Monday, 19 September 2011

He's Smarter Than You

And don't you forget it.

Hot off the presses today (well, yesterday by the time I get this posted) comes a story by John Tomase of the Boston Herald about Alex Anthopoulos and his philosophy of team building with some remarkable quotes from AA which are sure to spark a lot of discussion among rosterbating fans pining away to see Rogers' cash dispersed liberally on the Free Agent market.

It was only a few days before when local writer Jeff Blair kindle the fire when he stated (without a supporting quote) that Paul Beeston would not sign off on a contract longer than five years, now AA seems to add more fuel to the flame with comments which can't be music to the ears of those penciling Fielder or Pujols (and every once in a while both!) into the Blue Jays 2012 lineup.

Here's the direct quote:

I think we’ve had a lot of really good players here,” Anthopoulos said. “Obviously it’s hard to get the great ones, especially in free agency. One, they don’t get to free agency. Two, you normally pay them more years and more dollars than you have to. And three, you’re getting them — not at the end of their careers — but a little bit older. It’s what we need to do with the division we’re in and the parameters we have to work with.

If I was the GM of some other team in some other division, everything would be different. Everything we do is tailored to the parameters of Toronto, Rogers (Centre), Canada, AL East, Boston, New York, Tampa, Baltimore. Put it all in a pot and say, ‘OK, what’s the best game plan?’ ”
The trade route where we are right now is important for us,” Anthopoulos said. “It’s going to be a big part of what we’re doing and it is. Free agency is the last route we want to go. At some point we’ll have to start delving into it a little more, but I still want to try to avoid it at all costs. If we try to do this through the draft, it’s going to be a while. And it’s not going to work and we’re not going to get it to time properly.”
How much clearer does he need to make it? Don't get me wrong, would I love to see Pujols play out a Hall-of-Fame career in a Jays uniform? Heck yes. And I'm not worried about the price. But given these comments, it's hard to see AA getting in on any premium FA with the possible exception of Darvish who's obviously not your conventional situation. And even that is possibly a long shot.

So I, for one, am going to quit entertaining that kind of speculation. If he wants to surprise me I'll enjoy it but until then, I'm going with the assumption that any FA signing would be something similar to the signings of Rauch and Dotel last winter and any premium acquisition will come, as he indicates, via trade. And I'm ok with that. I admit it's kind of irrational, but I really had rather slay the dragons with guys who feel like “real” Blue Jays – the ones who we're acquired with genius, and not just cash – than to have to concede a big portion of the credit to some FA import.

So, in solidarity with his comment, let me suggest who thoughts regarding potential deals which are in the forefront of my off-season daydreams:

  1. Joey Votto/Yonder Alonso – Votto is THE answer, trade wise, to the Pujols/Fielder meme. He's also not necessarily available and will be very expensive if he can be had. Still, with the Reds sitting on a premium 1B prospect, looking at the potential that Votto would leave via FA in two years (or require a mega-deal) and calculating that there's much more value in dealing him with two years of control rather than one, I certainly think it's possible. And one doesn't need to go even that deep in calculating why the Blue Jays would covet a premium talent who's a native of the area. On the other hand, if the Reds insist on trying to keep Votto for years to come, then it's time they faced the reality that Alonso is no outfielder (let alone a 3B). The jays would certainly have to be interested in a premium prospect who fell more in the age range of the other young core players they have assembled. He'd also come considerably cheaper.
  2. Gordon Beckham - This one falls much more in the area of reclamation projects, and only really makes sense if the ChiSox are at the end of their patience with the young 2B. It would be a gamble, for sure, but AA is known to like the guy a lot and I'm kind of the opinion that it's better ultimately to try to get him back on an upward path than to hope and pray Johnson or Hill can put together a good year.
I'm sure I could scrounge up some other intriguing possibilities – the biggest argument against these two is they make so much sense that AA will probably be doing something else entirely – but as much as I'm sure at some point we'll have to give up a prospect I really love, I still like the trade plan myself, much more so that the idea of throwing big cash at free agents. Over the entire history of the Jays, the number of premium free agent signings I have swooned over has been very very small. I haven't found a reason to change that preference.


gabriel said...

The difficulty I have with Alonso is that he isn't clearly a big upgrade on Lind. I took a look at Lind's numbers today, and his batted ball profile looks pretty decent this year, but his Babip is down around .270; if we normalize to his career .300 babip his line would look .290/.330/.490 which is pretty decent (and about what Zips projects for him going forward). A Pujols or a Fielder is a clear upgrade; Alonso is only much of an upgrade in an optimistic scenario.

jerkstore said...

Kevin Goldstein (I heard via jonah keri's podcast) referred to alonso as "just a guy". not sure what that it's worth, but it is probably worth something.

The Southpaw said...

Well I don't want no "just a guy" - we've got that already. At worst, Loewen and Cooper are "just guys"

But if dude is really so low ceiling, why does anyone ever even tolerate the notion that the Reds need to make room for him? no one is saying the jays need to make room for Cooper.

jerkstore said...

not sure what is going on in reds land. But the jays have decent options at DH/1B/LF. So whoever has to provide an upgrade on Lind/EE/Snider/Thames.

Free agency is not a great way to build a team, but it is a great way to make a leap forward while hanging onto your future.

Prince fielder will not be worth 20M$/Year for the 7 or 8 years. however if the jays are in the playoffs a few times because of the contract, is it not worth it? I don't think you can look at contracts in a void. IE the yankees won the world series in part because of the strong pitching of AJ burnett. So the burnett contract was probably a good one.

mathesond said...

I'm interested in seeing if AA can pry any front-line starters away from their teams. Clayton Kershaw would make a fantastic addition to the rotation, but at what cost?

Keith72 said...

2 words: Logan Morrison
He fits into the high ceiling, team down on him profile that AA has gone after so far. He was a Keith Law top 25 prospect in A ball in 2009. Put him at first. Likely it takes Lind as part of the package to get him. And Lind's club friendly low cost contract is just what the Marlins require. You then drop EE further in the order (#7) and we are just fine. #5 - Lawrie #6 - Snider

Now on the topic of what AA says about free agency. Why would any GM not use all of the tools available to them? the tools that GM's have to improve their team are clear: Draft, Trade, Free agency and improve the management and scouting. His statements are like a carpenter saying I don't like a planner so I'm staying away from them. Well this only succeeds in keeping customers who need this type of work away! Although this could just be due to him planning on doing the exact opposite of what he saying......

I'm not convinced that the BABIP is a god reflection of what is going on here. Hill set the all time low record for BABIP in 2010 and that was all anyone who believed in sabermetrics could talk about. Well he certainly proceeded to have a "banner" year this year, with a low BABIP! Lind as the clean up hitter does not give you the p[resence you need hitting behind Bautista. The number of IBB's is evidence of that.

Mylegacy said...

Tammy - last night with Buck and Bucky AA said, "all four of those starters in AA are going to get a chance in 2012."

THAT - is the biggest revelation of all! Romero, Alvarez and McGowan (IF his body is still in one piece and working) are shoo ins for the 12 rotation. Morrow nearly so with Villaneuva, Cecil and Drabek the most likely of the near at hand. However, if you HONESTLY give McGuire and Jenkins the two older college guys and Hutchison and Molina the two mercurial kiddies a REAL shot at it - WOW. I can't wait for spring!

Just knowing that at least two of those guys might be in the 2012 rotation AT SOME time next year is very exciting!

As to a trade - I kinda like Votto - BUT - I trust AA's 2 thousand scouts scouring the world for shiny trinkets. This off season should be interesting too!

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