At around the same time Gregg Zaun was over on the rival station reiterating his desire to see the entire Blue Jays team traded away, Alex Anthopoulos jumped on the radio on Monday night, speaking with Bill Hayes and Bruce Arthur on TSN 1050, addressing a number of issues relating to his club, most illuminatingly so when it comes to the names being linked to the Jays in several reports regarding the trade market. (Audio painstakingly tracked down to here.)

Not being able to comment on other team’s players, he didn’t specifically mention Matt Garza, but… um… you don’t exactly need to be Faulkner to pick up on the subtext. See if you catch what I’m talking about:

“Some stuff that’s out there is completely fabricated. I guess what I can tell you is– speaking in general terms, of course– we have not had one discussion with a team about a starter. So, if people are reading names that are out there, that would be a 100% complete fabrication, in terms of us going after a starter right now. Doesn’t mean that if something came up a week from now, or something, that we wouldn’t be open to it, but right now we’re not engaged in or having any dialogue with respect to a starter.”

He goes on to add that there still aren’t many clubs willing to start selling off players, mostly due to the extra Wild Card berths, and that there are “maybe one or two teams that clearly have talked about, ‘We’re open to doing something, and we’re open to doing something sooner.’ ”

“For us it’s been very quiet. Right now we really don’t have anything close, or anything that we’re really getting serious about. I expect those conversations to change once we come out of the break.”

It’s a familiar refrain from Anthopoulos at this time of year– he’s certainly not one to tip his hand, so I wouldn’t expect him to admit if something was close– but the stuff about the starting pitching is most definitely not what we’d been hearing from places like CSN Chicago and ESPN Chicago.

“I don’t see us doing anything where we take away from the team, unless we clearly feel we have depth in certain areas, and I’d say that right now the only area I can see us having some depth is in the bullpen. So maybe we would be open minded if there was a deal there to trade a reliever.”

Hang on. What was that I was saying about Anthopoulos not tipping his hand?

OK, so maybe he sometimes does. What he doesn’t say here, though, is that I’d think the club also has some depth in centre and left field– Rasmus, Gose, Cabrera, Davis and Pillar– as well as at DH, where Cabrera may need to play regardless, and where Lind may be a sell high candidate.

Phil Bickford

Anthopoulos also opened up a little more than usual on the subject of unsigned first round pick Phil Bickford– though at first he was typically diplomatic.

“It’s one of those things that didn’t work out. And I know I’m being extremely vague and extremely evasive, but there’s just certain things that you can’t get into. But we certainly think he’s got a world of talent– would not be surprised to see him become a top pick again in three years– and certainly don’t have anything but good things to say about him. Unfortunately it didn’t work out for us.”

In the many words surrounding the above statement, however, Anthopoulos filled in some of the vagaries.

“We did a lot of work on him himself and signability– if he wanted to play pro ball– and we felt very confident that all that was accurate,” he explained. “We still feel that today.”

So… was it something in Bickford’s medicals– as some have suspected– that scared off the Jays? Actually no.

Anthopoulos defended the whiff by explaining that the only asset that was lost here was a year’s development time, which can be mitigated significantly depending on who they select next year– citing the example of Marcus Stroman, who is already in Double-A, and was selected last year with the pick the Jays got back for not signing Tyler Beede, who won’t be drafted again until next June and the GM says would likely be at either Dunedin or Lansing right now for the Jays.

That type of hedge, he explains, is made possible by the way the CBA works.

“If you didn’t have the ability to get the draft pick back the following year, the dynamic completely changes,” he says, “and I think you would have seen a guy like Phil Bickford sign. If there was no ability to get the draft pick back, I feel very confident he’d be a Toronto Blue Jay today.”

Obviously I’m extrapolating, but why else would that be the case except for the fact that not getting the pick back would have forced the Jays to be less firm on their number? Ergo, it sure sounds like the Jays held firm around slot, not wanting to blow up the pool money they’d saved for Jake Brentz and Rowdy Tellez, and not worrying terribly about moving to the 11th pick in a stronger 2014 draft, believing that Bickford really did want to turn pro, and wouldn’t be able to turn down $3-million, given he was a late riser on draft boards anyway, and that he’ll need three years of good health and performance to get back to a bonus of that level.

Plausible, at the very least.

Miscellaneous (Happ, Morrow, Romero, Bautista)

There were a few additional interesting tidbits from the interview, including a bit of a pessimistic view of Brandon Morrow’s status (emphasis mine), when he spoke about rotation help, explaining, ”guys like J.A. Happ are going to come back soon, and hopefully Brandon Morrow comes back soon.”

