Blue Jays: Anthopoulos talks rotation and offseason strategies


Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos held his year-end press conference with Toronto media earlier this morning, addressing the season that was and the many decisions facing the organization over the coming months. Anthopoulos reiterated that he preferred not to focus on his own contract status, but toed the line while discussing a season he’s still not under contract for. He opened by noting there is a sense of “pride across the organization” after the ALCS run.

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The rotation will be the Blue Jays primary area of concern entering the free agent and trade periods, and the GM admitted there is a great deal of work to do. While he would not tip his hand on R.A. Dickey‘s $12 million option, he did say that the knuckler has “put himself in a very good position”, adding that the Jays don’t win the A.L. East without Dickey’s impressive stretch run.

Marco Estrada will be another name to watch, and Anthopoulos remains “optimistic and hopeful” the breakout right-hander will return. He spoke with Estrada following the ALCS loss, and says there is a mutual interest between team and player.

The young Roberto Osuna and Aaron Sanchez will enter the conversation, too. “Long term, we do view both of them as starters,” Anthopoulos said, but noted that the club’s current window may allow for them to stay in the bullpen if their greatest impact comes from there. These two will see their fate determined by Toronto’s moves over the coming months. If the club is unable to secure other starting options, they’ll be next in line.

Looking to the lineup, which is set to return every player outside of Dioner Navarro, Anthopoulos insisted that the club would still explore any possibility for improvement. “The one thing we won’t do is get complacent,” he said, noting the addition of Russell Martin over Navarro as a good example.

In praising Devon Travis for a strong offensive season along with the versatility and glove of Ryan Goins, Anthopoulos expects to see the two compete for the starting job at second base next season. Both have been mentioned as potential trade chips, but the GM added that their depth holds great value, especially considering potential injuries. He followed a similar line of thinking with Ben Revere, Michael Saunders and Dalton Pompey all fighting for a job in left field.

Looking away from the roster, Anthopoulos threw his support behind manager John Gibbons, highlighting that he weathered an early-season storm without much of a bullpen, and got by with a handful of infielders playing the corner outfield for quite some time. Credit was given to Gibbons for deciding to roll out Chris Colabello, too. He suggested the club would have “flexibility” in terms of payroll, being secretive as usual.

It’s a strange time for the Jays, as signing Anthopoulos to a contract extension needs to happen before any of these plans can come to action. His current deal is expected to expire on October 31st, so don’t expect it to drag on for too long. Anthopoulos is playing things close to his chest, but it’s clear that this is a high-potential offseason.

“We’ve kind of found ourselves a bit,” he said while discussing the organizational shift over the past season. He expects the club to remain honed in on high-character, intelligent players that fit this new philosophy.

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