Consider this your required listening for the week.
Consider this your required viewing for the week.
I have decided to include this blast from the past circa 2001 for your enjoyment.
Courtesy of Bobby Elliott:
The search for the next Blue Jays manager was exhaustive, thorough and involved as many as 25 employees.
Almost everyone but Rogers Centre ushers, who were not asked to look under the seats for potential candidates, helped in the search.
General manager Alex Anthopoulos began the process in the spring, accelerated it in September, began interviewing at the end of the season, cut the field to his finalists ...
Weighing the input of his staff of advisers and scouts, Anthopoulos brought three finalists in for one-on-ones with Paul Beeston in the presidential suite. And on Oct. 22, John Farrell accepted the job to manage the Jays.
A look behind the scenes at Anthopoulos’ most important challenge in the spring with 150 candidates, shrunk to 46 to 19 to five to four to one.
Bobby does another one of his time line pieces. Rock solid as usual. Sounds like lunchtime at Il Posto in Yorkville is a good place for the autograph seekers of the world to scope out.
Courtesy of Nick Cafardo:
But the more homers he hit, the more skeptical some became. Bautista was hurt by speculation that he might be using performance-enhancing drugs. He took his lumps as columnists raised the issue.
“Maybe I wasn’t loud enough about it, but it was disappointing to hear those things,’’ he said. “People say things and write things without proof.
“I’ve been tested since the minor leagues. I was tested five or six times this season. I did what I did with hard work and dedication to my hitting. I’ve worked hard my whole career to get to the point where I got last year. It didn’t happen overnight.
“It’s upsetting and disappointing that some people don’t think hard work and dedication allow you to have good results. It’s very unfair and it needs to stop, but it’s just something I’m going to have to deal with.’’
What is more remarkable is that Bautista played with the injury from late April.
“There was a two-week period when I first heard something pop that it really hurt,’’ he said. “It was annoying the rest of the time more than anything, but it was there.
“I can’t say that during that two-week period it prevented me from hitting more home runs, but it probably prevented me from getting my hits or extending a single into double or something like that. It was just one of those things that was there and I had to play with it and deal with it.’’
Strongest language I've heard come from J-Bau regarding the PED`s allegations.
Strongest language I've heard come from J-Bau regarding the PED`s allegations.
Courtesy of Klaw:
This piece on CNBC's website http://bit.ly/9qxAlT says that if the Yankees offer Cliff Lee 5 yrs at $120M Texas can offer 5 yrs at $111M and it would be the same net once NY taxes are accounted for. Do players and their agents pay attention to this?
Of course they do. It was an issue in Toronto because Canadian taxes are so high. (This was a chronic argument between me and Ricciardi; I argued it was strictly financial, but he said - I believe he said this publicly - that players didn't want to come play in Canada. I think one look around the streets of Toronto in the summer time would convince any player, especially a single player, that Toronto is an awesome place to play.)
Klaw answers some questions in his weekly chat. Perhaps now he can focus his hate on the New York Mess instead of us, but I doubt it.
Courtesy of Shi Davidi:
Snider has also embraced perhaps his most unusual quote, taken from a nachos taste test he performed for a Toronto community magazine in 2009. One of the plates sent his way featured both beef and chicken and he responded to a question about it by saying, "Meats don't clash."
While one enterprising blogger, The Blue Jay Hunter, began selling shirts featuring the quote and Snider caught some ribbing from his buddies back home, he's used the phrase a couple of times on his Twitter feed.
"I'm a big meat-lover, obviously," Sinder said. "Meat-lover's pizza, meat-lover's omelettes, those kinds of things, I do honestly believe that meats don't clash and when I saw that article ... and I got to show some of my buddies back home, they were like, 'You're ridiculous, what are people asking you about nachos for?'
"I said, 'I don't know man. You gave me the name Lunchbox and they've ran with it, we'll just see where it goes.'"
Nice to see Ian getting a much deserved shout out right there! His blog, The Blue Jay Hunter, is top notch.
Courtesy of Chris Toman:
"If it makes sense, and the value is there, we have full authority to be able to move forward," Anthopoulos, the Blue Jays' general manager, said recently, in reference to ownerships' willingness to increase payroll.
Anthopoulos will entertain the thought of dangling his young talent, who are contributing towards his goal of long-term sustainability, for players who can contribute immediately in a move to remain competitive.
"I'm not opposed at all to taking prospects and trading them for big-league players," Anthopoulos said.
It's a likely scenario given Toronto's strong farm system.
Trading prospects for MLB ready talent. Huh. That`s a new one. Maybe we are getting closer.....
Courtesy of TSN:
As part of the 14-man committee appointed and chaired by Selig to examine ways of improving the game, Beeston is in position to influence the process more than others.
Only when it comes to adding teams to the playoffs, it seems others have been working their influence over him.
"I'm not completely there yet," he said in an interview this week. "But I listen to all the arguments on both sides, I think you have to have an open mind about it. There are some compelling arguments in favour of expanding the playoffs and the ones against it go back to tradition.
