Blue Jays’ State of the Franchise Event is Tonight
As in previous years, Jays Journal will be covering the State of the Franchise event tonight. This year, Ryan Mueller and I have the privilege of attending. Special thanks goes to the Blue Jays organization in advance for the invite.
There will be food, drink, mingling and hobnobbing but our focus will be on baseball stories. The new turf is being installed and although the questions for the panel will be pre-screened, who knows who I’ll bump into that might be feeling chatty. In spite of the canned questions, many of the pressing topics and controversies of this offseason should be addressed to some extent.
Expect the payroll to be a big topic tonight. Beeston added more confusion to that plot line recently when he reasserted that the payroll will indeed be north of $137m. The organization will likely take this opportunity to do some damage control on the way they’ve handled disseminating payroll information. They’d also be wise to put out some fires regarding the attempted ouster of Beeston and the botched pursuit of Dan Duquette.
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Expect AA to address the many questions regarding the bullpen, the weakness at second base and potentially the weakness in centre field. AA will hopefully provide some clarity on the club’s intended roles for Dioner Navarro, Josh Thole, Kevin Pillar, Andy Dirks, Justin Smoak, Steve Tolleson, Maicer Izturis, Munenori Kawasaki and Ryan Goins among others. Of course there will be few straight answers from the GM but we can try to read between the lines. At this point in the offseason, any new Blue Jays rumours or speculation is welcome.
The panel’s feet will certainly not be held to fire and the days of the free-for-all “state of the franchise” events when the fans would rant in the vague form of a question will be sorely missed but it should still be an interesting evening. At the very least, it’s a sign that baseball is just around the corner once again.
The panel begins at 6:30 p.m. ET. A live stream will be available at that time on bluejays.com. Buck Martinez will again be moderating. GM Alex Anthopoulos, manager John Gibbons and President (for one last year) Paul Beeston will reprise their roles from last year. Some 800 season ticket holders will be present as well.
I will hopefully begin tweeting at about 5:30 p.m. when the doors open. My twitter handle is @mjfmckee (it’s also below my name above). Look for an article early Friday morning detailing everything of note that I saw and heard.
Although the questions are pre-screened, what would you have asked Beeston, Gibbons and Anthopoulos?