Winter Meetings wrap
The Winter Meetings have officially come to an end but not before a Thursday morning that included the minor signing of RHP Tomo Ohka and also the Rule 5 Draft. When the Draft wrapped up, Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos made himself available to the media for one last scrum at the Walt Disney Swan & Dolphin Resort.
Here’s some of what he had to say:
On trading Rule 5 Draft pick Brian Moran to the Angels for international bonus pool cap space…
“We knew we weren’t necessarily going to be active in the Rule 5. We have a bunch of out-of-option guys in the bullpen already, that we’re going to look to keep, plus Sierra is out of options. We weren’t so compelled with what was out there, we didn’t think it was an upgrade over what we had. Just tried to turn the asset of having a spot and convert it into something.”
More on the trade…
“When we did the deal with the Phillies, we tried to get international cap space in that deal but they wouldn’t do it. It’s not the easiest thing to trade for, how do you quantify it, how do you evaluate it? It’s from the July 2nd signings, a lot of teams at this point have said we’re done spending money and we’re waiting for the next one. Any money that we spend are players that are eligible to sign right now.”
Recapping the Winter Meetings…
“I actually get relieved when we leave the Winter Meetings because we can get back to work. There’s too much going on here with every team. They have agent meetings and I think people, including us, can get paralyzed. You get back, you take a breath and I think you can get back on the phones and try to narrow your focus a little bit and get deals done.”
On where things stand now with trade talks…
“There’s definitely a lot of dialogue. I’m kind of anxious to get on the plane and sort through some things. Sometimes you have too many balls in the air and you need to start making some decisions. There’s a scenario where you walk away with four or five things and there’s a lot of moving parts. You need to make sure, if you’re not going to have them all line up at the same time, that you put them in the right order and the dominoes fall correctly if you get it done.”
On asking prices…
“We have certain deals that we could probably do tomorrow, we just don’t like, either, if we’re trading someone away we don’t like what the return is and if we’re trading for someone we don’t like what the acquisition cost is. If we have to be forced on a free agent and someone has interest in one of our players and we have to clear a spot, we can do that, it’s just that we might take 20 cents on the dollar to do it fast. But at the end of the day, we might say our total return with the free agent we’re a stronger club and we’d be open to doing that.”
Coming in you said there were three pitchers you were working on, is that still the case?
“Probably three to four. I’d say more in the four. We’re not going to close the door on the fourth. The fourth is a little more challenging but I think there could be a domino effect with the fourth and if we do some other things then the fourth becomes more realistic.”
How does the end of this Winter Meetings compare to years past in terms of where you stand with things that need to get done…
“Similar. I think there are some things that we can do. We’re trying to do more than one thing, especially on the trade market. We have so many assets so we’re trying to figure out, okay, how do we divide up these assets and make sure that we get these two or three things rather than use too many assets to get one and then we’re stuck. There’s ways to do it, we just have to kind of clear the deck a little bit.”
Deadline for getting things done?
“We’re comfortable going into any time. There’s no timeline of December, January, whenever it happens, it happens. We did the Vernon Wells deal in late January, not that we were expecting to do that. I was talking to a GM and he was telling me how a few years ago he made a bunch of important moves and it was January when they all presented themselves.”
Do you expect January to be a busier month than years past for teams across the league?
“It seems like the guys that have draft picks attached to them, free agent wise, could be out there in January. Not that they will be, but they could be. It definitely seems to be slower. I don’t know, though. I get the sense that it will be busy the whole way through. It seems like there is enough activity with all of the teams. I think the expanded playoffs, everyone has a chance. I think there will still be strong activity in January.”
Does the bonus pool money impact the Cuban shortstop that has been working out in Mexico?
“No, he’s too old, it’s irrelevant. Sometimes you have guys that are out there, we’ve signed some guys for less money, we’ve spent the bulk of our July money, there are some guys that are still out there, depth guys, and how many times have we seen international signs, $80,000, $100,000, $200,000 that emerge and become really good players. There are some guys out there that we want to take a shot on and why not if we can get the cap space.”