Better get away from Oxford Town…

Who says the Jays don’t have money?

Apparently they have at least a little money, because according to a report from Hugh Kellenberger of Jackson, Mississippi’s Clarion-Ledger, they offered some of it to 2012 draft pick Anthony Alford.

The Toronto Blue Jays wanted Anthony Alford’s undivided attention.

Alford finished up his third professional baseball season last month, and the Ole Miss athlete said the last day came with a surprise.

“The (general manager) came down and tried to talk to me,” Alford said. “He put some deals on the table and made it difficult on me.”

It was a five-year deal, Alford admitted.

Alford is a player we’ve watched for two tumultuous years, as he’s gone from a $750K bonus baby who slipped for to the fourth round due to signability concerns and concerns about his commitment to football, to a struggling quarterback at Southern Mississippi, to a student involved in an arrest drama involving a weapon, to player who transferred to Ole Miss and sat out all of 2013, then switched to defensive back, where he’s slated to play for the Rebels this college football season.

Not a lot of baseball talk in there, but there still is enough promise in him that he remains very much on our radar — so much promise, evidently, that the Jays were willing to make a long-term commitment (though presumably not for a tonne of money).

Marc Hulet wrote about Alford this summer for FanGraphs.

In an organization that has struggled to develop home-grown hitters, Alford is an intriguing commodity. The club has already committed a $750,000 bonus, a third-round draft slot (He was arguably a fringe-first-round talent with signability concerns) and conceded at least three years of development to the Mississippi native. Because he’s not a top-of-the-line NFL prospect, Toronto may still be able to sway him to turn his attentions to the diamond on a full-time basis but it will hopefully be sooner rather than later.

At this rate, he’ll continue to fall further and further behind his same-aged peers and he also risks serious injury while playing football. Not only that, he has only two more years of development after this season before the Jays have to decide whether or not to offer him an all-import 40-man roster spot to protect him from the advances of other organizations in the Rule 5 draft.

Despite the negatives, Hulet generally came away impressed with Alford, particularly because of some nice-looking numbers — albeit in very small sample sizes — that speak to his natural abilities, given that he’s spent so much of the last two years away from the diamond.

In Bluefield this year, Alford made just 35 plate appearances, striking out in 37.1% of those, but posting a .343 on-base, despite just a .207 batting average, thanks to five walks he took during that span. Up a level at Lansing he was even better, in an even smaller sample of 25 plate appearances. For the Lugnuts he posted a 126 wRC+ as a 19-year-old in a league where the average hitter is 2.5 years older. He did so not by walking, but with eight hits in those 25 PA, including a double, a home run, and four stolen bases (with no caught stealings) to boot.

Yeah, the samples are tiny, but obviously there is talent there. Unfortunately, Alford simply isn’t ready to give up football yet.

“Football was my first love and even if I made $100 million dollars down the road in baseball, I’d still regret not giving football a shot,” he told Kellenberger.

Seems crazy to me, but he surely knows himself better than I do. The Clarion-Ledger piece also suggests he could even see some time back at quarterback this year, could factor into Ole Miss’s return game, and could see significant snaps in the defensive backfield. So… there’s something there, too. Maybe he’ll prove himself a better prospect than most have given him credit for.

Or maybe he’ll simply slip farther behind his peers on the baseball field, and realize too late which sport he really could have made an impact in. Hopefully it works out, both for him and for the Jays. Hopefully he stays healthy through the football season, too.

Comments (81)

  1. Kids are stupid

  2. fuck. Typically, I’m a “follow your heart” kind of guy, but I dunno……I find it hard not to call this guy a dummy.

    Following your heart is great and all, but it’s very likely AA at LEAST offered him a few million. I can’t imagine the GM going down there in person to offer $500 k for 5 years. And that kind of thing is a life changing amount that can set you and your family up for life.

    And I’m also obviously biased in that I want this guy to play baseball.

    I think what seems so maddening is that it’s not even like he’s an overly touted football prospect. Yeah, he’s a fantastic athlete, but so is pretty much every player at that level (at the skill positions, at least). He’s not even a lock to start.

    OTOH, it’s got to take a certain kind of balls to turn down that kind of money (even if it is only a few million). So……good for him?

    I just hope he smartens up soon and plays ball full time. For purely unselfish reasons, of course.

    • Maybe it’s an income levels thing, ya know? If his mom’s a lawyer and dad a politician or something, 1-2 mill for 5 years ain’t as huge a thing, maybe?

      /goes to google to look the kid up at least!

