Archive for the ‘Anthopoulos Speaks!’ Category


According to my Twitter feed, and the various Jays beat grunts who populate it, Alex Anthopoulos spoke to the media ahead of tonight’s game in Philadelphia, and offered a few interesting updates…

Brandon Morrow

Well… sure, OK. Obviously there are some huge grains of salt needed here — nobody knows precisely how Morrow is going to recover (and his diabetes complicates things), plus Anthopoulos may not want to indicate that he’s more desperate for pitching than he really is, and he may simply be putting on an optimistic face — but that’s better news than bad news.

No, really. I know that when word arrived over the weekend that Morrow might be out for the year, a lot of fans seemed oddly relieved and glad to hear that the experimenting was over and of the possibility that the club won’t be hanging their hope on him for yet another season next year (given the unlikelihood of their picking up his $10-million option for 2015 if he were to miss the rest of the year). I do entirely get why, on a visceral level, knowing full well how frustrating he can be to watch pitch when he’s not going right (and how often that happens to be), people might tend to think that way. But it’s also ridiculous. Having a Morrow healthy and on the roster is a much better thing than not, and if your personal best case scenario is that, when he gets back, the rotation is rolling with Stroman and McGowan, and everybody’s healthy, so they just slide Morrow to the bullpen, that’s totally fine.

Shit, it’s probably my best case scenario, too.

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Yesterday over at Grantland, Jonah Keri has relaunched his podcast for 2014, and — lo and behold! — Alex Anthopoulos was the lead guest, offering much of the same kind of stuff that we’ve heard from him over the past year, but with enough twists to keep it fresh and interesting — and, at times, somewhat maddening.

Actually it probably doesn’t even reach quite the level of “maddening” — what he offers us is quite a bit more good than bad, I’d say — but in there we still manage to find a little bit of revisionist history, a little bit of dancing around Jonah asking the crucial question when it comes to the idea that pitchers are afraid to sign here, a little bit of goalpost pushing, and a little bit of hollowly saying exactly what you’d expect him to about Colby Rasmus.

Some highlights!

On the off-season…

Asked to give an overview of how the Jays got to where they are, and failed to make a splash this winter, Anthopoulos an excellent of walking the tightrope between pure honesty and putting as positive a spin on things as he could. To wit:

When the season was over we didn’t know the status of Brandon Morrow. He was going to throw, basically, a simulated game early- to mid-November, and we were going to have to wait to find out how he was going to do, and if he was going to be ready for Spring Training. That was going to dictate some of the factors in the off-season. A guy like Drew Hutchison, that we were really high on in 2012 before he got hurt — as a 21-year-old and really started to turn the corner — he was going to go out and pitch in the fall league and we wanted to go out and see him and evaluate him. I got a chance to see him in November as well, and he really turned the corner. So, once Morrow had come out of his simulated games and had a clean bill of health, and we had full expectations for him in Spring Training, and seeing Drew’s progress in the fall league, we felt that was two starters that we didn’t have that we were going to add to the rotation.

We still wanted to be able to add one more starter if we could, via free agency or trade, but we didn’t want to force anything. There were some trade talks that we had that ultimately didn’t materialize — we would have had to force a move, and we obviously didn’t believe in doing that.

That’s not an incorrect chronology of events, and the stuff about how good they ended up feeling about Morrow and Hutchison isn’t new either, it’s just… really? I mean, where was this “if Morrow’s OK and Hutchison looks great, we really only want to add one starter — but only at the right price” stuff back in September, when pitching was the number one priority and they were bound and determined to find a way to improve? Because I didn’t hear it, and I certainly don’t think that it was by design that the Blue Jays’ rotation looks the way it does today.

Maybe I’m overdue for a tinfoil hat, but that spin on things sure seems exactly to me like the cheap veneer the Jays prefer to use when covering over whatever strangeness went on behind the scenes this winter.

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Alex Anthopoulos met with Jeff Blair on his Fan 590 radio show this morning in an uncomfortable, fascinating interview that curiously didn’t begin when it was originally scheduled, and featured the GM, at one point, holding himself back from speaking, because he didn’t want to “spark something.”

The subject matter was, of course, the freshly-announced signing of Ervin Santana by the Atlanta Braves, and while Anthopoulos danced around saying anything terribly concrete how his team factored into the deal, he did all he could to make clear that the Jays thought the had a deal with the pitcher, presumably on Saturday when it was being reported a deal was imminent.

Of course, if Alex’s aim was to say that but not say it, he could have briefed ol’ Gibbers on it first:

I guess Gibbons was just hinting it, too, but clearly that’s what happened. Or… at least… that’s the story.

