Reaction to Morrow’s injury and Guerrero’s release

On the main site you’ll find updated information on Vladimir Guerrero’s release from the Blue Jays and the latest injury news on right-hander Brandon Morrow. General manager Alex Anthopoulos held court with reporters this afternoon. Below, I’ve posted the full transcript for those that are interested:

What happened with Guerrero? 

“Obviously we never had a date. But we always told him throughout the process that anytime he felt that he didn’t want to be here, he had the ability to leave any time. Even though we don’t have out clauses, we had a handshake agreement that any time he could indicate to us that if you wanted to go that we would grant him his release.

 “I talked to his agent Monday morning. At first we talked a week ago and said we would just reevaluate things after the road trip, after Sunday’s game. He got hit in the hand, missed Saturday and Sunday’s game. His agent and I spoke on Monday morning and we said obviously we were going to reevaluate.

 “I told him look, if have to make a decision right now, we’re not prepared to call him up. So if he wants his release right now we certainly would do it. If not, I said Tony LaCava, he’s going to be there tonight (Tuesday night) and for the next three or four games. If you’d like we can just strictly go day to day when he has obviously he has the ability to control the process and he can go whenever he likes.

 “But I said if the decision needs to be right now we’ll certainly grant him his release.

 “From that standpoint, he played last night and he decided that that was going to be enough for him. He felt that he was certainly worthy of a call up. We’re just not prepared to do that right now.”

 Update on Morrow?

“Not yet. He’s obviously sore today. We’re going to have some exams done around 4:30 so hopefully we’ll get the results around game time. So highly-probable we’re going to DL-him but we’re going to at least wait to get the results so we know exactly what the severity of all of it is. From there we’ll make a decision.

 “Right now I would expect him to go on the DL, but it’s not 100 per cent for sure.”

For Guerrero, was it just not enough time for a proper evaluation? 

“I think really we go off our staff. Our staff just felt like right now, for us — and again, he’s obviously a Hall of Famer, he was a tremendous teammate, great guy across the board. But our staff are the ones we’re relying on to make the evaluation for us. And they felt we needed some more games. And we obviously felt that as well.

 “But he had the right at any time to go and he made that decision.”

 Did Guerrero not put up enough numbers to justify a promotion?

“The stats are there. He was slowly starting to get better — and obviously last night he had a very good night. In all fairness to the team, we had 20 hits or something and we scored a lot of runs. So the entire team did very well. But that’s not to take anything away from him. It was a good game for him and I would have liked to have seen more games.

 “But at the same time, he knows himself better than anybody, he felt like he’s done enough there and he was prepared to come up here. But we didn’t necessarily agree with that.”

 Do you feel that you guys treated Guerrero fairly? There are some comments out there that indicate he felt otherwise…

“I talked to his agent and it was great communication with his agent. I never spoke to Vlady directly. But with his agent great communication.”

 Any idea why Guerrero would say some of the things he was quoted as saying?

“I can’t. All I can say is we had great dialogue with his agent. From that standpoint best ask his agent what happened. But we had great communication and great dialogue. Again, we always told him he had the ability to go whenever he wanted to. I think from that standpoint, he’s a great player, a Hall of Famer, and he was a great teammate for us, handled himself extremely well. Everybody said he was a tremendous guy. And from that standpoint we just weren’t ready to call him up at this time.”

 With respect to Brandon, does this press you into making some additional moves?

“We have time because of the off-day to reevaluate it. So we’ve really got a lot more time because of the off-day on Thursday.

 “We don’t have to make the decision right now. We’ve obviously got a lot of ideas and things like that. We’ll know the severity of it, again, probably a DL stint but we don’t need to make the decision right now. We can wait until tomorrow and just see what the results are tonight.”

Considering how well he has pitched it must be frustrating…

“There’s no question you lose a guy like that, he has a good chance to make the all-star team. He’s pitched great, but it happens. And we’re certainly not the first team to go through it. A lot of other teams do. It’s a long year and you just have to fight through it. And hopefully we can get him back soon and we can make up some ground while he’s away.”

