I don’t exactly remember what I was going for with the above image, which I began using last year during the GM Meetings, but I’m sure it’s still apt. Alex Anthopoulos is still a man on fire, as he needs to make all kinds of magic at the event once again this year, despite laying the groundwork for all kinds of thrilling deals last year in Indian Wells– most of which kind of blew up in his face. This year the baseball establishment, and the assembled media, are in Orlando, and with all the news that’s coming out– or expected to come out– of these meetings, we’re keeping very close watch on all the rumblings.
Here’s what’s worth talking about when it comes to the Jays tonight:
In his most recent report at Sportsnet, Shi Davidi pivots off AA’s quashing of today’s rumours, insisting that fans not get worked up about any rumour involving Jose Bautista that doesn’t suggest an elite starter is coming the other way, because that’s the only thing he believes the Jays would move him for. He also look notes that the Jays are expected to make a push for Jeff Samardzija, and that they’ve kicked the tires on Ryan Hanigan (as well as Jason Castro, though he says it seems like Houston isn’t terribly inclined to move him).
You’ll notice that those are players under contract to other clubs. That’s because, as Davidi explains in the piece, “the reading of Blue Jays’ intentions at the moment is that they plan to exhaust their potential opportunities on the trade market first before taking serious runs at any free agents.”
Beyond all of that goodness, by far the most noteworthy stuff to pass along on this evening of the GM Meetings has come out of the scrum Alex Anthopoulos had with media members late in the afternoon.
Davidi wrote about the scrum earlier for Sportsnet, focussing again on the GM’s dismissal of today’s reports out of Philadelphia– and, specifically, Howard Eskin– about both a Jose Bautista trade, and a Carlos Ruiz offer. Basically, he simply fleshes out some of the comments that he relayed in the tweets that I wrote about in this afternoon’s Daily Duce.
A piece on the dangers of believing everything you hear at this time of year followed from Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star, while that sort of stuff also provided the bulk of the piece filed by Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun.
Buffery, however, pivoted off a couple of other interesting things that Anthopoulos said, as well. For example, the GM explained– as we’ve heard at other times so far this week, as well as in Davidi’s latest– that the market for trades is developing slowly this year. He says he’s still mostly gathering information, and added, “I don’t know that I’m closer to anything right now.” This slowness so far, the GM speculates, may hinder the market for free agents, as well. “I think you’ll see much more activity at the winter meetings,” Anthopoulos said.
It’s not only the rumours that we need to be wary of swallowing whole hog at this time of year, though, and AA could simply be posturing with comments like that– as could he with comments like this:
“He said on Wednesday that it seems more likely that the Jays will probably go with a platoon of Maicer Izturis and Ryan Goins at second.”
I’d suggest that it’s not likely he’s going to come out and say to the agents or clubs he may negotiate with that he really feels he needs an upgrade and couldn’t stomach standing pat at this position, but… actually that’s pretty much exactly how he handles questions about his rotation, as Buffery notes that the GM reiterated that his priorities are to add one or two “quality” starters– and Buffery specifically says that Ubaldo Jimenez, Matt Garza, and Ervin Santana appear to be the ones the club is most interested in.
That doesn’t mean he couldn’t still be posturing when it comes to the second base stuff, though. Or it could be that Buffery has taken a little bit of a liberty with what Anthopoulos said. A tweet from Shi Davidi characterizes the comments slightly differently:
AA when asked if he sees chance to get 2B: “Right now I would say no. It would be combination of Goins and Izturis & Goins has options left”
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) November 13, 2013
I’m a much bigger fan of how that sounds, because it’s still more than early enough in the winter for what the situation “right now” is to change completely.
In his own piece, Davidi– in addition to looking at the bullshit rumour issue– passes along some comments from über-agent Scott Boras, who is careful to be very complimentary to the Blue Jays organization, despite the fact that the club hasn’t signed a client of his since the messy situation with draft pick James Paxton in 2009, who ended up being suspended by the saintly NCAA because Paul Beeston was quoted publicly as admitting that the club had negotiated exclusively with Boras, even though he was supposed to be merely an “advisor” — a rule everybody breaks, but appropriately stays quiet about it.
“I’ve had constant communication with both Paul and AA throughout,” Boras said when asked about the apparent lack of a relationship. “It’s not anything to do with not talking, maybe just not the right fits.”
Elsewhere, John Lott of the National Post has a piece about Mark DeRosa, who sounds comfortable with his decision to retire– even if it was partly due to the fact that he felt he deserved to be paid more than the $750K his contract option stipulated.
The broadcast offer convinced him it was time for a career change, especially since it would allow him more time family time.
“I felt like the opportunity to be great at 39 years old was kind of here or there, and the opportunity to start a new career and build off it, and given what they were presenting to me, it just felt like this was the right move,” he said.
“My wife and kids are really excited for me to be home,” he added. “It gives me a chance to be home 4 1/2 more months than I would if I played.”
In the piece for the Sun from Buffery– who also has one up in which he chats with a still-disappointed John Gibbons– Alex Anthopoulos also addresses, quite rationally, DeRosa’s departure:
“I don’t think we’re going to find someone like him, but anytime you have the chance to add someone who’s good in the clubhouse, who can help your team win, it’s part of the equation (in signing someone),” said the GM. “But it’s an age-old debate … what comes first? Chemistry (or) winning? When we won 11 games in a row, was it good chemistry? Now if the rotation is better, do we have better chemistry? It’s tough to quantify.”
And, lastly, Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail takes the opportunity to keep beating the drum for a Jose Bautista trade, insisting that at some point the Jays’ slugger is going to become more valuable to someone else than he is to the Jays. I’m not sure how he entirely figures– he makes the point that because of his contract Bautista is a bargain, but doesn’t he quickly stop being one when a team ends up having to pay in other assets enough to make the Jays part with him?
Two more small items from MLBTR: one) the Royals seem to like Josh Johnson, as well as Carlos Beltran, it turns out– which would definitely be a couple of good moves for them, I think. And two) the Rockies, despite some reported interest earlier in the meetings, seem as though they’ve moved on from Carlos Ruiz.
By the way, see if you can note any similarities between what AA was saying at the top of this post, and what he said as the GM Meetings were wrapping up last year. I think you might find a thing or two that overlaps slightly. *COUGH*
Oh yeah, and for some great chatter (from Drew– mediocre chatter from me) about all the goings on from around the league, be sure to listen to today’s edition of the Getting Blanked Podcast!
So… there’s that.