Anthopoulos returns from Japan

Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos made his return on Friday afternoon following a brief scouting trip to Japan. Anthopoulos normally remains tight lipped about these type of trips but since he was there to take a look at the much talked about Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish there wasn’t any chance he would go unnoticed.

Anthopoulos’ trip was reported earlier in the week by the Toronto Sun’s Bob Elliott and various other media outlets. He was then spotted in the stands watching Darvish pick up his 16th victory of the season for the Nippon Ham Fighters of Nippon Professional Baseball’s Pacific League.

Toronto’s GM didn’t go into much detail about the trip but did confirm he was there — because as he said, there admittedly wasn’t any point to denying it. He also spoke in general terms about the concept of signing Japanese players and the posting fees that go along with those type of transactions.

You can find my story on the Darvish scouting trip in today’s Notebook on the main site. Also included in that notebook are items on potential September call-ups, John Farrell’s battle with pneumonia and injury updates to Casey Janssen and Colby Rasmus.

Don’t forget you can also follow me on Twitter @gregorMLB. In the meantime, here are today’s leftovers with plenty on Darvish and the looming September moves:

Alex Anthopoulos

On the Darvish scouting trip….

“I think more is going to be made of it just because I went over there. It’s just a matter of, there’s free agents, I get to see all the free agents here, it’s like going to see players for the draft.

“I think just because you go see a player it doesn’t mean that he’s at the top of your list, or anything like that. It’s just going your due diligence and doing your homework. I wouldn’t want to be sitting there in the offseason and everyone is talking about free agents, and we’ve seen all the ones in the United States, but I haven’t laid eyes on the ones internationally that are very talented. I wanted to see him for myself.

“It’s more about doing our homework, due diligence. Whether we’re in the market or not, whether we even get involved or not, it’s a learning process.

“But there’s no question he’s the reason that I went. I can sit here and (joke), say I went there to experience the culture, or build relationships, but if he hadn’t pitched I wouldn’t have gone, at least not in 2011.”

“I’m doing my homework. If I go see guys for the Draft, I see a lot of guys for the Draft, it doesn’t mean that we draft those players, or we have them high on our list. But I go see them, I want to have as much information as we can on all players.”

On having to pay a fee to Darvish’s Japanese team in addition to a Major League salary…

“That market, you just have to come up with a value, like we with everything. You take the emotion out of it, you come up with what you’re willing to spend on a player. That’s how you come up with your math. How much would you pay in salary? How much would you pay in a post?  You combine that but that’s the commitment the club is going to make.”

On serious contenders for Darvish…

“I’ve read things that say well, people are front runners and people have relationships. With all due respect, I don’t think any of that matters. I think it’s who types in the highest amount in the email when they send it to the league.

“It’s just like anything else, who presents the highest bid. Like any other player that has come over in a post, the team that gets awarded the rights, is the team that put in the highest number. It’s not the team that had the best relationship or scouted the player the most. It’s the one that was willing to bid the most, that’s all it comes down to.”

On September call-ups…

“I’d expect our callups to be here on Wednesday and we’ll finalize that over the course of the next two days.”

On McGowan…

He’s not entirely stretched out to start yet. He’s getting there, pitch count has gotten up to 70. We’ve talked about, would we have him make some starts and then be backed up, maybe go three or four innings? Is it best to maybe have him be in the bullpen right now, but not someone who is going to be used on back-to-back days, more of a long guy?

“It’s more about his health. This wasn’t about have him become a mainstay in 2011, it’s just getting him back on the field. I have an idea which way we are going to go, I just want to go over it with those guys inside and then I want to call the player and tell him.”

“He’ll be (called up) prior to everybody else. He made his last start down there, so he’s going to be activated some time shortly. We just wanted to know exactly what the role is going to be.”

On Kyle Drabek…

“I know he hasn’t performed nearly as well as we all want him to ,and he wants to as well. But at the same time, right now … we have the rotation set the way it is,  so guys like Kyle, and so on, that are candidates for call-ups right now, everyone would come up as a reliever. If the opportunity presented itself, a starter got knocked out early, or we needed to give a guy a break, or we wanted to shut someone’s innings down … we have the ability to make a spot start.”

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