"We as an industry are different from the other sport leagues and being different there's a sanctity to a schedule that lets the best teams proceed to the playoffs."
Nice to have a guy on the inside.
I say: take your time deciding on the potential extra playoff teams Mr. President but for fuck sakes can you please work on getting us a balanced schedule? If we didn`t have to face the Yankees, Red Sox and Tampa Bay for just about a third of our games each season, then perhaps we can get in under the current playoff structure.
Courtesy of TSN:
Alex Anthopoulos can pinpoint the exact moment his mindset as general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays changed. The instant when the "light bulb went off" came during a conversation with Cincinnati Reds GM Walt Jocketty during spring training in March.
Anthopoulos was digesting the decision to give Cuban shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria US$10 million over four years. Weeks earlier, Jocketty had outbid Anthopoulos for another Cuban, left-hander Aroldis Chapman, and praised him for accepting the risk in signing Hechavarria.
"He said, 'That's how you're going to get better, you're going to get better if you take a shot, you're going to have to take a shot at times,"' Anthopoulos recalled during a recent interview.
"I looked back at my off-season, trade talks, dialogue ... and I just found myself being so much more conservative than I needed to be or wanted to be."
The main takeaway for Anthopoulos as he heads into his second off-season as GM is that while risk shouldn't be embraced recklessly, it's OK to swing and miss once in a while if the potential reward is worthwhile.
Since he believes playing it safe won't help the Blue Jays overcome the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays, they must find other ways to close the gap in the American League East, and taking more calculated gambles is one way to accomplish that.
"If we're going to do what everyone else is going to do in this division, we have no chance of getting better," said Anthopoulos. "If it's the easy decision and everything lines up, the I's are dotted and T's are crossed, well everyone is going to look to do it and you're probably not going to be able to do what you want to do.
"We're going to have take chances at times and make moves that may open us for criticism, but we also have to look at the upside of the moves. They may backfire and may not work, but if they hit, we're going to do really well.
"And that's how we're going to get better."
Courtesy of Fan Graphs:
If the Jays offer arbitration and everybody declines – obviously the best case scenario – the Jays will come out of this with at least 5 supplemental draft pick and two second round picks. If Frasor and Downs were to go to a team with an unprotected pick – this year, the 19th pick, held by the Detroit Tigers, is the first unprotected pick – the Jays could pick up two more first rounders. In this ideal situation, the Jays could pick up an utterly massive haul, with eight picks in the top 50 of the draft. Said haul becomes even more impressive when we consider that the upcoming draft in 2011 is considered to be one of the deeper drafts of recent times, and far deeper than the 2010 draft.
If, however, the Jays do indeed on offering arbitration to these five relatively marginal players, there will be risk involved. As a whole, the five players had a salary of $13.15 million. Because of how arbitration works, it’s a near lock that every player would see a salary increase. Buck and Olivo are both coming off career years. Frasor put up a solid 3.68 ERA, and Gregg (3.51) and Downs (2.54) were even better. If the entire group accepted arbitration, I could see a total salary of $20 million to possibly $30 million, on top of the $1.25 million buyouts for Olivo and Gregg.
The difference is nearly equivalent to the potential value of the picks that the Jays would acquire. According to Victor Wang’s research from 2009, a first round draft pick is worth about $5.2 million, a supplemental pick worth $2.6M, and a second round compensatory pick (guaranteed to be in the top half of the 2nd round) worth $0.8M. Therefore, that the type Bs – Buck, Olivo, Gregg – would contribute $2.6M in value each (total $5.8M) and the type As could contribute either $7.8M or $3.4M (range of $6.8M to $15.6M, for a total range of $12.6M to $21.4M).
A lot of us, myself included, were wondering out loud about whether or not the $500K buy out for Olivo was to much to pay for a draft pick. As it turns out, it is not.
Courtesy of MILB:
"That's the key for me, that's the reason they sent me here," Rzepczynski said. "I need to get ahead and learn and work on my fastball command, throw my sinker in the zone and get quick outs."
The Jays also sent the former fifth-round pick to the AFL to get in some more innings after he broke a finger on his pitching hand during Spring Training. He began the year with Triple-A Las Vegas and made a dozen starts before going 4-4 with a 4.95 ERA in 12 outings for Toronto. Much of his success came in September, when he won three starts and compiled a 2.86 ERA.
"I got hurt, I missed about six weeks, and I had only 130 innings and they wanted me to get to 170 innings, so they're sending me here to get my innings up," he explained. "And working on throwing the fastball more for strikes, those are the two main things I'm trying to do."
The Jays hinted earlier this month that Rzepczynski's role may change next season, depending on how the roster fills out. With top prospect Kyle Drabek set to compete for a rotation spot, Toronto may look to use Rzepczynski out of the bullpen. He said he'd prefer to start but is open to whatever the organization has planned.
"They sent me here to start, so next year we'll see how Spring Training goes," he said. "If they put me in the bullpen, then they put me in the bullpen, but I'd like to start. They sent me here to be a starter, so I'm just working toward that for spring."
Rzep is a man among boys in the AFL. He is just there to get some innings in and tell some war stories.