Caught up with Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos tonight as he was making his way back from Toronto Pearson, following a trip to Arizona for the MLB owners’ mettings. AA returned from his honeymoon in Hawaii on Tuesday, flew to meetings on Wednesday and back to Toronto tonight.
And he sounded tired.
“You’re not going straight to the office are you?” I asked him.
“No,” he replied with an exhausted laugh. “I’m going home. But I’ll be at the office early in the morning.”
While on his honeymoon, Anthopoulos said he was still keeping in touch with a handful of other GMs. “I probably talked to six GMs while I was there,” he said. AA added that he was working on three separate trades, but they just didn’t come to fruition.
I’ve got to say, Anthopoulos must have a very understanding wife. When I finally take my wife to Hawaii, I’m pretty sure my Blackberry will wind up in the Pacific Ocean if I’m on it during our vacation.
I just read this paragraph to her, and she nodded and said, “Basically.”
JAYS TO SCOUT SHEETS: Anthopoulos noted that he’s always looking for rotation help, especially considering the youth and inexperienced of his projected starting staff. AA confirmed that the Jays will have someone in attendance on Tuesday, when Ben Sheets will throw for interested teams.
“We’re going to take a look at him,” Anthopoulos said. “It’s like what I’ve talked about before — no stone unturned. It’s the same reason why we’re watched other guys work out. … We’re not doing out job if we don’t at least take a look. Things change. Trades occur. Someone might surprise us. It doesn’t do us any harm to do our homework on all these players and to be really prepared if an opportunity presents itself.”
This also explains why reports surfaced that the Blue Jays had watched Carlos Delgado playing in the Puerto Rican winter league. Delgado isn’t a fit for the Jays right now, but Anthopoulos has majorly upgraded his scouting staff and he’s making sure he’s exploring as many avenues as possible.
NEW ARBITRATION POLICY: One thing that former Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi was known for was his streak of avoiding arbitration hearings with his players. Anthopoulos hopes to do the same, if possible, but he has altered the organizations approach to the arbitration process slightly, hoping to create earlier negotiations.
The deadline for arb-eligible players and teams to exchange salary figures is Tuesday. Anthopoulos has implemented a “file to go strategy.” If the club has not reached an agreement with its arb-eligible players between now and Tuesday, they will go to an arbitration hearing rather than continue negotiations.
“I made a change this year,” Anthopoulos said. “The thought was really it’s hopefully to encourage more dialogue in negotiations with the goal of continuing to avoid arbitration and continuing to try to get deals done and maybe bring both parties to the table a little bit sooner.”
Arbitration-eligible players from the Jays who remain unsigned include Shaun Marcum, Brian Tallet, Jason Frasor, Casey Janssen, Jeremy Accardo and Shawn Camp. Jose Bautista and Dustin McGowan have signed, Brandon League was traded and Raul Chavez declined arbitration and signed a Minor League deal.