 

Does Jesse Chavez enter the mix? Assuming Morrow has to miss some starts…

“He’s definitely the frontrunner, I guess I would say that. But we haven’t made a commitment one way or the other. He’s scheduled to pitch tomorrow but we don’t have to make a decision for awhile. But there’s no question that he has probably been the best starter down there but I certainly don’t want to lock into that name but he’s put himself in a good position.”

Morrow injury cause you to want to add veteran?

“No, we’re practically mid-June at this point. You’re always looking to add talent and players whenever you can. You’re hopeful that whatever we end up doing, whatever time he does miss, you might get someone that gets hot and does well. I know when Carlos Villanueva had to step into the rotation last year … for probably three or four weeks he did a very good job and then he got hurt and didn’t do as well.

“But you never know, someone steps in, they might do a good job for you, we might score some runs for them and end up getting some wins. It’s one start every five days, there’s value to those starts because of Brandon’s ability to work deep into games, save the bullpen, things like that, but at the same time it is 25 guys and there are lots of teams in this division and in this league that have lost a lot of good players and have been able to overcome it. Hopefully we’ll be in the same boat.”

Why Gomes as the player who was sent down today?

“It was just one of those things, left-handed bat between Cooper and him and we talked about McCoy and the fact that he can play both. It just seemed like it was a move to protect the club right now and keeping Cooper’s left-handed bat. But it was close. We could have gone with McCoy, we could have gone with Cooper, we just felt that Gomes was probably the move to make and it’s not that anybody deserved to go down but we needed to send one of those guys down.”

 Vlad… emergency need for first base impact decision?

“No, I think it just came down to our staff. We have players with options, so we’re not locked into any of our young guys here. We certainly have the ability to control them and send them back down. But it was just one of those things where I think Vlad felt he was prepared to come up here now and our staff didn’t necessary see it that way and felt he needed a few more games. That was his right, we went into this with our eyes wide open, there was no guarantees he was going to come up here, no promises, we were going to continue to evaluate him.”

 Where would he have fit in?

“I don’t know. We would have just dealt with it. We weren’t at that point yet, we would have crossed that bridge when it came time to it.”

 What was the staff telling you about his progress?

“Just that he was getting better slowly. Timing was better, more hard hit balls, but they didn’t necessarily feel that he was all the way there yet. They said he was a great worker, a great teammate, played hard, ran ground balls out, did all those things, everything you want. Maybe just timing, felt like he just needed a few more at-bats. He didn’t agree and that’s fine. But the dialogue with his agent and everything has been outstanding, completely amicable. There may have been reports to the contrary but I haven’t gotten any of that at all.”

 Any regrets about the signing?

“No, I think it went the way, either he’s called up or he isn’t.”

 Any disappointment?

“No. I think when we talked about the signing we characterized it fairly well that it was a no lose. There was no financial guarantees, there were no guarantees at all. It was just let’s take a shot and see how he looks.”

Glad that he got Vlad back into the mainstream to be seen by other clubs?

“No, we didn’t get to that point. Bean and I have worked together before and I think Bean knew that even though we don’t have out-clauses in our contracts, he knows we’re going to hold up our end of the bargain and be men of our word. The minute he didn’t want to be here we weren’t going to not release him. The minute he wanted his release we were going to give him his release. I think we have a great relationship with Bean, we’ve always worked well with him and there’s certainly trust on both sides. Our communication was great and even when we spoke today it was great. There were no concerns at all.”

 There wasn’t a Sunday deadline?

“No all we talked about was that we would re-evaluate after the road trip on Sunday. Then Vlad got hit on the hand on Saturday and then didn’t play Saturday, didn’t play Sunday. So we spoke on Monday morning, so obviously it was just to get an update. I told him, ‘look, we talked about re-evaluating on Sunday. If we re-evaluate, if we have to make the decision right now, considering he had to miss two games, we’re not prepared to call him up. So if he wants his release we’ll certainly hold up to our end of the bargain.

