Category Archives: MLB News

Process vs. Intuition

alex beardToday during new Blue Jays President Mark Shapiro’s introductory press conference, one point he made jumped out to me:

“General managers don’t make moves, they make recommendations,” Shapiro said. “If GM’s process is good, my job to approve the decision is easy.”

The key term here is process. Would Alex Anthopoulos like to go through a process or procedure to prove that every move he wants to make is a good one? Would he want to fight tooth and nail for every little manoeuvre, no matter how small, that he wanted to make? We all know what that’s like in our personal lives; trying to explain ourselves to someone always questioning our decisions. I’d get tired of that fast and it’s more clear to me now than ever why Alex did not accept his extension offer.

This whole situation smells of distrust. Why put a “process” in place if you have complete faith and trust in the person running the organization? Obviously Rogers didn’t and subsequently brought in Shapiro to run the business and baseball side.

What’s become clear in Alex’s evolution as a GM is that he has learned to trust his intuition. He followed process in hiring former manager John Farrell; he checked off all the boxes on his list. Farrell seemed like the right hire based on whatever such and such criteria Alex initially had for his first managerial hire, and made the decision based on what his brain told him was right. He later admitted that he didn’t follow his gut and obviously saw how that decision did not work out. He absolutely went with his gut later on to give current manager John Gibbons the reins and it turned out beautifully as we just witnessed this October.

Furthermore, last offseason Alex became acutely aware of the need for higher character guys in the clubhouse hence the need to sign Russell Martin and to trade for Josh Donaldson. How would you prove those decisions through process? The fact is that it isn’t always easy.

Additionally, Alex felt the need to supplement his roster this summer with some big acquisitions not the least of which was Troy Tulowitzki. Process, or using one’s logical mind to make rational decisions, said not to do the Tulo trade as the majority of his staff felt; that they needed pitching instead. But Anthopoulos felt otherwise. Yes it was to fix a mistake he made with acquiring Jose Reyes initially, but he recognized the need to fix it and improved the team and moved on. Low and behold, it worked out marvellously.

Then he just so happened to call Dave Dombrowski and inquired about David Price’s availability.  Coincidence? Right place, right time? I think not.

Through it all, Alex acquired Revere, Hawkins, Lowe, and Pennington because he knew he could reach the post-season with some key reinforcements. He had faith in his roster. Process wouldn’t have done that. Process would rather dictate and reason that you’d be giving up way too many young prospects. Process would tell you that you’d be mortgaging the future and that you’d be taking too much of a risk.

Process can kiss it. If a guy knows without a shadow of doubt what his intuition is telling him and trusts those feelings, then everyone better get out of his way and let him do what feels right.

We’ve lost a good one here in Anthopoulos my friends. Sure Shapiro said all the right things today, as expected. But you can’t replace an inner knowing that Alex had surely developed, with something of a more logical nature, like process.

Rangers Not Getting The Same Josh Hamilton They Knew

josh hamiltonIn a shocking development, estranged Angels’ slugger Josh Hamilton is rumoured to be close to being sent to his old team, the Texas Rangers.  Hamilton, who is currently on the DL recovering from shoulder surgery, has put himself and the Angels club through quite the turmoil this past offseason having admitted to suffering a relapse to his drug and alcohol addiction. The whole Angels’ organization including owner, Arte Moreno have been vocal about their displeasure with Josh’s conduct and as such, his future with the team was up in the air… Continue reading→

Kyle Drabek Claimed by White Sox

DC_Spring_Training27.jpgKyle Drabek, who had been competing to join the Blue Jays’ bullpen when the team headed north, has been claimed on waivers by the Chicago White Sox. It isn’t entirely clear at present if Drabek will join Chicago’s bullpen or try to be snuck through waivers again by them since he’s out of options. David Robertson, Zach Putnam … Continue reading→

Ramifications of Michael Saunders’ injury

Image via Elaine Thompson/AP

Image via Elaine Thompson/AP

With news of the Toronto Blue Jays’ starting left fielder, Michael Saunders, out until the All-Star break with a torn meniscus in his left knee, the injury bug has already bitten this team and it’s the first day positional players had to report to spring training! While it’s way too early to play the “throw in the towel, it’s all over” card, Toronto has to regroup…Continue reading→

Growing The Game Amongst African-Americans

youth field the star ledger scott lituchy

Image via The Star-Ledger’s Scott Lituchy

The percentage of African-American players in MLB has declined steadily since the mid 90’s. It was 8.3 percent in 2013 and it is believed, according to Mark Armour of SABR, that baseball has suffered a decrease from about twice that – around 18 to 19 percent – which is what it was from the 70’s into the 90’s. In contrast, Latino players were at 28.3 percent; Asian at 2.1 percent…Continue reading→

Notes on Blue Jays State of the Franchise

The following are some notes from the annual Blue Jays State of the Franchise event held at Rogers Centre, which was streamed live online.

