Archive for the ‘Anthopoulos Speaks!’ Category

aaspeaking4

Some interesting stuff here from Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet, who has tweeted out a statement from Alex Anthopoulos. Which appears to be just the tip of the iceberg from the GM’s main media session for the day– in which case, more updates may be to follow (not looking a whole lot like it though).

Here’s what Ben has given us so far:

This is not exactly surprising for a couple of reasons: first, the market for free agent pitchers just hasn’t heated up yet, as clubs continue to wait on the status of Masahiro Tanaka– who Ben indicates in another tweet the Jays may bid on. Anthopoulos wouldn’t say for sure, “but he made it clear that they’d have dialogue about all top arms.”

Secondly, two of the remaining top pitching targets– Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana– have draft picks tied to them that could really hurt their markets. And since the Jays would only have to give up a second-rounder– neither of their two first-round picks– in order to sign one, they have an advantage, and a reason to think they may be able to keep waiting out the market. I don’t think we’ll be talking full-on Kyle Lohse situation here, but I could definitely see those players getting a little bit desperate if the interest doesn’t pick up the way they’d like in January, and the Jays potentially being able to swoop in and make a deal. It’s just that much more palatable to them to do so than it would be for a team giving up a first.

Then again, they may not have room for those guys by then, because the trade market sure is simmering– even if, as Ben tells us, Anthopoulos says he hasn’t had to cast a terribly wide net in his search for a top quality starter, because there just aren’t that many available.

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AAbroadcastbooth2

According to Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star, Alex Anthopoulos “held court” with members of the local BBWAA today, as the organization got together to name some award winners. Shi Davidi tweets that Edwin Encarnacion is the club’s player of the year, according to the local scribes, with Casey Janssen being named pitcher of the year, the rookie of the year being Todd Redmond, and Brett Cecil being named most improved. He adds that “Mark DeRosa gets John Cerutti Award from Toronto chapter BBWAA as person associated with #BlueJays who represents spirit of late pitcher”

But you didn’t come here to hear about that, did you? Let’s get to the juicy-ish tidbits! Because during the court-holding, the GM offered up a few of those on what the team is up to, both with regard to the moves made this week, and with a view to next week’s Winter Meetings.

What was said, exactly? Turns out Brendan was kind enough to tweet it out!

As I noted in my roundup of the trade in today’s MLBTR piece, Thole probably needs to watch his back, because there is actually quite a bit to like about Kratz. Relative to the expectations on a backup catcher, at least. Yeah, maybe our expectations are completely warped by the catcher play we’ve seen here over the last three years, but in 129 big league games– the bulk of which have come in the last two seasons– Kratz has put up a .220/.281/.407. Horrible, yes, but he’s a catcher. And… uh… J.P. Arencibia’s best offensive season produced a .219/.282/.438 line. So… really not that awful. Especially since…

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aapresser

Alex Anthopoulos joined guest host Elliotte Friedman and Michael Grange this evening on Prime Time Sports and– hold onto your hats– there’s a small move coming! But… uh… it’s probably not one that’s going to blow your effing hat off, so actually, maybe you should stop looking like a damn dickhead and let go of the thing.

To wit, here’s what the GM said right near the end of the conversation, which can be found– at least in part– at Fan590.com.

We’re working on a small deal right now– maybe we’ll have it announced tonight. Small, though. I’m not trying get buzz going that this is going to move the needle or be breaking news, so it might go tomorrow, but we’re hopeful can get it done tonight. For the most part– like the three-way deal, we were aware of that last week. I think we’ve been active, in terms of dialogue and been aware of what’s going on. We’ve been close on some things– we’re definitely having dialogue, but I don’t know that we’re close to anything significant.

It’s like Christmas! Y’know… shitty Christmas.

I mean, do I really have to devote every waking moment for the next several hours to watching Twitter for the news to break? Because I was thinking real hard about getting drunk. So… you may be left to your own devices here. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Otherwise, there was a treasure trove (note: not literally) of comments coming our way from Anthopoulos this evening, including some fully expected stuff on J.P Arencibia and Dionner “good friends with Joey Votto” Navarro (much of which I’m not going to bother typing out), some illuminating stuff about how Doug Fister slipped through his– and much of the league’s– fingers, and this little tidbit about a suddenly-healthy (fingers crossed!) Brandon Morrow:

He’s thrown two bullpens and a simulated game, and he’s thrown everything– fastballs, sliders, curveballs– and not at 60% or 80%, it’s at 100%, full go, and he’s not feeling a thing– he feeling great. I think when we look back at the issues he had, he never really had an extended period of rest– it would be three or four days off, then keep playing catch– and he never could allow his arm to heal and his arm to rest. I think he just needed that extended period of rest. And not that he’s thrown ten innings in a game, but multiple bullpens, sim games, things like that– going max effort, because he wanted to really have a good feeling about going into the off-season. He didn’t anything back in every pitch and everything else. So he should be 100% full go for Spring Training.

I want to believe– I really, really do!

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aabeard

Artist’s rendering of Alex Anthopoulos if he refused to shave until Reuters gets some damn new pictures of him in their image archive– or perhaps if he started growing a beard the last time I used this gag.

