Who’s the Boss? #NoTonyDanza
Happy black Friday to everyone south of the border, hopefully you or anyone you know has not been trampled at Walmart in a quest for a shiny new TV or Big Hugs Elmo. And since most of the readers here are Canadian like myself… it’s still good that it’s Friday right?
Anyway as the hot stove begins to heat up rumors about possible transactions are flying around faster and more furiously than Vin Diesel, most of these are generally stomped about before gaining any traction, (see Dominic brown for Jose Bautista) however some rumors seem to take on a life of their own.
Take for example the Jeff Samardzija situation. While there has long been minor rumblings of him being a potential target of Alex Anthopoulos and the Blue Jays, last weekend the situation went into overdrive with word being that Toronto was assembling a “package of young players” to send to the Cubs.
Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos is under quite the microscope this offseason. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
Some of these packages were calling for a starting point of Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman. For the purposes of this piece whether or not that would be a viable package for Samardzija is not going to be debated. The real question I’m curious about is how willing is AA to empty the prospect cupboard bare for a win now deal such as bringing in Samardzija.
With Rogers finally kicking in the dough last year to facilitate the Marlins trade as well as bringing in R.A. Dickey some are speculating that this may have started the clock on how long AA can remain at the helm of the club. So with the possibility of impending unemployment hanging over him could the Jay’s GM become more interested in making a deal out of self preservation that could impact future iterations of the club that he may not be around to oversee?
And it’s that possibility which brings me to my real question, if such a scenario were to present itself does AA have full autonomy to make any deal, or could Paul Beeston perhaps but the kaibosh on a deal that is not in the long term interests of the club. Although Beeston and Anthopoulos have been viewed as somewhat of a single entity since their tenure began they are both at very different stages of their respective careers. While Beeston has been around the league since the Jays came into existence, has extremely close ties with Toronto having worked out of the Jays office’s even when he working for MLB and not Toronto, and Beeston is likely not in dire need of a future position once his current tenure with the Blue Jays comes to an end.
Anthopoulos on the other hand is a getting his first shot at GM and while some of the deals he executed in the beginning of his reign as GM earned him the moniker “the Ninja” he is starting to lose some of the shine from these early moves. And while it is easy to rethink last winters trades with the benefit of hindsight after the disastrous 2013 campaign, the vision which AA originally preached about drafting and developing high end prospects but having the financial might to retain their homegrown starts seems to have gone out the window. So although fans such as myself may have enjoyed dreams of a scenario akin to the Rays except with money to keep a core intact the Jays are bearing much more similarities to the other Florida team at this point in time.
So while it may be unlikely that Anthopoulos could survive another season as terrible as 2013, the franchise might not be able to survive more dealing of prospects like it saw last offseason. So with Beeston’s long affiliation with the club would he have the power or even the desire to put a stop to a transaction that he deems is too detrimental to the long term health of the franchise? Maybe Anthopoulos has Beeston’s unwavering support and carte blanche to make any transaction that he wants too, or maybe his back isn’t up against the wall nearly as much as some might like to think it is and he will act in the best of interests of both the short and long term. Whichever it is, let’s just hope that after last offseason’s blockbuster transactions the club isn’t too far down the road to mediocrity for it too make a difference.