The honeymoon is over

WaterPhone.jpgCaught 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.

~JB

 

12 Comments

In The Toronto Star today is an article from Richard Griffin which gives one a good idea of the difficulties faced by Alex when he traded Doc. Griffin is not generally all that complimentary on Jays management, but this article shows Alex did a phenomenal job in getting what we got for Doc.

http://www.thestar.com/sports/baseball/mlb/bluejays/article/750973–griffin-jays-overcame-some-tough-odds

Here’s a review of the Jays top prospects from Baseball Prospectus.

Five-Star Prospects
1. Kyle Drabek, RHP
2. Brett Wallace, 1B
Three-Star Prospects
3. Travis d’Arnaud, C
4. Chad Jenkins, RHP
5. J.P. Arencibia, C
6. Zach Stewart, RHP
7. Carlos Perez, C
8. Jake Marisnick, OF
9. Henderson Alvarez, RHP
10. Tim Collins, LHP
Two-Star Prospects
11. Gustavo Pierre, SS

Four More:
12. Brian Dopirak, 1B: A former top Cub prospect, Dopirak fell off the map, but he?s slugged .549 since coming to Toronto and could have a career as a professional hitter.
13. Josh Roenicke, RHP: He?s a reliever who has outstanding velocity, but is still a prospect in his late 20s due to no dependable breaking ball.
14. Brad Mills, LHP: Mills is a pure finesse arm, but he?s so good at it that he could have big-league value.
15. David Cooper, 1B: Cooper is a 2008 first-rounder who flopped at Double-A. He needs to rebound or be quickly forgotten.

***Finally, some of these “raters” are starting to pick up on Dopirak and downgrade Cooper. I find its also interesting how highly Jenkins is rated in all the prospect lists without having thrown a pitch in pro ball yet. OF Jake Marisnick, is also a 2009 draftee who hasn’t played a game yet, so these two guys are surely ones to watch this year. Note, 5 of our top 6 came via trades, not the draft, and Carlos Perez came out of the DSL as a free agent signing. They had some nice things to say about Drabek which can be viewed here:
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=9935

I noticed on the MLB website that Zach Stewart isnt listed as a non Roster invitee to Spring training. In defference to the Baseball Prospectus rankings, how can you not invite one of your top pitching prospects to ML Camp when he spent half of last season in AAA and performed well???
Any insight here??

ntx2469-Not sure what list you’re referring to, but rest assured Stewart will be there. I’m sure the Jays want to see how he does against major league hitters.

As I said before, gsjays, if AA were to visit, I would hide the silver (and maybe the women). Your baseball prospectus post either shows what a masterful trader AA is, or what a pitiable state the farm system has fallen to. Hopefully the increased scouting will build up the system to the point that they can win more games than they lose.

All this potential is fine. However, my concern is Cito’s willingness to play the kids next year allowing then to exhibit and gain experience. Why is Lyle Overbay still on this team? Seriously? Why is Bautista on this team? Next year should be about playing the kids – period. The closer to the bottom of the league we finish – the better. I wonder what position Washington is going to be drafting from – again! We need to clear the decks of all deadwood, then allow the Dopriaks, Wallaces, Ruizs of the world to play. We do not need a platoon for Snider. We need the kid out there day in and day out. If for some reason a platoon becomes necessary, guys like Bautista can be found at 1/2 the price at any point during the season. I would like to hear more from Antho on WHAT HE IS GOING TO DO WITH THE RESOURCES HE HAS ACQUIRED. If he leaves them in the hands of Cito, it is going to be a long, long season, unless he forces Cito to play the kids and sit the veterans.

I have to agree with you burt, my only concern going into this season is Cito. It’s funny how quickly things change….when Cito stepped into the managers chair not that long ago, Jays fans were rejoicing from coast to coast, he was going to bring us back to respectability.
But, now with the youth movement and the obvious rebuilding, even though it still hasn’t been called that yet, I’m not sure that Cito is the right guy to be leading us. He has proven that his managerial skills are best suited for a team of veterans that just need to be shown some respect and patience, and they’ll step up for him. What we need now is a new voice to come in, one that is eager to work with the young guys and motivate them to step up and give it their best.
With only one year on Cito’s contract, I just can’t see him being all that concerned with what happens this year. Don’t get me wrong, Cito is a professional and will always have a place in all Jays fans hearts, but if you knew that nobody expected anything out of this season, and you also know that you have a job locked up with the franchise after this season….it will be pretty easy to sit back and let things play out.
I believe that a new leader to go along with these new young players is essential. Bring in a new guy, and let him grow with the players….let them all become champions together over the next few years. The way things are now, the rookies are going to spend a year learning how Cito likes things, then are going to have to spend another year learning to play with a new coach. I say, save a year of very important development, and bring in a new manager now. Let Cito move into his desk job and we’ll all be happy.

“Let Cito move into his desk job and we’ll all be happy.” You might consider rephrasing that to “I’ll” instead of “we’ll”, Cito is extremely well liked by a lot of Jays fans.

I never once said that I didn’t like Cito, he just isn’t the right fit for manager right now. I in fact said, “Cito is a professional and will always have a place in all Jays fans hearts”. I just don’t believe that place is managing this team anymore.

Didn’t say you didn’t like Cito, I said a lot of Jays fans do and therefore they think he’s the right guy. You don’t and that’s fine, everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

All I was trying to point out is, you shouldn’t assume everyone agrees with your opinion, which is what putting “we’ll all be happy” in your post assumes.

Ok, I’ll concede that one. I’ll be happy when he moves on to his desk job.

I dunno about desk job, djsm: I kind of like the job he has done with Adam Lind. Cito isn’t just about managing veterans; he’s a very good teacher as well. What I like about keeping Cito this year is the time it gives AA to find a replacement. So many times, the Jays have ditched their manager and had to scramble around to find the first available body to carry on. This way, AA can put a process in place to find the right guy to take the team forward for the next 4-5 years. I wouldn’t be surprised if they had to replace Leyva and Murphy as well at the end of the year.

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