Alex Anthopoulos showed up with Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette on MLB Network Radio yesterday for a quick segment, and– holy shit! They have the clip up on Soundcloud, so I can actually embed it– sort of like we’ve started doing with the DJF Podcast, which we totally might actually get around to doing again this week!

Have a listen– it’s action packed!

 

For those of you who aren’t able to listen, or who might be looking for some help in digesting what was said, here are the highlights…

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aaspeaking4

There was mostly a whole lot of nothing to digest from last night’s radio action featuring Alex Anthopoulos, which is pretty much exactly what we’ve come to expect from a GM who somehow manages to be both tight-lipped and overly loquacious. There are always at least a couple of nuggets to be mined from his comments, though, and while I tried to unpack them as best I could in the course of transcribing what he said, I think there are some worth a second thought…

Deals With Teams Waiting On Free Agents?

Perhaps most interestingly, we have Alex’s statement about having deals setup that are contingent on whether the other team is able to land a free agent. Specifically, this:

I was just having a conversation with a team last night; they have some interest in our players, but they basically said the interest is predicated on whether they lose out on some free agents, and those free agents are going to take a little bit of time.

As I noted in the original post, during his hit on TSN Radio, he made it even more like discussions are quite far along– as though he could act on such deals just as soon as the dominoes fall.

So… um… what are the dominoes?

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aaspeaking4

Alex Anthopoulos showed up on the Fan 590′s Prime Time Sports this afternoon (audio here), as well as on TSN 1050′s TSN Drive (though I’ll be citing the Sportsnet interview in this post, unless otherwise noted), and he offered up all kinds of interesting unicorn dust for the ol’ rumour mill, some of which actually sounded quite hopeful. Aaaaaand some of which that… well… didn’t so much.

At the very least it was intriguing, mostly because he offered a little more insight than usual into where the market is at and– at least as much as he is able to reveal– what his plans are. It’s a little disappointing, however, that despite his initial facade of insistence that they could involve any type of transaction, those plans would appear to revolve quite heavily around trades:

I would say that there’s a lot of variations to what we’d like to do, but there is definitely a short list of players that we’d like to get, and there are priorities; whether some are in trade, some are in free agency, those are the players we’d like to get– they’re the ones we’d like to acquire. And at the same time you have backup plans or other scenarios to protect yourself, but from our standpoint it’s a very focussed group, and a very focussed list, and some– I’d say actually a lot of them– are not out there in the media and not on the internet, and they’re harder to acquire, and the likelihood you acquire them is probably not high, but that’s what we’re trying to do. From there you have a backup list of free agency, and some other trade options that you still feel can make your club better. So, you really have to be flexible, and I think that’s why it’s so important to have the information of what the free agent market is doing, what the agents are going to ask for, where the dollars are going, and what other clubs needs are. Keeping your finger on the pulse at this time of year, I think, is very important.

Obviously we need to take anything that a GM says at this time of year with some giant grains of salt, but… if “a lot of them” aren’t in the media, and the contingencies are “other” trades, my suspicion is that we’re probably not talking about free agents here.

This isn’t shocking, though. What he says here fits quite entirely with everything we’ve ever heard about how the Jays are approaching the winter. It’s just, unfortunately, it maybe doesn’t quite fit our fantasies, in which the club looks to spend first and trade on-field assets later.

That would be doubly unfortunate because it’s not like Anthopoulos doesn’t understand the preferred route.

“In a perfect scenario you’d rather sign a free agent, if you can find the right value, and keep the assets you have, rather than make the trade,” he explained. “So, I know that for some trades that we’re trying to make, we’re being slowed up by teams waiting on free agents.”

OK, but… Alex, are you waiting on any free agents that are slowing up your own trades that are contingent on them?

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mottolalizard

Alex Anthopoulos joined Bob McCown and Damien Cox yesterday evening on Prime Time Sports on the Fan 590 (audio here), to speak about the state of his club, the firing of his hitting coach, and– apparently– to spread the gospel of OPS, pitcher wins, batting average, and All-Star appearances.

Not that there’s anything wrong with a team or players excelling at those things, it’s just… elevate the conversation, Alex. Or, at the very least, if you have a bunch of proprietary analytics that you’re using, go ahead and mention that! Please! We’re starting to worry!

Anywho… obviously the topic du jour was the topic of the day, and on Tuesday that was the changes to the coaching staff, with Dwayne Murphy retiring and Chad Mottola being shown the door– or at least the door to the big league club’s dressing room.

Anthopoulos didn’t shy away from answering questions about it, though he was typically short on specifics:

Once Gibby and I talked about it, we just said, ‘You know what? We viewed them as a tandem, and this is a chance to change it up and go in some other direction.’ And Gibby has some guys that he’s worked with in the past, that he has good and strong relationships with. So, it was as much that. But, you know, I’ve talked to Chad, and I’ve told him that the door’s open to stay in the organization, and we can talk, and for him to take a few days and decide what he wants to do. I expect him to get a lot of phone calls; a lot of job offers. He’s well regarded– there’s not going to be an issue with him finding a job– and whether one of another 29 clubs has a big league opportunity, that remains to be seen. But there’s still a scenario that he’ll be back with us, and we’ll just give him as much time as he needs to work it out.

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