So… that’s encouraging.

Encouraging in a non-sarcastic way, however, has been the performance of Ricky Romero in Buffalo of late. But the GM was quick to assure fans that he’ll need a lot more than just a handful of starts before he’s rushed back to the Majors again.

“What we need to see is, we need to see that over and over and over again. It should come to the point where he dominates that league. If he’s going to be the starter that he was for us– and he certainly has the ability and the youth to come back and be that guy again– he should at some point start to dominate that league. And an outing like last night is a step in the right direction. If he can do that a few more times in a row– I’m definitely going to make the drive down to go see him– he’ll certainly be in the mix to get back here.”

He later emphasized the point, saying, “He needs to do it many more times.”

Lastly, a mildly interesting tidbit about Jose Bautista, with respect to roster flexibility. ”We’ve always had in the back of our heads of potentially moving him back to third base,” he says. However, when he switches from the outfield to third base, the difference in throwing motions in particular “would impact his shoulder a little bit.” In other words, don’t go expecting that change to be made in-season again any time soon, apparently. So… yeah.


Image via Crotch grab in the direction of @jr8877 for the link to the clip. Also, a programming note: I’m tentatively scheduled to be on TSN 1050 myself on Tuesday afternoon at 2:30. Tune in!

Comments (106)

  1. Good because this Matt Garza stuff made zero sense, and its not like the Cubs are run by a bunch of idiots where you could get him for something and then turn around two weeks later and trade him for more then you gave up.

    • No, but you could have moved him for about as much. And got a chance to get three starts out of him and hope it jumpstarted a hot run of play that would mean you didn’t have to deal him.

      But still, you’re right, it didn’t make sense.

      • +!

        • I do wonder though where the rumours come from. All I can come up with is someone saw some (one?) Jays scouts at a Garza start.

      • That seems like a leap, even for a GM as crafty as AA. Garza blows out his arm in one of those 3 starts, then AA’s head is on the block because he ostensibly gave up more prospects for a 3rd starter (or maybe a staff ace on this year’s Jays) who would be a rental on a team with very little chance of making a playoff run. Then said rental blows his arm out, they’ve lost the prospects, and don’t get anything back for the rental. I don’t know, just doesn’t seem likely at all.

  2. I love how everyone will spend days and weeks, myself included, speculating on rumours and small unimportant transactions and moves. Everyone builds up these ridiculous narratives about what’s going on in the front office and AA’s ninja-like plans. Then he just hops on the radio and squishes them all in about 15 minutes, I bet he laughs and laughs as he reads about all the moves he’s “about to make” and eventually decides to say something to restart the cycle.

  3. Kills the dream of AA going after Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez.

  4. I guess I’m a little bit confused about the Jays process of selecting and then subsequently signing first round picks. The other 29 teams signed their first rounders but the Jays somehow didn’t. What makes the Jays’ process different than the rest of the teams in baseball.

    • The Jays know how to beat the system. Remember AA is a ninja.

      • Yes, although there is no proof, I believe this is Alex (or one of his lieutenants) using the rules in a heretofore unseen way. Remember, he was more or less buying draft picks, etc., in ways other teams weren’t. There was even talk a little bit of other general managers being slightly miffed at AA’s “arrogance” in believing he could do things better/different than before.
        As discussed, if they really believe that next year’s draft is better and they have a better change with the 11th pick next year than this year’s 10th (as long as they can sign him!), this could easily be AA “gaming” the system yet again. It is a risk, but every move is!

        • I don’t know if they’re really “gaming” or “beating” the system, but they’re certainly using it to take risks on high upside guys with signability concerns and using it as a safety net if they’re not able to sign them with savings from later in the draft.

          • Agree completely; I hate the paradigm that doesn’t allow for any possibility other than AA as either a reckless gambler or a stealth ninja. It’s, as Stoeten described it, a hedge, which is incredibly important in an asymmetrical information environment like the MLB Draft. If AA thinks Bickford will sign for around slot, then they get good value out of the pick. If Bickford balks, then the consequences aren’t that dire (well, unless you’re an idiot who thinks that the perception of the Jays not signing their first rounder is more important than the tangible talent they’ll add to the system). It’s much more about understanding probability and mitigating risk than exploiting some loophole that for some reason people think the other 29 GMs are too dumb to be aware of.

    • I wonder what would be the penalty for submitting to Bickford’s signing bonus? Was AA just being stubborn or would the Jays really lose more than a bit of cash?

