Last night, I had the privilege of attending my first State of the Franchise event at Rogers Centre, and here are the main highlights from the Q&A session:
1) Anthopoulos spoke of the emergence that both Bautista and Encarnacion experienced as players while with the Blue Jays and pretty much said for fans to believe in the club because of the potential for others to emerge. I believe this absolutely refers to Goins and Lawrie with even further gains to be gleaned from the likes of Rasmus and Lind.
2) As the below tweet shows, Gibbons got his words criss-crossed at one point by referring to Happ as A.J. instead of J.A.
— Pumped Up Jays (@pumpedupjays) January 30, 2014
Needless to say, signing Burnett would be a huge gain for the organization. Personally, I’d love to see him back in Toronto especially after the quality of performance he’s shown in Pittsburgh the last two years. Considering he wasn’t successful in winning a championship his first go around with the organization, maybe he can be a part of it this time! I think that would make his former mentor, Roy Halladay, a little bit happy.
3) Anthopoulos also said Sierra would absolutely be given a shot in the spring to win the right handed DH job due to the fact that he’s out of options, however it is no guarantee. No doubt, AA is looking for a RH bat to platoon with Lind, and I believe he will eventually find someone to fill that role, the most likely of which will involve a trade during this spring of one of his surplus, out of options, relievers.
4) Perhaps the most revealing highlight of the night was from Gibbons who said that Kevin Seitzer was brought in to be that “veteran” hitting coach compared to that of the former Chad Mottola. This clearly speaks to how Mottola pretty much left Bautista and Encarnacion alone and focused instead on the younger players who needed more support. Clearly, Gibbons thought the team needed a more veteran presence and spoke last night of the effect that hits to the opposite field can have. He specifically mentioned how Bautista and Encarnacion can take that approach as well especially in games against the league’s best pitchers. Personally, I love this mindset because Bautista, although still great, is in decline and could use some useful tools in his back pocket to take to the plate with him as opposed to always looking to knock one out.
Aside from that, I was fortunate to shake hands with John Gibbons, and learned that he loves his breakfast taco’s in the morning!! Seriously though, watching him meander amongst the fans gave me the impression that he really is an incredibly upbeat, jovial and fun-loving guy. Essentially, J.P. Riccardi was right when he said, if you can’t work for John Gibbons, you can’t work for no one. For me as a fan, it’s impossible not to love him.
As you can see from above, I got a quick picture with AA, and was able to chat with a couple of other bloggers like Ian Hunter from BlueJayHunter.com, and Gideon Turk & Chris Sherwin from BlueJaysPlus.com. They also wrote stories on the event and you can check them out by clicking on the links above.