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?