    • you’ve shown yourself to be a complete idiot on here. How the hell would you know what he offered? And he certainly didn’t offer a few million for a guy who’s nothing more than a prospect. That would be a great precedent for alex, give prospects more money if they hold out after signing.

      • Dude you’re one to talk about being an idiot from what I’ve read on here

      • Clearly reading comprehension isn’t your thing.

        Nowhere did I ever state. “Knew” what he offered. I stated that we can make some reasonable assumptions. 1) is that AA wouldn’t go down there personally to offer him $500,000 over 5 years. The other is that they wouldn’t offer him that regardless. That’s $100,000/year. Use your head.

        Also, I’m not certain, but considering it would be a guaranteed major league contract (there are no 5 year minor league deals) he may very well have had to offer the league minimum.

        And lastly, you have proven yourself to be truly the moronic emeritus here. Agree or disagree with my comments, at least they’re thought out and defendable.

        Your just an idiot.

    • Smarten up you say. He got $750,000 to not commit to baseball. I would say that was one of the smartest things I have ever heard of. How he kept a straight face while looking at Alex when he took the $750,000 is amazing. Could you imagine going into a job interview tell them straight out that you have an offer from Apple that you are taking. And instead of putting out their hand and saying thanks for comming in hope it works out for you. Here is a cheque for $750,000, go work at Apple and if things don’t work out the way you want come see us.

  3. Who knows, maybe he likes being a shitty football player.

  4. College life is probably better then being in the minors but come on dude

    • lol it’s probably fair to say college football life at a major school is better then life in the Bigs (except the money thing).

      Those guys get a rock star treatment that probably only the elite in baseball get, are away from home for the first time in their lives, and are the complete alpha males in a pretty sexually liberated and experimental environment.

      For a 19,20,21 y/o male, it’s probably literally a fantasy come true. Contrast that to the drudgery of the minors.

  5. It kinda sucks that rule 5 eligibility is not based on MILB service time (excluding injuries) for cases like this, but these cases are few and far between so I can see why it’s not.

    Of course the Jays made a calculated risk here by investing $750k in him, but it certainly seems that, unless they Jays were misled, this was probably a pretty poor evaluation of his commitment to baseball at the time they drafted him.

    I always wondered with Alford if the conversations with the Jays went in the direction of “Football is my first love, I will play baseball in the offseason, but as long as I still have a chance to make the NFL I won’t stop playing football” or “I’ll give college football a try for two years and if it doesn’t work, I’ll 100% commit to baseball”. .

    • There was a pretty good article from Baseball America that looked at guys doing the MILB/NCAA football thing. Pretty much, unless you are playing both NCAA baseball and NCAA football, it almost never works out. Not really that surprising.

    • yea – i’m not typically a doomsayer, but it’s easy to envision him as the next great example of a Rule 5 steal because there are just enough question marks where, if you’re the jays, you probably have guys that you might actually need to help you next year on the 40 man, allowing the cubs or astros (or whatever team with a roster spot) to pick him up and appear brilliant in hindsight at some point in the future, when really the reality is that the jays obviously love this guy and don’t want to lose him.

      • Not sure if you fully understand the Rule 5 rules. If a team picks up a rule 5 player they must remain on the 25 man roster not the 40. This means you are putting a guy into the majors with almost 0 experience.

  6. Kid….you stink at football.

    I get choosing a shot at the NFL or MLB.

    But he is choosing a few years of college football over MLB (including millions up front even if he doesn’t make it).

    Unless of course he really is that delusional over his abilities on the gridiron.

  7. Who’s giving this dolt advice? From what I heard, an average NFL career is something like 6 years. Also, no guaranteed contracts, a lifetime of dealing with the effects of concussions … Yeah … Give football a shot, dumb ass.

    • The average NFL career is actually more like 3.5 years…even worse return for the physical toll the sport exacts from a person.

    • And don’t forget the scrambled brain syndrome for the rest of your life.

  8. meh. the heart wants what it wants. he said it himself, he knows he’d regret not trying to go after his dream of playing football.

    it’s not like he’s a guarantee to make it to the bigs. shit, no one is. i bet the average major league career is under 5 years, and most guys never see FA bux.

    i hope he hangs up the cleats sooner rather than later for selfish reasons, but i think for his sake, and everyone’s sake you want that commitment to baseball to be 100% if and when it does come, and it’s clear that will only happen when a football career is past him, unfortunately for us i guess.

  9. how many more years can he play football?