    • The Jays drafted two players in the later rounds who were ranked on some of the publicly available lists (i.e. Parks, klaw) as 2nd round tallent.

      Not going overslot with bickford and saving on their other picks, allowed them to get over on Brentz and Tellez. So, they essentially got 2 extra high picks AND only lose 1 slot on their 1st round pick (for a draft which by most accounts is stronger than this year’s)

  5. Westerners and night owls everywhere salute you for yeoman service Stoeten.

  6. ”We’ve always had in the back of our heads of potentially moving him [Bautista] back to third base,” he says.

    What does that mean for Lawrie? … Second base?

    • They only explanation I can come up with is that Lawrie will be traded at some point. Lawrie is far and away the best defender the team has at third, and right now its his ONLY strength. He can’t hit, he can’t run the bases, he can’t stay healthy, and he can’t keep his emotions under control. He may or may not turn out to be a plus defender at 2b (I wouldn’t bet either way), but I think AA realizes Lawrie’s offense probably isn’t going to hold up at third, and his boneheaded, Red Bull-fueled antics on and off the field make him more trouble than he’s worth, especially when he’s spending 30-60 games a year on the DL.

      He never tore up the minors offensively – other than the year in Vegas, where people like JPA can hit over .300 and slug .626, Lawrie’s highest OPS for a season was .802. I realize he was young for his leagues, but there was nothing in his MiLB track record to suggest he’s be an offensive star in the bigs. A competent offensive 2b for sure, but not a Silver Slugger, certainly not at third. His 2011 cup of coffee was clearly a fluke.

      I never had a maple boner, but I was excited 2 years ago when Lawrie was called up. I still had some high hopes for him coming into this season. Now he’s my least favourite player on the team, and its far more because of his attitude than his performance.

      • Excellent name.

      • Nothing is clear about the future of a 23 year old in MLB.

        Lawrie has a tonne of natural talent, but he still needs to work on things. I hope he’s humble enough to take criticism and make the necessary changes. It’s way way too early to give up on him.

      • He’s your least favourite player on the team? Holy shit, I can hardly tell from all the total horseshit you insist about him.

      • Doesn’t it also give flexibility for AA to go after an outfielder (or 3b or 2b) in trade? Seems to me that’s the benefit, not just possibility of trading Lawrie.

      • If you’re not Miller, then you are his twin brother. You talk some drivel here.
        “can’t run the bases”? why-because he got hurt at 2B?-so did reyes or are you referring to his error in JUDGMENT in trying to steal home with JB up that time? He was admonished for that so your argument to me is bunk.
        Health-some unfortunate injuries but it isn’t like he has fukin cholera or something.
        Hitting?-yeah off this year but he still hit 270 last year and I think that is his floor not ceiling. This year may just be the aberattion in the negative sense

        • The baserunning comment was to do with his frequent bonehead decisions that lead to running into outs, not lack of sliding technique.

          When you play like Lawrie, and don’t have the brains to discern when its worth jumping into camera bays for foul balls and when its not, you will always be dealing with injuries.

          I’m a Jays fan, and have been every day of every year since 1985. But I’m also not a fanboy, and I can criticize players when criticism is due. Fact is, Lawrie has acted like a complete d-bag over the last year. The helmet tossing, the stupid Twitter shit. Him ragging out Lind earlier this year in front a full stadium for not trying to score on a shallow fly to LF sealed the deal for me. I’m not saying I’ll never come to accept him or never cheer him on again, but the boy has some serious growing up to do if he wants to stick around, especially if he can’t get his OPS+ up to 100.

      • “Red Bull-fueled antics on and off the field”

        If I had a dollar for every time someone here has dragged out that tired phrase.

        Stop caring so much about him. You’re like a bunch of Twilight fans.

      • posts like this, and there are sooo many, are %100000 cringe, y’heard?

    • It was always assumed he would eventually play a corner outfield position. If Jose stays at 3B long term Lawrie might play LF or something.

      • You need to hit to play LF.

        • Lawrie is 23 and has been hurt for the in-season portion of pretty much the whole last calendar year. Acting like he’s not going to hit based on that, sprinkling it with invented nonsense about what you assume his personality to be, and topping it off with poorly contextualized minor league stats, is pretty fucking rich.

          No, he might not hit. But by taking the most sourly fucking pessimistic view of absolutely everything you’re just showing that you’re not to be taken seriously.

