Jays GM Alex Anthopolous joined Jeff Blair on the air this morning, responding to various queries from the emeritus Jays beat dude. Seeing how I'm sitting here and you're sitting there, I thought I'd provide a
Let's do it. These are paraphrased with my own 2 cents peppered in wherever I see fit.
Blair: How much longer can the DFA All Stars play before the natives move from "restless" to "elsewhere?"
"That's fair (Ed: the discontent.) A lot of games have been tough to watch, making some errors and doing some things. It's one of those things...It's easy to say we're going to bring them up (Ed: the kids) and let them struggle but sometimes they're not ready, even to struggle."
Alex Anthopolous answers questions without answering questions via the age-old skill of talking in circles. It's good that he gets it but doesn't seem too interested in straying from The Plan. He goes on to mention that Rivera's playing better though losing Lind was tough.
The bullpen isn't as bad as it seems, AA (rightfully) claims. Then he comes with a little Real Talk on a Friday.
When it seems to happen to you, you feel like it's worse than any other place.Agreed. It always seems worse when you're in it.
AA then says something interesting which I'll come back to later.
We're hoping to get these kids up here and here to stay. Hopefully sooner rather than later but we want to make sure we time it right.Hmmm. AA spoke of Lawrie's mandate to improve his walk/strikeout ratio as the team knew his high batting average wasn't sustainable (swoon!)
Getting technical with prospects - more than just the slash line.
The team sent Mike Mordecai to work with Lawrie and some of the other guys, says Lawrie is getting better at third base.
The team feels like in the minors, they can "work on things, work on technique but it isn't life and death if you make a mistake." Less attention gives more space for growing pains. The atmosphere in the minors is such that the wins don't matter. Anthopolous refers to the development of Kyle Drabek.
We can force Kyle Drabek to work on his changeup in New Hampshire, even if he gave up a home run every time we can tell him it's okay. We need you to work on it and make it a better pitch...We want them to work on the process so that we when they get up here they can worry about the results.The last line is the money quote for me. Plan the parade.
AA claims FF is "Showing good arm strength, good stuff, plus curveball at times, plus split, plus velocity. Missed the first month so he's just getting it going." I tend to agree, though if he's not ready, why run him out in the 9th inning?
When asked who will assume the role, AA suggests Rauch pitched well as a closer last year but FF has bigger stuff, making him a better option.
The bullpen on the whole? "We'll have bad stretches, it happens over six months." AA points out that, why the bullpen's gagged up some leads, the 'pen still ranks well against the rest of the American League.
On Super Two status: Anthopoulos has "no issue" with the Super Two designation going away, as anyone who runs a baseball team would feel. He claims it "takes away from what we're trying to do as a brand." NO HUSTLE OR HEART IN MANIPULATING SERVICE TIME.
Then comes the big takeaway: Over 80% of arb eligible players use an option. They almost always go down. Snider, Cecil, Wells, all used options. You'd love for guys to come up and stay up but, odds are, they're getting optioned at least once. Once they go down Service time goes right out the window, according to the braintrust.
Anthopolous cites JPA and Kyle Drabek as proof the Jays don't tinker or concern themselves with service time. AA states Super Two only really impacts a team if he becomes a superstar. Great problem to have.
I don't disagree with AA's statements here but doesn't it completely undercut the earlier soft sell re: coming up and staying up? I worry a little bit about peddling a future you know you cannot provide. They all go down and take their lumps.
Finally, on trades.
It is far too early in the season to get people to be motivated to do things. After the draft it will kick into high gear. Teams are just too leary of doing something too early/waving the white flag. They're always active and seeing who is out there.
Jose Reyes? Read that, heard about it. Can't talk about it. Any rumour - we're almost always linked to any player. 90% of things he read were bunk, you almost have to roll your eyes.
Telling stuff when Blair asked him directly about Jose Reyes. "We have a great shortstop - ready to be an all star and two more years of control. We have areas on this club we need to improve, shortstop is not one of them."
Again, can't say I disagree. Thoughts?