Friday, May 27, 2011

Alex Anthopolous on the Jeff Blair Show

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 pointless redundant valuable service and give you the highlights.

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.

Frank Francisco

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?


  1. I will gladly watch Enmacnixion at 3rd base for the rest of the year if 2012 Brett Lawrie can stay within the strike zone.

  2. Well said Mike. I think right now the argument most fans are making is that Lawrie may have flaws, but he's better than the combination we are running out to 3rd on a nightly basis. That argument misses the point which I think you made. AA is suggesting that they don't want to call Lawrie up until they believe he is really ready - regardless of how ugly things are on their MLB team at the time. Bringing him up too soon could lead to another Travis Snider, whose mechanics were find at AAA but were exposed in MLB. It's now 3 years later and he is still striving to reach his potential. I want to see Lawrie too, but need to have the patience to wait until he's fully ready.

  3. I love the vote of confidence for YEscobar. Of all the moves AA has pulled off so far, I think that trade is my favourite. Do people even realize that he's the best shortstop in the AL East right now, both offensively and defensively? It seems entirely possible/likely that will still be the case at the end of the season, too.

  4. I think the YEScobar trade was good, but we did give up Tim Collins and Tyler Pastornicky (along with a major league shortstop in AGon) for him and they are doing quite well. So I'm not sure it'll be a one sided trade when all is said and done.

  5. Doesn't need to be one-sided to be a good trade. If you can upgrade a premium position I don't think giving up a minor league reliever - no matter his ceiling - stops you.

  6. I think I still like the Morrow trade better, but YEscobar's acquisition is a close second. Drew's entirely right, and I'd way rather have to try and buy a relief pitcher on the free agent market than a star shortstop.

  7. We might not have a problem at SS but we sure as heck have a hole at 2b. Resigning / picking up the two 8mil options on Hill is a bad idea. Hech might be ok (hes GG in the field but cant hit) but is he ready for '12 or even the year after?

    We do want to sign Jose in the off season and slide Esco seamlessly over to 2b. The other reason we trade for Reeyes is if we're not going to sign him and get a first rounder ie hes type A status when he signs with another team

  8. *that is ofcourse if we can get him for B level prospects and cash thus the return from a first rounder is better overall then the projectability of the prospects we send to get him.

    Its a way of clearing some room and "redrafting" instead of holding onto hohum prospects we have. So it could be a slick move. Not unlike the Russel Martin move we seen AA make last year.

  9. What russel martin move did we "seen" AA make? Do you mean miguel olivo?

    There is a big difference between picking up a table scrap catcher who attains type B because he plays a position that has a weak ELIAS pool, and picking up an impact SS.

  10. Sorry I did mean Miguel Olivo, I rarely make those mistakes so my apologies.

    No i think the idea is still the same, pick up players with A or B status who other teams will sign taking the compensatory pick.

    If AA can snag somebody like Jose on the cheap for a package of fringe A / B level prospects and let him walk for a 30th (ish) pick then forsure you do it

  11. Why on earth would the Mets trade a talented, impact Shortstop who's sure to net compensation picks if he signs elsewhere in exchange for some fringe never-gonna-make-it minor leaguers?

    Also worth questioning is the value of these compensation picks we seem to be in the business of collecting. Sure it's nice to have some talent in the system, but let's look at the conditions required to make letting Scott Downs (for one particular example) go.

    We offer him arbitration, which he might refuse and another team might then sign him. After those conditions are met, we get a sandwich pick, which we use to select John Doe, a talented pitcher from Texas. Then we offer John a rookie contract, which he might agree to. Then, and the toughest to actually happens comes last, after we've done all of this, John might develop into as good a pitcher as Scott Downs over the span of a few years. Hopefully all of this happens as the Jays are competing and need a pitcher like Mr. Doe more than they needed Scott Downs now and in the next few years.

    I'm not saying I wouldn't have let Scott Downs go, but I wonder about this passionate love for compensation picks as though they're some Gold mine.


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