It seems fitting that I began posting about the Jays at the very same time the Jays changed direction in leadership, and in philosophy of what it would take to win in the AL East. There’s nothing I like more than what the “Drunk Jays Fans” crew would call “prospect porn” and to attempt to discern who will have an impact, when that will be, and to watch it all happen thereafter. Alex Anthopoulos took over at the helm and has begun a process that I’ve been screaming for the Jays to begin for at least 6 years. I remember hearing JP Ricciardi stating that he couldn’t compete in the AL east because he didn’t have enough money, and yet the Jays kept him on as GM. Why? So he could keep whining about not being able to grab the obvious guys? It seems like the Jays finally saw the light, and I’m truly glad they did when they promoted Alex Anthopoulos to be their new GM.
You see, Alex grew up in baseball the same way I did: watching the Expos blow all other teams out of the water when it comes to scouting and grabbing the right players in the draft or signing them. Pedro Martinez, Vladimir Guerrero, Grady Sizemore, Randy Johnson, Brandon Phillips, and Javier Vazquez are just a few of the names most of us know well that were drafted by the Montreal Expos. Other teams envied them for their effective scouting, so what is Alex’s first item of work as he takes over the GM position with the Jays? He expands the scouting department almost 2 fold and puts in a unique system that allows scouts more time to spend with specific players, and also gives them more time off to spend with their families. He is focusing on scouting, attempting to draw the best scouts in MLB by paying them well, and attempting to make them loyal by giving them as many perks as possible and making a job with the Blue Jays the absolute best scouting job out there. Will it work? Will it bring in more talent and a higher percentage of successes? I believe it will, so long as the information flows freely and that teams like the Red Sox and Yankees continue to spend freely on FAs, and little on scouting, preferring instead to go with the status quo. After all, they certainly didn’t change their habits when the Expos were pumping out prospects like no other franchise.
To see just how badly the Blue jays compare to other teams in terms of drafting, take a look at my Jays-Rays comparison in recent years. It’s very telling that the Jays have such a hard time finding talent past the 5th round of the draft. Along with the new expenditures on scouting, there are also reports that the Jays will spend up to 16 million in bonus or signing money in the next draft. I broke down exactly how that money may be spent and show how it isn’t that big a stretch within this post.
So, now that the scouting is getting a much needed makeover, and the Jays are going to spend what it takes to keep the talent they scout and identify, what comes next for Alex? Oh yeah, dealing the best Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher ever and one of the best in all of MLB, no big deal. Well, not only did he get that done, but he’s done it in less than 2 months and has done much more over that time. I summarized what he has accomplished, added, and subtracted over the last 2 months in a recent post on Blue Jays Daze. I have enjoyed Alex’s work so much to this point that I’ve dubbed him Alex “The Great” Anthopolous. I hope he continues on this path towards youth and excitement, because once they find a great core, the Jays will be a team to be reckoned with for years to come.