Vernon Wells Backs Young, Respects Alex Anthopoulos
By Mat Germain
For the first time in a while, a post about Michael Young‘s situation in Texas won’t be focused on where he winds up. Instead, it will be about how Vernon Wells spoke up for him, and how he directly boost the reputation of Alex Anthopoulos and the Jays while doing so.
Vernon, a long time friend of Young’s, spoke at length about how the situation has developed in Texas and how it has been handled overall. It’s funny in some ways that many people had picked Texas as the best landing spot for Wells because of Young’s presence on the team and due to their homes being near by. Instead, both are speaking against the organization and how it treats its players. That’s a huge sign to other players that says “maybe I should consider other destinations”, a sign that Cliff Lee saw well ahead of time.
The quotable portions from Wells are as follows, for those who missed it (quotes obtained from the Los Angeles Times article written by Mike Giovanna, available here):
"“It’s been handled poorly on their end, I’ll say that,” Wells said of the Rangers. “Of course, I dealt with it in a completely different way. I dealt with it in-house, which was the right way to do things. He’s having to deal with it, unfortunately, publicly. It creates all kinds of problems.”“It just gives me a greater respect for the way Alex [Anthopoulos, Toronto general manager] handled this trade and the way Tony [Reagins, Angels GM] handled it. They kept it in-house. Even if it didn’t happen, no one would have heard about it. It’s one of those situations where it’s our business.”"
Of course, the news for the Los Angeles side of the Young situation is focused on Young landing there. But, for Jays fans, this has an entirely different meaning altogether.
Everything Alex Anthopoulos has touched thus far, he has touched with class. It started with paying his scouts more than they had been paid, and providing them with work areas that allowed them more home time that they could spend with their families. It continued through how they approached international free agents like Adonis Cardona, who stated that the respect shown to him and his family was a big reason for his signing with Toronto. And, it continues in everything else Anthopoulos has done, including any trade talks or free agent dealings.
Vernon also mentions in the same conversation that he was able to be honest in his conversations with Anthopoulos because he trusted him to keep things in-house. The mutual respect that this created was critical to getting the Wells to the Angels deal done, and something that doesn’t go unnoticed amongst the players in MLB. Believe me, they may be after the money in many cases and can sometimes be 100% focused on attaining the highest level, but respect and honesty go a long way as well, as we’re currently observing in Texas.
The Texas dishonesty is debatable because none of us actually know what goes on behind closed doors. But, to players who are in MLB right now, watching what’s going on, you know they begin to wonder if the same could happen to them at some point with whatever team they’re playing for. After all, if it can happen to Michael Young, a star who bent over backwards and played hard every single day of countless long and gruelling Texas heat MLB seasons with the Rangers, why couldn’t it happen to them?
Well, for Jays players, after hearing and seeing what happened in the trade of Vernon Wells, they know without a doubt that it can’t happen to them. Alex Anthopoulos would not approach a deal in that manner, because his honesty and respect towards the players goes too deep to allow for that to occur. Can the same be said of many destinations out there? Not many that I can count, and very few that have received the support of a star with the respect of a Vernon Wells caliber player. You could even hear it in his voice, that he still held a high level of gratitude towards Alex for making things happen the way he did.
In future deals, some teams may ask their players “where could we look to trade you?” and they may be surprised by the answer. Toronto will begin to enter the frame of mind of many players as the reputation of Alex Anthopoulos continues to grow in Toronto, because these players now know the level of respect that the Jays organization uses when it deals with players AND their families. Attracting future free agents and allowing for non-trades to be avoided goes a long way to ensuring that the Jays will be able to make the appropriate acquisitions when required to make their best attempt at a championship run.
The roots that Alex Anthopoulos is growing deep are stretching across the MLB landscape and are earning the credit of some of its most prominent and most respected players. If he continues to build onto the roots of his enhanced reputation, and the reputation of the Jays as a whole, there is no doubt in my mind that Toronto will begin to be a top-requested destination for a surprising number of free agents in the near future.
If nothing else, Jays fans can rest assured that their organization is now leading the ranks of the respected organizations in MLB, something that may have been lacking in years past. Even if it doesn’t add players to the organization, it should at a minimum result in the retention of many, such as has recently happened with Jose Bautista and Ricky Romero. It will play a huge part in future negotiation with players like Travis Snider and Brandon Morrow, and it should allow for easier negotiations to take place since both sides will no that honesty and respect will play a key role.
That’s what respect and honest can earn you, talent, and lots of it.
Enhancing the chances of retaining players as talented as these is no small feat. So, if something as easy and positive to use as honesty and respect can help get a deal done, it should be an automatic. Sadly for Rangers and Michael Young fans, such is not the case. It remains a major weapon being enhanced in the arsenal of Alex Anthopoulos and the Jays, and something that the Rangers will now have to earn from scratch. With other recent events, such as the Yankees dealing with Derek Jeter, indicating that the Rangers are not alone in the “lacking respect” category, the Jays continue to make strides to become one of the more respected organizations in MLB.
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