Or, actually it’s the unofficial, wink-wink, nudge-nudge, story.

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Alex Anthopoulos met with the media yeterday morning in Dunedin and said exactly what anybody who’d given it two thoughts ought to have expected him to say about his club’s stand pat off-season, giving fans one final opportunity to vomit up as much winter negativity as their innards could summon before spring officially began. Even the calling of the session itself and its live broadcast online (on TSN only, as the Sportsnet feed of their parent company’s club’s GM’s potential self-immolation mysteriously succumbed to technical difficulties at the last minute) proved contentious among some fans, underlining the utter loss of perspective that seems to me to be characterizing this tail end of the off-season. After all, the media availability was almost certainly just a rote exercise on the first day in which all players are required to be at camp.

Negativity and disappointment directed at this club is, of course, justified, but some fans seem to believe that grants them license to act like spoiled children incapable of acknowledging nuance or any speck of thought that doesn’t enable them to piss and shit that negativity anywhere, and as though anyone who isn’t satiating their blind, deaf, and dumb thirst for acknowledgement of their supposed victimhood is a weaselly apologist with some kind of agenda hidden behind incomprehensible logic.

It’s not a monolith, of course. Many fans are able to swallow the bitter pills this club has been asking us to swallow this winter — the wholly disingenuous posturing as though they have no concept of realistic expectations on the free agent market; the bizarre acknowledgement that Ryan Goins isn’t a permanent second base solution, but that he is somehow the best they’re willing to do in what seems like it ought to be a crucial few months in early 2014; the sudden finding of religion on notions of the quality of their internal pitching options — with the understanding that this isn’t the end of the world. Unfortunately, as is usually the case, their voices aren’t nearly as loud as their whiny counterparts.

That’s because it’s hard to say in this climate of negativity that Anthopoulos is right when he points to health as the major factor behind last season’s disaster, but he is. It’s hard to look at the  projections with enough perspective to wrap your head around how they’re fluid, imperfect, and hardly a substitute for actually playing the games.

And it’s easy as fuck to fake pity everyone who won’t goose-step along with you in the moronic doom and gloom brigade and pretend like it takes some measure of wit to regurgitate irrelevant noise like a club history that has zero bearing the here and now, to feign expertise on matters of health, or to narrowly pick at a single statement or inaction as though it’s all that’s needed to prove the club’s entire existence is an affront to everything good and true and that doesn’t smother puppies to death.

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Alex Anthopoulos hit the radio waves here in the Centre of the Universe this evening, jumping on the Fan 590 with Bob McCown and Stephen Brunt to… um… well, not for any particular reason, it would seem, but that doesn’t mean that he didn’t have a few interesting things to say. Of course, with Anthopoulos, what’s important can often be about what wasn’t said… I think. Maybe I just made that up. But for today, at least, if you’re like me and want to keep on pipe dreamin’ for at least another week about the possibility of Masahiro Tanaka, it was definitely probably true.

Meaning: he certainly didn’t indicate that they’re out of the running for the Japanese ace. Because I’m not delusional I expect that they eventually will be, but he didn’t deny a thing. Not even in the “Hello, Mr. Thompson” kind of way that he’ll often use to prod us to read between the lines.

That said, he didn’t offer a whole lot of anything concrete, speaking, as he often does, in the strictest of general terms. But that’s not to say he didn’t provide us with plenty of food for thought.

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Alex Anthopoulos met with the media for his Wednesday afternoon session today– assuming that it actually is Wednesday– and while he didn’t offer up a whole lot new– which, itself, is nothing new– or suggest that there has been a whole lot in the way of movement, he did actually offer quite a bit of interesting information for us to chew on, I think.

He adds something that I think we’ve understood for quite some time now…

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What!!?! An actual new picture!

There hasn’t been a whole lot for the local reporters who have made the trip down to Orlando to report on today, and Alex Anthopoulos wasn’t giving them a whole lot of meat when he met with them this afternoon, but he did give them a few things, as he laid out the tightrope that he’s trying to walk as he aims to make his club better without killing the upper levels of his farm system or taking the budget to a place where he’s not authorized to go.

Nobody ever said it was going to be easy. And… uh… yeah. Turns out it’s not. But part of it not being easy, I think, is that this little game of poker we’re involved in by proxy requires quite a bit of patience. That’s not made any easier by the fact that rival clubs have been out there splashing around cash, but let’s not forget that last year the shoe was on the other foot, and in future seasons, with a bit more cheap, young talent hopefully on the roster, and a few giant commitments off the books, it can very well be again. That is, if Alex Anthopoulos is able to keep his young talent in the organization, which… at the moment it looks like he’s trying as badly to do as we’ve all been hoping.

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