“We’re going to grant him his release if he wants that. If not, we can go day to day. I said, it’s up to you how you want to go about it. You can let me know and stay in communication. That’s really what we did the entire time. We stayed in communication, we never forced anything. It was always make sure everyone was on board with what we were doing.

“Even when he was in Florida, wanted to stay in Florida a little bit longer, no problem. We really worked to the schedule, other than being called up here, the way they wanted it set up. We never had any problems at all.”

 Could there still be a future for Vlad?

“Oh sure. No doubt about it. He started to play well, play a lot better. For us, we needed to see some more at-bats but I would never count him out. The guy’s a Hall of Famer, great teammate, great guy. There’s no question I think he’s definitely going to have opportunities. No doubt about it.”

On draft pick signings…

 “The good part about this now is (the deadline is) the middle of July, not August so negotiations start a little sooner. I think r some the same way because the deadline was the middle of August sometimes you’d only get the ball rolling until the beginning of August because people wanted to see some of the other signings coming in so that could certainly be the case for some of our (unsigned) guys. Again it’s the same process, you could probably look at my quotes from each year, just we have it a month earlier. We’re having dialogue, but other than that I probably wouldn’t want to characterize anything else. We’re optimistic we’re going to sign all these guys. “

On whether there’s a cutoff point to sign them and get them into short-season ball…

“No, because I think in the past it was middle August the short-season teams were done two weeks later, and they hadn’t been playing, you have to get them in shape. But right now, because of the signing date we’ll definitely be able to get them all into games whether it’s Vancouver, Bluefield, Gulf Coast.”

Do you expect these three guys (Stroman, Smoral and DeJong) to go to and DeJong to go to the deadline?

“I hope not, I don’t know that I expect anything. That’s where you make mistakes in negotiations because you know that there is one deadline in place, that’s the one thing we know, I think everyone on both sides is optimistic to get something done. Should it need to go that far, so be it as long as we get them signed and you hope if they don’t get signed, it happens as well, we’ve certainly gone down that path before here. Same thing as always: try to get things done and if not, we’ll try again the following year.”

So Stroman Duke/workout tweet is no indication of anything?

 “I wouldn’t characterize anything. I think a lot of players stay in shape. If they’re not signed, I think they want to stay in shape one way or the other. I can’t speak for him, but I don’t think that matters at all.”

If Morrow goes on DL, does it force your hand trade wise?

“It all depends. I think we look to add talent whenever we could so, I don’t know if your hand is forced. I think we’re always going to look to be active and try to make deals and it’s tough at this point to engage teams, it’s June so I think once we get to July it’ll really start to get going. I think slowly preliminary dialogue will start now that the draft is over. We’ll just have to wait and see. Obviously it’s a big loss, he’s been one of our top guys the entire year but you never know, sometimes guys step up and it’s happened with a lot of other teams and hopefully for us it’ll be the same case.

Are you determined not to reach the 5% tax threshold?

 “I feel very confident that we won’t do anything to risk having to lose a draft pick the following year, so I don’t know that any clubs will be doing that. I don’t see the upside. Might there come a time and a year? Yes, but I’m pretty confident that 2012 will not be that year for us.”

So you’d rather lose one of these guys than lose a draft pick next year?

“No question. You can go over a little bit, sure but just because you can doesn’t mean you should. I think you have your value and I know that’s what we’ve done. I say it a lot but you have to take the emotion out of it. You have your value, and you have your reasons and you stick to your process and in the long run, sure they’ll be ones you make mistakes on, but I think in the long run it’ll work out. So we have value on players, try to negotiate and get something done and the ones that have signed, we’re able to get it done a little sooner and hopefully they’ll be some yet to sign but we’ll go from there.”

So you’ll stay within your pool?

“I would think so, sure. I would feel confident in saying we won’t do anything that will cost us a pick the following year. I can guarantee that.” 

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