          As for the minor league stats, I say poorly contextualized because it IS a big deal that he was the youngest player at those levels, his power was expected to grow, and a lot of the glow was because of scouts actually seeing things in him that don’t necessarily show up in the numbers.

  7. It really does seem that the extra wildcard position has changed the dynamic of the trade deadline,as compared to years before.

    • Yeah. But that creates what I guess is called a seller’s market.

      • No duh

      • I dont think thats accurate.

        Yes, theres more teams in it, and so ostensibly more teams looking to buy. But on he oher hand…..theres more teams in it. So GMs know that even tho they might be looking good mathematically (for example, onky 2 GB or whatever) so are a lot of other teams, and ai hink that will make them less likely to sell he farm.

        Under the old system, if you were 2 GB at the trade deadline, you were probably only competing with 2-3 other teams that were close by, so selling he farm might make sense. Nowadays, there might be 5-6 teams just as close.

        So I think that even though more teams are “in it” the actual odds of a team grabbing a WC are the same as before, if you follow me. I dont think there is much change from any other year with regarss to sellers marker or buyers.

        I mean, look at last year. Did anyone get unprecedented hauls at the deadline? ai dont think so.

        • I think I know what you’re saying, but it’s likely GMs just see how close they are to a playoff spotin terms of games back, and tell themselves they’re still in it. In any case, If you do decide you’re a seller, there are more teams hanging around, and could be more likely that at least one of them is willing to give up a good haul.

  8. I think the Jays are completely on point witth respect to Bickford and the Jays strategy over the past few years in the MLB draft. When you are drafting high school players, you have the leverage. Their choices are limited, they can either sign and make x amount, or go to College and hope in 3 years time they are offered something similiar. If the player doesn’t sign, the Jays get to replace that player the following year. Over time, the Jays strategy is the best way to guarantee you get the player at your price. Every player the Jays draft is now fully aware that the Jays will set a number, and not sway from it. The players can say all they want pre-draft that they will only sign for 5 million, or whatever the amount, but when piush come to shove, I bet more than a few of them will make the smart choice and take the guaranteed money.
    The rest of MLB is probabbly behind the curve on this one. They probably spend hours reasearching signability, waste days negotiating and playing a cat and mouse game with the agents about how mmuch slot is avaialble. The Jays just take the most talented player, look at him in the face, tell him this is what we will pay you and walk away, Based on the current system, this si the best way to maximize the dollars you spend on talent. You can’t fall in love with the player, he will simply be replaced the following year.

    One thing that really stands out though, is that when you take into account Paxton and Beede, 2 picks that we didn’t sign but we did draft, the Jays drafting record, when drafting in the top 100 or so, has been excellent. They do seem to have the ability to draft high upside arms.

  9. MWJSSP is back

  10. Thank fuck, they are not in on Garza. Whew!

  11. Comments are out of order

  12. AA is starting to scare me a little bit… the decision to move lawrie to 2B is pretty clearly a short sighted, panic move. lawrie is the best defender in the league at 3B… he is coming off an ankle injury (and has been injury prone generally) and now they are asking to turn the pivot on the double play… and he isn’t hitting – but they are asking him to change positions at the big league level midseason. i don’t like the idea of lawrie at 2b under any circumstances… but if you really feel that it is in the best interests of the organization long term then you make the change in the offseason. i mean, they make the change now and run out the light hitting izturis at 3b? really?

    management of the 25 man roster has been pretty consistently poor over his tenure… his asset collection instincts this season have trumped the ‘win now’ mode they appeared to shift into in the offseason.

    it is pretty clear from AA’s comments that they thought bickford would cave and sign for less than his number… I understand the idea that the notion that they get another pick next year but they lose value here… pointing to stroman vs. beede is hardly encouraging. i suspect that there are very, very few scouts who would take stroman over beede right now. for me, the management of the draft the past few years has been atrocious.

    • Ok then

    • Lawrie is fine moving to second (though I share your concerns about injuries) and gives you flexibility to move for a third baseman. This is not an issue.

      The asset collection has worked out really well. The roster management stuff looks worse than it is because they’ve been losing. It’s not the problem by a long shot.

      There is value to Stroman being way closer to the Majors than Beede right now, so it’s not as much of a value loss as you think. This time around they’re using their hardball approach to prep arms being offered first round slot money to expand their bonus pool and sign higher talent later. Beede was different– they reportedly disagreed on the medicals and held firm because of that. The strategy makes sense. Instead of caving to Bickford, blowing their pool money, and getting just him, they’re getting Brentz, Tellez, AND the pick back in a stronger draft. Yes, Beede still looks like a very good prospect, but that’s not always going to be the case.

