Posted by: Peter Houston | November 8, 2009

A-Train speaks

GM Alex Anthopolous held a conference call with reporters yesterday on the direction of the Blue Jays. The audio is available here. Anthopolous doesn’t make it very clear what the direction of the team is for 2010, but he does state that the team doesn’t have the pieces to be competitive yet and is “building” stage. He made it very clear the Jays are not “rebuilding” this year, but “building”. He reiterates that the Jays will NOT be building through free agency (thank god) and that there will be a bigger focus placed on scouting and player development and adding pieces through trades.

If the Jays don’t do some sort of building/rebuilding, whatever you want to call it, in 2010, it would be a mistake. They have some good young talent, but as Anthopolous says himself, there’s not enough. Since he made it clear they won’t be adding impact players through free agency (unless they are a very good team looking to add a couple small pieces to the puzzle), it looks like the Jays are in for another tough year. What Anthopolous made very clear is that he wants to add good, young, core pieces to this team. Which immediately brings up the question: Is Roy Halladay going to be the man traded for good, young, core pieces.

Anthopolous didn’t say much about Roy. Here’s his quote:

“That being said, I think I have to be open-minded to anything that can make this ballclub better going forward and better for the long-term. … Roy’s made it very clear that he wants to win, and we respect that and that’s why we love him. He’s as competitive as there is.

“He’s probably one of the greatest, if not the greatest, Blue Jay to ever put on a uniform here. But he wants to win, and … we were a 75-win team last year. We haven’t met his criteria for winning, and we certainly don’t fault him for that. We certainly want to win as well, and I think he stressed that his timeline for winning and ours may not mesh and may not match.”

Not really telling us anything we didn’t know. Anthopolous knows the Jays aren’t going to be in the 95+ win area they need to be to make the playoffs (his number) in the immidiate future, and that’s what Halladay wants. “Being open-minded to anything that can make this ballclub better going forward and better for the long-term” in my mind means Anthopolous knows letting Halladay walk after 2010 is not going to make the Jays better for the long-term. He’s going to be in open disucssions for trading Doc at the GMs meetings this week.

Since Anthopolous said he’s more inclined to add pieces through trades than free agency, it’s nice too see how active he’s been in discussions. He said he’s talked to every GM so far, except for the Yankees and Phillies.

“So far in the offseason, every player that has been talked about in a transaction, every trade that has been made, I’ve been aware of that player being available, in certain respects have been involved in those trade talks.”

Another encouraging thing Anthopolous said was that ownership didn’t set any specific payroll going into next year and is open to increasing it if the “right baseball opportunity presents itself”. This makes me confident that if the Jays become competitive, ownership is ready to step up with the cash to let them add that all important final piece. Anthopolous thinks that once the Jays become competitive, payroll with be “up there with the Anaheims, the Chicagos and even with the Bostons.”

So, Anthopolous didn’t really give us too much news. But I like what he’s thinking. Improve scouting, player development, build the team with young players and not through free agency. Unfortunately for Jays fans, that probably means a couple more seasons of “development” and “building” (read: not winning). The point is, there’s a plan.

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Responses

  1. First time visitor to your blog – good work.

    While I have some concerns about AA I’m impressed by his 24/7 work ethic and some of the people he’s gathering around him. Hope he knows WHICH ONES to listen to. Time will tell.


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