Alex Anthopoulos and Blue Jays Face Uphill Climb To Spring Training


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 SportsIn 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.