      • at least at second base, he’s far away from the camera bays and stands.

      • i’m of the opinion that asking an injury prone player to play in the middle of the diamond for no apparent reason in the middle of a big league season IS an issue. if they turn around tomorrow and trade for an everyday 3B then i reserve the right to reconsider.

        stoeten, i think you are misunderstanding my position on the draft… i don’t have an issue with saving money to land brentz and tellez… i do have an issue with using the #10 overall pick on a guy when you have no intention of meeting his asking price. take the best guy available that is willing to sign for slot or close enough to it that you can still spend $ on bentz and tellez. furthermore i find it hilarious that the working assumption from a lot of posters is that AA is on to some sort of brilliant strategy that 29 other GMs haven’t figured out… rather then somebody seriously fucked up their evaluation of bickford’s signability.

        • I see what you’re saying, but I think you’re way off base saying someone fucked up the evaluation of Bickford’s signability. They played hardball, they had the leverage, and the kid took bad advice.

          In an entirely cold, business sense, I like that they’re playing hardball with these kids.

          Yes, they could have taken a lesser pick with no signability concerns, but that’s probably closer to the kind of talent they’ll get next year anyway (especially in what’s supposed to be a stronger draft), plus by staying firm at slot (assuming that’s what happened), they kept their bonus pool savings to be used on Brentz and Tellez as well.

          They’ve also now created another test case in the form of Bickford that they can point to in the future when they’re trying to convince the next pick that it’s a bad idea to hold so firmly to $4.5-million, or whatever it was, in the face of a $3-million or nothing offer. There may be value down the road in the strategy too– there’s certainly some in showing agents that they won’t back down. That long-term value doesn’t offset the loss of Bickford, but adding it to the value-adds of Brentz, Tellez and next year’s pick and you start to see how the club could view the whole package as a wash, which affirms their strategy.

          I suspect other teams are more afraid of taking the PR hit of missing out on signing their first rounder, among other reasons why they aren’t all doing this. Other teams also haven’t been banking all kinds of extra pool money with way below slot deals to picks in rounds 2-10, so… is that crazy too?

          • OK, i agree with you on a one count… the jays absolutely should stick to their number… it sets a terrible precedent to cave.

            i just don’t think that the jays should take a guy they don’t think will accept that number. unless you are picking near the very top of the draft you aren’t always going to be able to sign the top talent. talent slides every year for a reason…. whether you think it is bad advice or not it happens all the time. not everyone is motivated by the same things. where do you draw the line? if you are 99% sure that you can’t sign the top talent do you always take him anyway and kick the pick a year down the road?

            for me, the jays either picked bickford understanding that they probably wouldn’t be able to sign him… which is bad strategy… or – more likely – picked bickford thinking they could sign him… which is bad execution. you need to do a better job of accessing the leverage on the other side of the table… just because you or i think it is stupid for a HS kid to turn down $3M doesn’t mean that this particular kid or this particular family feel the same way.

  13. I love it how Stoeten calls anyone who disagrees with him an idiot and clings to his narrative like a dog on a bone, then after a couple of months comes out and does an about face and pretends like he’s coming up with something new all by himself.

    Lawrie may yet turn out to be a solid everyday player and get named to an All-Star team or two, and he may even pull his head out of his ass and become a franchise player. Gary Sheffield was a middle IF with attitude problems who overcame some bed shitting in his early 20′s to become an HOF-level player. For every Gary Sheffield, there are a million Matt Bushes, Khalil Greenes, Russ Adamses, and on and on.

    It is not idiotic to think that Lawrie won’t be the star we all so not-unreasonably hoped he’d be after 2011.

    • It’s not at all idiotic to think that Lawrie won’t be a star. It’s idiotic to be so insistently sour about it, and to do it based on the shitty reasoning you’ve used.

      And what narrative am I clinging to in your butthurt little first sentence there? The one where Lawrie might not be a star but it’s fucking dumb to use your shitty reasoning to insist it? Good luck with that.

      • No, the narrative that the Jays were going to win the division after the brutal start during which not one, not two, not three, not four, but all five starters sucked or were hurt.

        The narrative that Melky was going to roar back after his .578 OPS in April and become an offensive cog, especially since he was coming off a PED suspension that just happened to come after he followed up 4 straight years of shitty hitting with 2 AS-type seasons.

        This year’s team has had one flash of brilliance in a sea of shit. Miami just had an 18-13 stretch, so that mean I should expect them, in my wildest dreams, to play .581 ball the rest of the way?