    It was a calculated risk but one I still think was worth taking. There are some really shitty players on the 40 man so to add him may not be that big of deal especially if he starts to show signs of promise.

    Injuries have to be his biggest concern. To me you take the money but I am not him nor do I have any idea what its like to be him so who am I to judge.

    • If I understand correctly, Alford will be rule 5 eligible in December 2016, which will be timed with the end of his Senior football season (he’s a redshirt). Assuming he doesn’t change his mind and continues to only show up for extended spring training and a month of minor league games, Alford will not have played a full minor league season at this time. So the Jays will have to make the decision to add him to the 40 man without ever having had him play a full season of pro ball.

  10. Kid, get an adviser, a real one….or if you do have one already, change advisers.
    AA’s offering you in the neighbourhood of several million dollars to play baseball, where your career could be mentioned in terms of DECADES – instead of football, where you get maybe 4 years. Not to mention being able to get yourself out of bed in the morning without the aid of physio-therapy devices.
    I know about following your dreams….I wanted to be an astronaut and marry Cheryl Tiegs at one time. But if you’re not being mentioned on the NFL draft boards at all at this time of your football career – maybe it’s time to grab the brass ring that’s right in front of you.

  11. Why anyone would choose football (higher injury rate, non-guaranteed contracts in the NFL) over baseball offering you money to play is beyond me. I know football is a religion in the US, but jeez. Take the money and your non-concussed head and run with it.

    • “I know football is a religion in the US”

      For some, including it seems Alford, that renders everything else you said irrelevant lol.

      • I lived in West Virginia for 2 years…my apt. was a block from the Mountaineers football stadium. You wouldn’t believe the culture until you experience it in person. I went to a few games and the atmosphere is just insane. They live and breathe it down there and it will never change. Wish we could post pics on here like twitter..

        • This. It does seem insane on paper to be choosing to stick with the uncertainty of football over the safer money of baseball … however, I’ve played both baseball and football, and while I would have chosen baseball as a career choice if I had to make a choice on the spot, I completely understand wanting to stick with football. It’s hard to explain in words on a blog, but there’s a completely different adrenaline rush being involved in a football game with the pace as compared to baseball – it’s easy to feel bored with baseball after playing a starring role in a football game. Rushing through a line while trying to avoid being crunched vs. standing out there in right field for 9 innings with maybe getting involved in 6-8 plays all game when not batting … not much of a comparison for some players who have been involved in both.

        • My dad once said to me about it, “There’s a reason they play it on Sunday.”

      • NFL football is a religion in the US and, honestly, college football might go deeper than that in the south. I’ve never been to Mississippi, however having traveled to Florida during football season I can tell you that on Saturday’s in the fall 95% of people’s fanship is identifiable based on what SEC or, to a lesser extent, ACC color scheme they’re wearing.

        Massive programs like Ole Miss have a gauntlet of coaches, athletic dept. employees, boosters, hostesses (see deadspin for the scoop on these), and etc. that are quite convincing to many a 19 year old. Compare that to a minor league GM representing a baseball club in Canada and there isn’t really a competition. Plus, he probably does truly enjoy football over baseball (he’d have to if he’s willing to switch to corner in order to keep the dream alive) and might think of baseball as more of a fallback. Frankly, there are probably few in his circle that care which way he goes as long as it means $$$ at the end of the road.

  12. Jays definitely need big bats in their minors. Very little aside from Matt Dean and Rowdy Tellez.

  13. I hope he enjoys his future CFL career.

  14. it boggles my mind how this guy could make a decision that is different than the one I would’ve made had I been placed in a some what similar situation.

    I wonder what the deal becomes should he decide to sign one year, two years down the line

  15. From the Jays perspective, you’d have to think the best case scenario is that Alford has a non-injury related terrible season and gives up the dream to join a full-season minor league team next spring.

    I’m not one to with anyone else ill so I can bring a happier sports fan, but that seems like it would work out best for everyone.

  16. Shit. Robin Williams just died. This takes precedence over Alford.

    • Suicide apparently.

    • Fuck . . . why?

      this is awful

      was it drug related? he had massive struggles so i wonder if it was an OD

      • Long time battle with depression. It wouldn’t surprise me if he also had some form of substance abuse and/or alcohol issues.

        • Yeah… “Williams has been open about his past issues with drinking and cocaine during the early 1980s and sought treatment in 2006 for alcohol abuse.”

          Also went to a renewal (treatment) facility last month for a retreat to boost himself up. Didn’t work, obviously, as the demons from depression are a difficult thing to overcome.

