Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Alex Anthopolous Game Plan

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Alex Anthopoulos has a plan for the Toronto Blue Jays. The problem is that he can't reveal the full details just quite yet.

He's been in the midst of attempting to rebuild this team, solidifying the coaching staff last week and now the next thing on Anthopoulos' agenda is the players.

Last week on Primetime Sports, Paul Beeston assured us that fans would have a better idea of what kind of expectations when it comes to total payroll by the end of this week. It looks like he and AA just might deliver in time before next week's General Manger's meetings.

Anthopolous dropped a few sound bytes about particular free agents and whether or not they would return next year. John McDonald, Rod Barajas and Marco Scutaro were names that he mentioned and could not say whether or not they would be back next year.

My suspicion is that at least two out of those three players will leave via free agency, with Johnny Mac almost certainly out the door. It simply doesn't make sense to pay John McDonald over $2 million dollars a year to play 30 games at shortstop

Of course the giant, glaring elephant in the room that Alex Anthopolous needs to address is what to do with Roy Halladay. Whatever happens with this team in the next 3-5 years basically hinges on whether or not Doc is traded this off season.

The longer that time goes on and the more and more that Roy Halladay sees his former teammate A.J. Burnett pitching in the World Series, perhaps he's developing a little bit of resentment towards the organization that has failed to make the playoffs the past sixteen years.

Not only would Halladay be looking for a winning team, but he could very easily find a suitor that would be willing to pay top dollar for him. Regardless of whether the Phillies win the World Series, many teams have seem the impact that adding an ace like Cliff Lee to the pitching staff can do to solidify themselves as a contender.

Teams like the Dodgers and Angels will be looking for that added insurance to get them over the hump, and Roy Halladay could be that player who gets them over the edge.

We will have to wait and see if that happens under the watch of Alex Anthopoulos, or if Doc just walks away via free agency at the end of 2010. Either way, the gears of change are in motion and things in Toronto are going to look a lot different next year.

9 comments:

  1. Given the title of the Blog, I was hoping for more insight on the direction of this franchise. That being said here are some ideas of what the team could do:

    1) If you are going to keep Halladay this year, go out and try to get Hanley Ramirez from the Marlins, offer Snider, Romero and Purcey. Having Hanley, Hill and Lind as the 2 through 4 hitters in the line-up would be huge. Also, this would mean that Hanley won't be on the Red Sox.

    2) If Halladay is leaving at the end of his contract, the best option is to trade him now. This may not necessarily mean that the Jays would go into total rebuilding mode as they could obtain players that can help now, or prospects 'about to break out', or they could acquire prospects who they could then trade for pitching help that will be with the team longer than just 2010.

    3. Do not resign any of MacDonald, Scutaro or Barajas. While each player does have their benefits, Scutaro will not return the value for what you would have to pay him, as he is coming off a career year at the age of 34, Barajas had and OBP that was among the worst in baseball, and MacDonald, other than being a fan favourite offers little.

    4. Take a look at potential non-tender players and see if you can get them cheaply prior to being available on the open market. I'd be looking at Jeremy Hermidia, JJ Hardy, and Kelly Shoppach. Yes they most likely will be paid more than their worth, however the risk vs. reward is worth is, as you are not tied to them long term and worse case scenario is that you've acquired an asset that you could deal at the deadline, and most likely for more than what it cost you to get these players.

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  2. Peter, when it comes to the direction of this franchise ... your guess is as good as mine. What with the changing of the guard, hese past few months have been some of the most confusing in recent memory. It's really difficult to see where the Blue Jays are trying to position themselves in the next five years.

    To comment on some of your proposals:

    1.) It would be sick to have Hanley Ramirez on this team, but I don't think the Marlins would trade him for anybody (save maybe Albert Pujols).

    2.) I'm with you on this one - I am going to hate to see Doc go, but he's going to walk at the end of 2010 anyway. Trade him to the Dodgers or Angels and load up on prospects and a couple of players with some big league experience.