GM Alex Anthopoulos explained his offseason goals in “getting more durable” guys like Russell Martin and Josh Donaldson. He mentioned improving the defense was a priority and he accomplished that with the Michael Saunders and Martin acquisitions. He also wanted to change the mix of the club, saying “we’ve added [to the roster], we’ve gotten better.”

The projected lineup and rotation flashed on the screen showing the following:

Reyes, SS

Martin, C

Bautista, RF

Encarnacion, DH

Donaldson, 3B

Smoak, 1B

Saunders, LF

Pompey, CF

2B

And they had Aaron Sanchez penciled into the fifth spot of the rotation.

Anthopoulos made it clear however that “things can still happen,” that they’re still talking to teams about trades, there’s still free agents out there, so there’s a scenario where Sanchez could still end up in the bullpen as a late relief arm.

Buck Martinez reiterated to the fans in attendance and those streaming the event live online “don’t get too concerned about your team until opening day” pointing to the fact that potential moves could still be made to bolster the bullpen, even during spring training.

Paul Beeston said regarding grass being put in Rogers Centre, “We can get the sun, we can get the water,” it’s just the air currents that they’re looking into. Apparently, they signed a contract today with the University of Guelph to research this issue.

Blue Jays Manager John Gibbons said that reports on infielder Maicer Izturis are good, that “he’s in the best condition he’s ever been.” So that’s good because he’ll challenge to be the starting second baseman when the club heads north. Gibbons also reiterated that prospect Devon Travis will get a good look in the spring as well and he might just run away with it “if he’s ready”.

More from Anthopoulos, as he said “we’ve wanted Saunders for three years now,” as he mentioned how pleased he thinks fans will be of his “gold glove” defense in left field. He’s a “very excited” player to be on this Blue Jays team right now. The Mariners also claimed J.A. Happ on trade waivers (last August), so interest was there for the eventual trade to transpire between those two players.

Anthopoulos said that “Sanchez could have been our best pitcher last year” which is some high praise to put on a rookie, and yet very exciting for fans to contemplate for the coming season. He also made a Matt Harvey mention when talking about prospect Daniel Norris and what he can potentially bring to the team.

Beeston also shared that he spoke with new MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred the other day about the Blue Jays hosting another All-Star game. “We’re going to put a proposal together,” he said. “We deserve it. It’s our turn!”  Quite right, it’s been 25 years since the last one in 1991 when Kirby Puckett hit a home run derby ball into the soup out in Windows Restaurant.

Lastly, Anthopoulos shared some insights on the Melky Cabrera negotiations, saying they talked to Melky early on in the offseason, and once again when the Saunders deal was on the burner. At that time, Alex was informed that Melky would be open to a three or four year deal, thereby implying that he was initially looking for five years. Ultimately, they were too far down the road with Saunders and they spent a fair chunk of money on Martin already. “Martin was a better fit,” Anthopoulos said.

Casey Janssen Signs With Nationals

janssen2 (2)Free agent reliever, Casey Janssen, has agreed to one year contract with the Washington Nationals. Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports was the first to report it Wednesday morning with the contract being for a guaranteed $5M which includes a mutual option for 2016. The Nationals most definitely have added a quality reliever that will likely serve in a set-up role for closer Drew Storen, however with the fluidity of closers lately, Janssen could end up generating some saves… Continue reading→

Munenori Kawasaki Resigns with Blue Jays

kawasaki2The Toronto Blue Jays have re-signed fan favourite Munenori Kawasaki to a minor league deal on Friday with an invitation to spring training. This is the third year in a row where the Blue Jays have signed the infielder to such a deal and they’ve generally made good use of the relationship as Kawasaki has appeared in 178 games over the past two seasons. Known for his delightfulness, eccentricity and fun-loving personality… Continue reading→

Blue Jays 2014 Post-Mortem

Image via Ian at BlueJayHunter.

Image via Ian at BlueJayHunter.

Anxiousness; that is one word on how I would characterize this Blue Jays season from the fan’s perspective since at no point, aside from May and early June, were the Jays playing at a level where all cylinders were clicking. Don’t get me wrong, watching the Jays in first place for 45 days was superbly fantastic, but then bit by bit, they wilted down and limped into September needing a hot month to get back into the playoff picture. Their 9-2 record from August 30th to September 10th got fans excited again, but like the extreme streakiness they’ve been known for this season, it didn’t last…Continue reading→

Let’s Talk About the Rays

Rays2

Image courtesy of Tampa Bay Times.

Let’s talk about the Rays, baby
Let’s talk about you and me
Let’s talk about all the good things
And the bad things that may be
Let’s talk about the Rays
Let’s talk about the Rays
Let’s talk about the Rays
Let’s talk about the Rays

Did you catch the tune from Salt ‘N Pepa?

So, the Rays then. After having lost the ALDS in October, and fearing David Price may have pitched his last game for the team, the Rays found themselves at a crossroads prepared to retool their roster by trading away their star player.

All of that hasn’t come to fruition yet. In fact, it appears…Continue reading→