  17. Since I don’t know where else to put this:

    Reyes not in starting lineup.

    Willingham to Royals for pitcher Jason Adam.

    • win-win it seems

      Royals offense sorely lacking pop, always welcome extra OBP . . . only make less than 2 mil for next month and a half

      Twins get a decent piece . . . I really like what the Twins have done of late in terms of asset management

  18. Manny Machado out of the NYY game with a knee injury (right side.)
    He slipped in the batter’s box, went down, and had to be helped off the field.
    It doesn’t look good.

  19. Not wishing ill will on anyone but if somebody had to get hurt, better him than anyone else … Machado just went down, clutching his knee. Didn’t look good.

    With Machado and Hardy now both hurt, this could make for an interesting infield for the O’s and help the Jays in some way.

  20. Alford is either really dumb, or his heart is not in baseball. Neither of those things bode well. Not to mention, baseball is a game of repetition. Just being a freak athlete can work in football, but not baseball. There is nothing on his b-ref page to suggest he is any kind of natural hitter and therefore he needs to work full time. They should trade him for whatever they can get.

  21. Verlander pulled out of his start with shoulder soreness.

  22. I posted this as an accident to a comment SP made, but I’ll ask it again. Between these series who do we want winning?

    NYY vs BAL

    KC vs OAK

    PIT vs DET

    • A plague on all their houses.

    • Now, we want NYY to beat BAL, no?

    • As long as the Jays are winning vs Seattle… go NYY, OAK and PIT.

    • NY over Baltimore clearly . . . NY is not that good, I’d say they have as good a chance of the playoffs as Cleveland, maybe even Tampa . . . Baltimore is a very good club that had been playing great of late, so I def want NY taking that series

      KC vs. Oak is a toss up, both teams are very close to being 1st/2nd in their respective divisions . . . I’d love to see KC make playoffs over Tigers tho

      Pit over Det . . . Pitt needs to make playoffs again especially after that lunacy with McCutch getting hit

      • I think I’m missing your point about Cutch getting hit. What happened to him?

        • The D-backs drilled him in the ribs in retaliation for their star player Goldy getting plunked on the hand (not intentional) cuz Arizona are a bunch of dbags.

          • Just found the vid a couple minutes ago. Strangely people are saying a Pirates player had it coming since they’ve lead in hitting batters for the season and last year

  23. Anyone out therre subscribing to TV who has Shockwave Flash crashing every five minutes? Any advice? It’s driving me crazy … Thanks
    RIP RW

  24. Jays paying 2.15 on Proline, out west ( no ties) gotta take the under on 6.5 right?

  25. Fuck Davis
    Fuck the Orioles

    (Fuck the Skanks too)

  26. Looks like karma caught up with Manny Machado.

    • “I believe in karma.” (Chad Kroeger)

      That was all I needed to know to embrace the opposing viewpoint.

      • Did you just sully the DJF comments section’s good name by bringing Nickelback into the mix?

        For shame.

        • This would be a bad time to say that I don’t mind Nickelback right?

          Too late now I guess

  27. @gregorMLB: Encarnacion will head to Buffalo tomorrow to continue his rehab. He’ll then likely be activated Friday in Chicago. #BlueJays


  28. Machado hurt. Verlander hurt.

  29. Man, I feel bad for the Tigers. Absolute worst case scenario happened to them in tonight’s game.

    Not only losing Verlander to injury, but losing him to injury after he’d pitched 1 inning and given up 4 runs.

    If he and Sanchez are out for a prolonged period of time their season may well be over.

  30. Zaun referred to Hernandez as “King Fi-Fi”. Good. Fucking. Lord.

  31. Why does this feel like such an important game?

  32. It appears Nelson Cruz is out of his slump. Maybe he’s on the new Biogenesis list too?

  33. This dude seems pretty fucking stupid. NFL is a brutal sport with a short shelf life however that fact doesn’t even concern him since he’s such a long shot to make it anyways.

    The weapons charge combined with his insistence on playing football equates to one silly stupid kid in my opinion.

    If he’s sticking with football to get the free education, then I apologize. But I feel like that isn’t the case, because if it was, it’s a noble enough pursuit to just say it out loud to anyone who questions him.

    • Hmmmm imagine you were slogging it out in A-ball for a couple years with hopes and belief that you have the talent to become an established big leaguer, and here come the Sask. Roughriders with a 5 year, 2 million dollar offer to be their punter. What do you do?

  34. “(though presumably not for a tonne of money).”

    And probably not for a ton of money, either…which is less than a tonne.

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