    3.) Unless the Jays get active in the trade market, they just might have to re-sign Scutaro or Barajas. Johnny Mac is expendable, but unless AA goes out and gets J.J. Hardy or Chris Snyder, Scutaro and Barajas might be their only options.

    4.) If Scutaro hits arbitration, he is going to be awarded at least $6 million. So why not take a shot at J.J. Hardy for only $5 million?

    He would be under team control for 2010 and 2011, and if Hardy falls flat hopefully by that time one of the Jays prospects can come up and take over. I say let Scutaro walk and take the two draft picks, but ONLY if the Jays trade to get J.J. Hardy. Otherwise, sign Scutaro to a one year deal.

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  3. 1) Ian, it's only a matter of time before the Marlins deal Hanley, that is what they do before players become expensive. I won't be entire surprised to see him playing for the Red Sox in 10, as they also need a SS.

    That being said, rumours are that they will keep him for another year.

    2) My preference would be a deal to the following teams:
    a. Rangers, as they have a lot of prospects that I really like, including Smoak, Feliz, Borbon, and others.
    b. Giants, Baumgarner is the real deal, may be the next Roy Halladay, and Posey would certainly fill their whole at SS.
    c. Angels, Brandon Wood makes a lot of sence in Toronto, not sure I'm thrilled with anyone else though?
    d. Colorado, Halladays hometown, they have a surplus of quality OF's in Smith, Gonzalez, Fowler, and don't confuse Gustavo Chacin with Jouhlys Chacin
    e. White Sox, loaded with talent even if Gordon Beckham isn't available, they've got Daniel Hudson, Tyler Flowers,etc.

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  4. I'm not too sure where all this is going with AA either - I still find the whole "we'll announce a new Prez in due time" followed by "it's me" thing a bit weird and I keep thinking there is still a surprise behind door number 3.

    As for JMac, I'm not sure how good the other back-up options are, but it's worth pointing out that nobody thought his playing time would be as little as it was this year before Scutaro turned it on and Cito started finding ways to avoid using him as a defensive replacement.

    I think in a normal year (i.e. Scutaro plays at his average or we get a new SS), we get $2mil worth out of him, but whether that's what we want is another thing.

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  5. I don't think it's a smart idea for the Jays to be spending $2 million on defensive back-ups. I'm sure there are guys that could do an equivalent job for a lot less.

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  6. Peter, I'm sure the Red Sox would love to get their hands on Hanley once again - after all, they were the ones who traded him to Florida in the first place!

    QJays, I'd prefer the Jays spend the $2.5 to $3 million and re-sign Jose Bautista. His defense is less stellar than Johnny Mac's, but Bautista is more versatile and he also has a lot more pop in the bat than McDonald.

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  7. Whatever direction the Jays take I just hope it's a real stategy that will be followed through. A real direction/philosophy that will dictate their actions and be implemented for long enough to see results.

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  8. Yeah, I was going to mention JBau, and how before last year he seemed like a waste of money. Anyway, my impression is that those 2 are not either/or - JMac is middle infield, JBau is corners and OF. After this past year, I'd definitely be fine with re-signing JBau. What I meant about JMac is that I agree he's not an obvious re-sign, but I don't see that similar money is going to give you a better middle infield back-up, and his lack of use this year was a bit of an anomaly. He has exceeded 200 PA in the previous 3 years and was playing more than half the time in 2007 -- and you want to feel comfortable with that being a possibility with whoever you choose for next year.

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  9. Mattt, I'm sure AA has a vision for this team but his hands might be tied in 2010. Cito is still around and they might not get the payroll that they're hoping. We might have to wait until 2010 before the REAL vision of this club starts to take shape.

    QJays, I agree with you on the Johnny Mac front. He would probably play more games as SS this coming year because Scutaro (if still around) would likely play less than 2009. They would be better served getting a SS who can provide more offense, even if their defense isn't as sparkling as Johnny Mac's.

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