Blue Jays: Does Anthopoulos’ new gig help the Jays?
Former Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos was named as the new GM of the Atlanta Braves a few days ago. Could this be a benefit to the Blue Jays in the short term future?
It was kinda sad the way things went down in the Blue Jays’ front office at the end of the 2015 season. Fresh off their first playoff appearance since 1993, the team promptly received a resignation from their general manager, who was widely expected to sign an extension to stay on and finish what he started. Instead, Alex Anthopoulos was a free agent of his own, and eventually took a job working with the Dodgers as an assistant to the Vice President.
A few days ago, the Atlanta Braves gave Anthopoulos his second GM job in baseball, and as I pointed out a few days ago, helped AA’s gamble on himself pay off. When some thought he was foolish for leaving one of 30 jobs at the highest level, he didn’t like the terms that were laid out for him with a new president, and decided he wanted to seek an opportunity on his terms. By all appearances, it looks like he’s got just that.
How does this affect the Blue Jays, or does it? Well, about the same as Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins’ history with the Cleveland Indians has an affect on the organization (so maybe not all that much), but there are still a couple things to be considered, such as:
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He could be interested in some MiLB assets, many of whom were drafted with him at the helm
Anthopoulos knows the Blue Jays’ minor league system as well as almost anyone, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if he started sifting through the names and looking for a bargain. When he took over as the GM in 2009, he significantly ramped up the scouting efforts in the organization from what took place under his predecessor, J.P. Ricciardi.
Granted, he made several big trades in order to bring in the likes of David Price and Troy Tulowitzki at the 2015 deadline, but he didn’t completely empty the cupboards by any means. Think of names like Max Pentecost, who was a first round draft pick under his watch and is still toiling in the minor leagues. Speaking of which….
He could be ready to pounce during the Rule 5 draft
The Blue Jays have several decisions to make when it comes to their 40 man roster, and could very well be in the market for a trade in order to make some room before the Rule 5 draft. Anthopoulos knows who will be eligible, and could see extra value in some players, like Pentecost, who other organizations may not take note of.
It’s been a couple years since he’s been gone, but he was so highly immersed in the Blue Jays’ system while he was here that it wouldn’t be surprising if he picked up someone like Pentecost or even a Conner Greene, who will also need protection, and will be available unless the Blue Jays add them to the 40 man roster.
The Braves could make some sense as trade partners
Based on where both organizations are at the moment, it’s entirely possible the Blue Jays and Braves could talk trade this offseason. The Braves have a lot of exciting talent in their minor league system, but they’re not quite ready to contend in 2018, and could be convinced to make a trade or two if the Blue Jays are willing to send enough in a package.
I’m sure the Blue Jays would like to have Ender Inciarte (can’t see the Braves moving him), might settle for Nick Markakis in a pinch, and would be quick to dismiss the Matt Kemp idea, but the Braves will likely look to move an outfielder. Beyond that, their hooking up as trade partners could be with the Blue Jays on the downswing, and with the Braves looking to improve. The idea of a combination of Freddie Freeman and Josh Donaldson at opposite corners has already been floated on Twitter several times, and we shouldn’t rule it out if the Blue Jays struggle early in 2018 either.
Once again, it comes down to a knowledge and respect for the Blue Jays’ system, something Anthopoulos has in spades. It might not account to much, like has been the case with the Blue Jays’ new front office and the Cleveland organization, but it could at least equate to a few phone calls. We know AA loves to make those.