upton. A couple of “what else was he going to say?” answers here.
11:27 AM: In case there was any doubt, Alex essentially says that the club is pretty much set– at least as far as 1B/DH goes– and that they’d be interested in bringing someone in on a spring training invite, but that’s about it. Expected. He also makes it clear that there’s a competition still between Josh Thole and Henry Blanco to be the club’s second catcher, though I’m pretty sure it sounded like he was leaning Blanco last week, when he was in Buffalo.
11:30 AM: LOLZ here as a commenter asks about the boots Colby Rasmus was pictured in during the winter tour, and whether he found them himself or they were provided by the club. “Haha,” AA begins, “We did provide Colby his boots and jacket. He liked the boots so much he decided to wear them to a luncheon where everyone else was wearing a suit. haha.” Oh, Colby.
11:35 AM: Casey Janssen is the closer, Anthopoulos says, crushing another softball in this little bit of batting practice. He passes on the question about who replaces Alan Ashby, as it isn’t his job– which… yeah, I hope he has better things to be concerned about– and he points to Sean Nolin as a close-to-the-Majors prospect that he sees having the potential to soon contribute (though he’s still well down the depth chart, for the moment). A question from Benny Fresh in there, too, apparently.
11:41 AM: Some actual nuggets here, as Alex says– and not for the first time– that Maicer Izturis, not Emilio Bonifacio, is the front runner to be the starting second baseman. And, though he could have easily said no, or that the team we see now is the team they’ll go with, he says that he anticipates that ownership would be willing to add even more salary at the trade deadline, if the club was presented with the opportunity to add salary. I haven’t really thought about that kind of stuff for a while, to be honest. Um… nails.
11:44 AM: ”What I can say,” he says of Justin Upton, “is that sometimes players list Toronto on their no trade clauses which then makes it more difficult to acquire them in trade.” What kind of denial does that sound like to you? Does it change when you recall that Parkes made the case in a recent Ten Stray Thoughts On A Friday at Getting Blanked that Upton may have actually been the target in the “megadeal” reported last week, that fell through prior to the Marlins trade?
11:49 AM: As you’d probably expect him to say– at least while the Argos are still kicking around the Rogers Centre– Anthopoulos is non-committal on the subject of bringing a grass field to the Rogers Centre, and says that, while it’s “been discussed quite a bit recently” (externally, he means? internally???), Beeston has been saying that he doesn’t see it happening for five years. Ugh. Obviously he says the right things, but I get sense– if only because it’s damn obvious– that this is going to be one of those things like the old logo and jerseys, where as soon as he’s free to say he hated it, he’s going to say he hated it.
11:53 AM: Asked if it weighs on him– like it does some fans– that he traded away so much of his prospect capital this off-season, Anthopoulos firmly says no. “Ultimately people don’t give away quality major league players for free so as long as you’re happy with what you’re getting back, you don’t look back.” I get that, but man… it couldn’t have been that easy, could it? Earlier in the chat he reiterated something I’ve always been keen on pointing out, which is the fact that his aim all along had been to build prospect depth with the intention of trading a lot of it. I entirely believe that, but still, he traded a lot of it. But, of course, as with just about every question here, what the hell else was he going to say?
11:57 AM: Anthopoulos says that there’s far too much downside to him ever being on Twitter, even with a secret– and presumably fake-named– account. Obviously it’s important for someone in the front office to keep tabs on Twitter, but I can buy that it’s an additional duty that the GM doesn’t need to have on his plate… I think.
12:01 PM: Ahhh. Anthopoulos answers a question about the stats the club uses in evaluating players by saying that they’ll use just about everything– more granular numbers, or even larger, WAR-style ones– though he doesn’t say which. A lot of that kind of stuff is proprietary and calculated differently depending on the front office, it would seem. So they’re not the stats that are publicly available, but they’re based on the same principles. As much as the Jays rely on scouting– and damning of stats as it maybe seemed the other week when Anthopoulos told Peter Mansbridge that he’d rather rely on his eyes– that stuff, the way I see it, is really just a differentiator. In a very “Moneyball” way, scouts are being employed to find inefficiencies and things that aren’t being seen by pure numbers, and since– as AA said on the CBC– everybody has just about the same stats, I can understand why he said he’d take his eyes over the numbers, though I don’t think that’s a rejection at all of the advanced statistical universe. It’s a huge part of the foundation of everything, RADAR.
12:09 PM: Anthopoulos is a Led Zeppelin fan– have you read any of the Winners History of Rock And Roll series they’re doing at Grantland lately? Interesting stuff, and I’d link it, but I’m falling way behind on this chat.
12:11 PM: I think– well I know from some of the names– that some DJF folks are showing up to ask questions, because they’re getting better. Alex sounds like he’s entirely unworried about not having Marcus Stroman to fortify the club’s bullpen later in the season, as he says that the PED-suspended first-rounder will continue to work as a starter, until he proves he can’t do it. He also shows that he understands the key to success in the shitty modern economy: rent free living.
12:15 PM: Some rapid fire stuff as the chat starts winding down. A lot of people asking how to follow in his footsteps, and I think he gives a great answer, explaining that “You’d be amazed how many talented people get opportunities but blow them because of arrogance and a sense of entitlement. Basically, no job should ever be beneath you. Today I’ll still do the same job as our interns if it was needed.” I don’t want to say it, but I’ll say it: some lessons learned from JP Ricciardi there? Maybe not what he’s talking about at all.
12:18 PM: The Jays are going to make Canada pround! Aaaaand, that’s it for the chat. Thanks everyone.
Image via the Toronto Sun.