        From day one this team had a very high upside and a very low downside, even without injuries. Bautista and Reyes were the only hitters in the lineup with anything close to a sustained record of success that they could be expected to continue. Most of of the guys (Lawrie, Rasmus, Lind, Edwin, Melky, Davis) have had a few good to great seasons and more below average to brutal seasons. Some others (Izturis, Boni, Arencibia, DeRosa, Blanco) would be average at best to replacement level at worst, and we all knew this.

        The pitchers were pretty much the same way. Dickey is a knuckler, so there’s a lot of inherent volatility. Buerhle was a shitballer, so I didn’t expect any CY votes, but you knew he’d give you innings at least. Johnson was coming off two injury-filled years and was a complete question mark. Morrow was a complete question mark as well, as was Romero.

        This team was either going to catch lightning in a bottle, which they needed to do but at least we knew they had it in them, or not. It was clear to me after WATCHING THEM PLAY for the first 6 weeks that this wasn’t going to be their year. Given the massive hype coming into the season and the fact that I actually had a reason to be hopeful coming into the season, their shitty play has been a real disappointment.

        • Your hilarious lack of reading comprehension is not my problem.

          Neither is your dumb as shit belief that you knew the season was over six weeks in, but here goes anyway: Just because it appears it will end up turning out that way doesn’t mean you weren’t completely talking out of your fucking moron ass when you said that (or thinking out your moron ass when you thought it).

          I sense a pattern here: negative fucking suckhole thinks he’s smarter than he is and extrapolates all manner of negative fucking suckhole bullshit from far too little data, then positions himself to pat himself on the back in case his guesswork turns out to be right, and postures as a realist and not some “fanboy.” Worthless, worthless, worthless fucking assholes. Especially when they try to straw man my positions like I was fucking cheerleading and not, y’know, the actual realist that they hilariously pretend to be. If this is what you need to do to enjoy a baseball season, try golf.

          • One thing I’m curious about and wish I could ask AA. He mentioned after last season that they were going to look at players in a worst case scenario and try and build the team with worst case scenario in mind.

            I don’t know if anyone remembers AA talking about that but I’m curious if the starting rotation has managed to exceed his worst case scenario.

            • I definitely remember him saying it. And I sure as fuck hope it has.

              I mean, 2011 Dickey would have been fine. EITHER Johnson or Morrow getting hurt/being useless would have been fine. Same with Happ and Romero. Hard to really believe they’d have been dealt a shittier hand than 2/6ths of the rotation options getting hurt (or being awful), one more regressing largely, and the other being Mark Buehrle, but here we are.

        • “Dickey is a knuckler, so there’s a lot of inherent volatility.”

          2010 – 2.84
          2011 – 3.28
          2012 – 2.73

          Yup, certainly very volatile over those 600 innings.

          The worst part of this season is that it’s giving vindication to all the idiots who thought the Jays would suck based on terrible, terrible reasoning. It’s fucking baseball. Yeah, there was a chance they’d suck and they have but the reasoning that some people had for it… god damn.

          • You guys pretty much nailed it, so I’ll just add in the plea that people stop using the word “narrative” so god damned much to make them sound smart.

          • I didn’t think the Jays would suck, but at least I acknowledged to myself that it was possible. My objective side pegged them for 88 wins and just missing a WC spot, but because I’m a fan I arbitrarily bumped it to 90 and the division title. I was wrong. After what I’ve seen so far, I’ll be happy if they finish the season with 81 wins.

            And for the record, I like this site too, which is why I visit it pretty much every day. I even think Stoeten is a good writer, but he’s pretty thin skinned.

            • Thin skinned? I just don’t suffer fucking fools gladly. There’s a difference. Sorry that I feel compelled to respond when clowns start saying shit about my motivations and whatever nonsense you dreamed up.

          • I couldn’t agree more about how frustrating it is to see ridiculous arguments for why the jays were supposed to be bad this year. They are sucking yes. But the people who said they would suck all pointed to our bullpen and “chemestry”. When our bullpen is among the best in baseball, injuries have been the biggest hit. Most believed our big strength would be pitching, even those that doubted us. And that has been our weakness. I’d like to see some minor moves. Maybe one impact acquisition (not a star, just a decent starter upgrade somewhere… either third or outfield and move jose to third). But we don’t need to change a whole lot about this team, just role the dice again next year and hope everyone stays healthy.

