Aug 11, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie (13) rests on second base while wearing a red jersey on Canada baseball day against the Oakland Athletics at Rogers Centre. The Athletics beat the Blue Jays 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Anthopoulos and Blue Jays Face Uphill Climb To Spring Training

In scouring through the latest pieces from The Star’s Brendan Kennedy and Richard Griffin, there is are consistent items that are perpetrated throughout each piece.

1.) Alex Anthopoulos and the Blue Jays are still looking to add pitching to the 2014 team.

2.) They have no idea where that piece will come from or who it will be.

For his part, Anthopoulos continues to bounce between whether or not he is looking for that answer on the trade market or whether he’s willing to pay the outrageous fees on the free agent market. Both directions are not particularly appealing to the team, as both would involve concessions on the part of Anthopoulos and the Blue Jays.

If the Blue Jays want to sign a top tier pitcher in the open market, let’s say an Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez, or Matt Garza, or even if the team is honest in its pursuit of Japanese hurler Masahiro Tanaka, that would involve a drastic change in club philosophy in regards to long-term deals and high-dollar contracts for pitchers. Given the amount of teams waiting on these players to move (thank you Mr. Tanaka for the market delay), the competition will be swift and decided. Top dollars win, and the Blue Jays haven’t shown they are willing to hit the market with top dollars in the past.

On the other side of the coin, the trade market is equally as prohibitive.

As Mr. Griffin details, Anthopoulos has lost the art of surprise with his fellow general managers, mainly because of the way he’s dealt with them in the past. He’s spent far too much time hoarding information rather than actual dealing, putting off other teams while trying to put himself into a stronger trade position. Rather than continue to be a pawn in his moves, other GM’s are apparently shutting him out.

That was evident in the trade that sent Doug Fister to the Nationals for what appeared to be a pittance. The Blue Jays could have easily been major players in such a deal, and Fister would have made a remarkable addition to this rotation. However, Anthopoulos was never even considered and was caught off guard by the move, something he has rarely been on the receiving end of.

Of course, it could also be leading to the exorbitant demands that he is facing from those that are taking his calls. Theo Epstein was more than willing to listen on Jeff Samardzija, as long as any offer included BOTH Aaron Sanchez AND Marcus Stroman…to start. The same is likely true when considering David Price, Homer Bailey, or any other rumored pitcher on the trade market this winter.

Now, as the year turns away from the disappointment of 2013, we stare headlong into the uncertainty of 2014. Anthopoulos comes off as either confused or non-committal as to what to do to address his needs. He waivers from one side of the other, perhaps trying to bluff his opponents, but more likely hamstrung by the cost of doing business this winter has grown beyond his comfort zone. He is still trying to cling to the shadows despite knowing that the spotlight has been thrown upon him.

Will a move be made? Which direction will it come from? Is the window of contention even open at this point?

There is a lot of uncertainty for the Blue Jays as the calendar changes to 2014. Perhaps we will all just resolve to wait and see what happens.

Maybe the Blue Jays are just resolved to get another look at Todd Redmond, Drew Hutchison, Kyle Drabek, and Sean Nolin.

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  • bob l.

    with his rather unimpressive track record in trades, one would think most gm’s would be frothing at the mouth at the thought of dealing with aa rather than blowing him off. as far as pitching goes i think they must go all in on tanaka. if not tanaka then mcgowan or hutchison seems to be the best “in house” options.

    • RyanMueller

      I agree, I think that AA has been very fair with many of his trades, maybe even over paying with prospects. None of the prospects that he has traded away have come back to bite him in the butt…yet. Tim Collins would look really nice in our pen, but we seem to be doing alright in that respect. The only other guys that has reached the majors in Pastorniky and Travis D’Arnuad. Many freaked out that AA trade Molina for Santos, but right now it looks like it was a good move. I guess what I am saying is when you’re dealing with prospects there is no sure thing.

      • jays4life77

        The one prospect that i really think AA is going to regret that i s going to come back to haunt us is Jake Marisnick…he made the majors last year with the marlins and maybe didnt impress with the bat during his stint but i think he is going to blossom in to a star. This kid has all the tools that make scouts drool and was always referred to as an elite prospect.

        • RyanMueller

          I also really liked Jacob and was very upset that AA included him in the Miami trade. He appears to have all the tools just like many other prospect before him. When he was with us I prayed he wouldn’t turn out to be a Gabe Gross or Travis Snider, now that he is with another team, I hope he does.

  • RyanMueller

    I am actually okay with going into the season with the guys we have. I don’t expect much from Drabek, but I am hopeful that Happ can pitch like he was before the hit in the head, Morrow will give you his inconsistent 100-150 innings, but maybe he won’t. With any luck Romero will get his act together enough to make 20-25 starts, and if he finished with a .500 record with 12-15 quality start, that is good enough for me. We may have a couple surprises with Hutch, Nolin, Stroman, and maybe even a free agent signing….but please don’t trade away anymore prospects to try and fix this team.

  • BlueJayMatt

    Is there any chance of signing Jiminez and Santana?

    My guess is they would both take something like 4 years $12 – $14M per year, pretty close to the total dollars that Tanaka will get. You only pay draft picks compensation of losing 2nd and 3rd rounders and you get those picks back in 4 years (assuming QO), even improving the pick position so that’s a wash. No other team would have that advantage and it means that if you sign one then the next becomes much more attractive.

    You can then trade away Janssen and Happ to get 2B help and save their salaries of $9M in 2014

    • RyanMueller

      I like your reasoning for signing both pitchers, but you have a flaw you janssen and happ for a 2nd baseman trade. In a trade for a 2nd baseman, what would he be making??? Since the 2nd baseman you are trading for is not going to be volunteering and isn’t going to be making the league minimum, I am assuming that we will be getting a guy makings equal to or more than the total salaries given to janssen and happ. With that said it isn’t my money and Rogers should do what needs to be done to field a competitive team.

      • BlueJayMatt

        I was thinking of trading with Seattle for Dustin Ackley plus more. Maybe getting Justin Smoak in the deal – you get both those guys for league minimum basically (plus you have to pay $1.2M as part of Ackley’s signing bonus).

        I’m not sure about Smoak, just trying to get balance to the deal but give Seattle something they want – a closer plus some pitching depth.

        • jays4life77

          I like both Ackley and Smoak but i dont think Seattle does this trade. If and it is a big if but if Ackley figures it out he could be a special player and well i guess you could say the same for Smoak. Perhaps a change of scenery does the trick but for the jays you are banking that you can straighten both players out or else you get rid of an elite closer for nothing. I would also think in acquiring smaok means the end to Lind as a jay so you now need a trading partner for him.

          • RyanMueller

            I would be happy with that trade. I think that Smoak’s power would play well in the dome, and Ackley will still turn the corner. Not sure what else we would have to include in this deal…don’t think that 2 RP for a potential power hitting 1st baseman and former 1st rounder would be near enough.

  • Gary Kimbrel

    Kyle Lohse. Consistent, experienced, good contract, likely lower asking price. High pitching intelligence, command based, would be able to adapt to the division. Like bringing in another Buehrle, at a price lower than what they’re asking for Samardzija. Bring on the stability.

    Relievers for Ackley would be cool, if possible.