        • Hey Rants, the moment the Jays passed .500 and passed the Rays, all early season whining and posturing became worthless. Because they WERE very much back “in it”.

          That they have since turned back into pumpkins is the point at which it is over but for a miracle. And Stoeten has been quite clear about that – see the post on Garza yesterday.

          Even when the odds of a World Series were RIDICULOUSLY at 8.5 / 1 – that still meant you could bet against them winning and be right a huge majority of the time. You aren’t smart for saying they suck.

  14. Has anyone looked at Gose’s numbers in the minors this year. They are awful. And not even his batting, but his running numbers too. I’m not convinced we have such depth at CF.

    • On the flipside, Pillar’s numbers are incredible. Is there a lot of precedent for somebody who raked at every level with zero slipups when moving up levels not making it as at least a serviceable major leaguer? His numbers look very Howie Kendrickish.

      • He’s projected to be Reed Johnson 2.0, which is pretty decent for a 32nd round pick, but I wouldnt get my hopes up too high.

  15. I’d take garza in the offseason though.

    AA gave up some really good draft picks, guys he took to get buerhle dickey and Johnson. All of whom have under performed.. That’s got to be killing Alex right now, especially since it’s lead to the teams horrible start.

    I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see buerhle and Johnson shipped out, for nothing more than to open up 2 rotation spots

  16. Just to put the Romero start in Buffalo into perspective, both of Wang’s 2 starts since being sent down have been really good.

  17. I’m not at all familiar with the CBA, but am I right in thinking that by NOT signing Bickford this year, the Jays still get to spend his slot money on this year’s draft, AND get a similar slot value in next year’s draft, too? If so, it seems like a bit of a broken system to me… and AA is taking full advantage!

  18. stoten – thanks for the post and informative commentary. i know this is a message board, so it’s hard to tell if i’m being serious, but i am. i fucking love this site.

    • Thanks. Sorry for being terse. Too many idiots around here.

      • In all seriousness…. and as much as I hate saying this… you should adopt a slightly more complicated posting system. At least make people do the “we email you a link to activate your account” thing. And then don’t let people change their names on the fly as you currently can.

        You’ll find most people are happy campers here but for a few.

        • If only it were that easy. We’re stuck with what it is for the time being, unfortunately. I was not pleased that we moved away from Disqus, but it was a technical issue that’s out of my hands.

  19. Re: Bickford

    Stoeten nailed it in his analysis of how this conceviably played out. The Jays had a number in mind for Bickford and held firm. Their pre-draft discussions with him likely made the organization feel confident that the number they had in mind worked. AA insisted they did their homework on him and they were confident he wanted to turn pro, and in fact, still believe that to be the case today. Having said that, perhaps there was a change of heart re: value from his side which pushed his asking price beyond where the club wanted to go direction wise. In the end they (Jays) valued the #11 pick in 2014 + Tellez + Brentz higher than Bickford alone, just like Tyler Beede valued that Vanderbilt education higher than the bonus number the Jays had in mind.

    • the problem is NOT sticking to their number… the problem is being WRONG about whether or not bickford would sign for that number.

      they may well feel good about their process… but at the end of the day they fucked it up.

      thankfully with the 11 pick next year the consequences aren’t enormous… but they do lose some value here… and it is concerning that over the past 3 years they have done worse at gauging the signability of 1st round picks than anyone else.

      • They’re using the provisions of the CBA to not draft for signability but for talent, which is a good thing. They have all the leverage, and this time Bickford held firm. Again, Beede was under the old CBA and the dispute, it later came out, was about something in his medicals, so it’s kind of a different story. In both cases, though, Anthopoulos was being aggressive and not worrying about signability, and the kids were taking bad advice (which looks like it will work out well for Beede, though he’s still got to stay healthy and productive for a year first, which is no small feat when we’re talking about pitchers). Is that a fuckup on the Jays’ part? I don’t think so– not when they get the pick back and can use the bonus pool money created by holding firm at slot for other things.

      • Hey Ryan do you ever play poker?
        sometimes you have to lose early in the game and keep your money as opposed to pushing half your stack in on something you’re not sure about. You cannot set a precedent to future draft picks that you can be bullied and run over.

        • yeah, i play poker… and i understand the value of table image.

          i’m not suggesting they should cave. i’m suggesting that they should do a better job of understanding the leverage on the other side of the table… if you have, say, $3M to spend you take the best player willing to accept it. you don’t take the kid who wants $4.25 and kick the pick a year down the road.

        • agreed. whos to say the teenager doesnt blow his arm up and never make the bigs. happens all the time. if he was smart, he’d be set for life with a few million in the bank and on his way to playing MLB one day.

          agent got greedy is what it sounds like to me.

  20. We need real grass. That will solve all our problems.

  21. In regards to Lawrie, is this not just another case of asset management? Getting him into a position where he could project as above league average thus improving the asset while strengthening the team? To date although he has proven himself a more than capable defender at 3rd, sss or not the bat has not played up to par to be a top shelf third baseman. When does this start weighing on a players mind? WIth the Jays currently lacking a 2nd baseman and Lawrie having 2nd base experience in the minors how is it not worth investigating? Clearly his bat looks like it projects better at 2nd than 3rd with the chance (providing he reaches his potential) to be an upper end 2nd base bat. Do the Jays not need to assemble a collection of upper end players at all positions in order to field a championship calibre line-up in the AL East?
    Put Lawrie at 2nd with Bautista at 3rd and say good riddance to regular playing time for Bonafacio, Macier and Kawasaki. The jays will still have to fill a hole which is as it stands is 2nd with the potential of an upgrade at 3rd., By investigating with Lawrie at 2nd the experiment could not only put him in a better positon to succeed in regards to being above league average but also provide flexibility in the trade market enabling them to source the best player available (at the best price) be it a 2nd baseman, 3rd baseman or OF’er knowing they will be able to accommodate the position.

  22. The bottom line is they suck. Maybe we should have seen it coming, maybe we shouldn’t have, but it’s really all academic because they’re fucking horrid.

    I’ll still enjoy the games and watching to see what kind of numbers some guys can put up but they’re winning nothing.

    I’m already wondering what another GM could do with this payroll. I like Anthopolous but the bottom line is payroll got jacked and the team is still an afterthought. Unacceptable.

    • There is a difference between being bad and playing badly that makes this kind of stuff ridiculous. Especially the emphatic “unacceptable.” Yeah, because they fucking tried to be bad.

      • But they are bad. Again.

        Maybe not his fault, but it’s a fact.

        • Excellent analysis of the Jays’ record, Captain Obvious!

        • No, they are playing badly. There’s a difference.

          • I don’t really like this attitude of, “okay it turns out that you lucked into the wrong answer” dismissiveness (if that’s a word). “Yeah, you may have said that, but you were wrong and it’s pure luck that your prediction turned out right.” Like when someone says a seemingly good player will be crap and they turn out to be crap (or vice versa) and the reaction is, “well you were wrong then, he’s a good player having a bad time.” How is someone ever going to convince you then? If they’re wrong, haha, if they’re right it was dumb luck.
            One example was around the time the instituted the drug testing, and the old guys got old really fast, and young players were the new thing. But Mike Wilner didn’t really get this (was still basing things on past performance, though that was getting thrown out the window). And everyone who predicted the demise of certain old players he called idiots, and then when they did demise, he called the predictions “lucky” and the predictions were STILL wrong. Against this kind of fucked up logic, you can never be right. Using this kind of argument just shows someone as closed-minded, not willing to accept that someone else MAY (even) have seen something he/she himself didn’t see.
            It is better to acknowledge that, okay, MAYBE someone saw something I didn’t. Try to elicit what that was. Yes, I realize someone can be wrong and their prediction turn out to be correct because of luck, but best to see how/why they made the prediction, instead of just immediately writing it off because it didn’t agree with yours.
            This is not really directed at anyone in particular, BTW. I even really like Mike Wilner.

            • These negative suckholes don’t see anything but their own guttural reaction to losing, though. They project their bad feelings onto the team and then claim they’re seeing a team that’s bad. If they had some other actual reasoning that made sense behind it that would be different. Usually, though, it’s guys who wrote off Melky Cabrera in April, scoff in hindsight at people who expected him to roar back, and now sit contentedly like he’s finished, as though the leg injuries might not have played a significant role in how his first half played out. You know, idiots.

              • Yeah, you’re probably right for the most cases, especially if you know the person writing/speaking.

  23. well fuck… not even one starter? so the jays are just going to have the same piece of fucking shit rotation all year?

    • What do you want AA to do in a season that’s pretty much a write off?

    • Brandon Morrow and J.A. Happ are coming back. Where do you put them plus the new starter with Buehrle, Johnson, Dickey and Rogers already set?

  24. [...] them competitive in 2013), and GM Alex Anthopoulos said the same thing, as strongly as he could. Per the Score in Canada: “Some stuff that’s out there is completely fabricated. I guess what I can tell you is – [...]

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