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The fallout from failing to sign Santana

Transcript of Anthopoulos’ scrum with the media:

(editors note — As always the questions asked by the group of reporters — including myself — aren’t transcribed word for word but it gives the jist of the question in each case. Anthopoulos’ quotes are word for word.)

How close were you to signing Santana?
“Probably don’t want to comment on how close I felt we got or didn’t get. I think what I’ll say is from what I was told he wanted to pitch in the NL. Couldn’t compete with it. It wasn’t money. It wasn’t years. He had a strong desire to pitch in the NL and there was no way to compete with that. Wish him the best, obviously I’m sure us and other clubs would have loved to have had him but we’re going to move on.”

Did he always want to pitch in the NL?
“I think you’d have to ask them. I was just told recently that he had a strong desire to pitch in the NL. It was on a one-year deal and that was where he wanted to be.”

Were you used in the process?
“No. No. That’s probably the only thing I’m going to say. No.”


Anthopoulos holding court with the media

On Ryan Goins…
“Defensively, the more you watch him, the more you realize how good he is defensively, just his actions, the way he moves. You know, the bat, that’s something we’re going to watch in spring training. The tough part is, you realize it’s two at-bats a game, three at-bats a game, the competition level varies. I would say, again, the competition is still there. We’re going to value the defense because it’s that good. He has room to do less offensively because the defense is so elite. I don’t use that word lightly. I really think he’s elite and he’s got a chance to win a gold glove there.”

“If you actually look at Goins’ minor league track record in the International League last year and Jonny Diaz’s, their OPS’s are similar. Jonny may walk a little bit more, strike out a little bit less but won’t have any power whereas Goins, there’s a little bit of power there. They’re both good defenders. Getz has swung the bat great. Tolleson, we’ve just gotten a chance to see, to get playing and obviously Kawasaki has had a good camp too.”

“Goins is the front-runner because of the defense that he showed but he still has to earn that job.”


Q+A with hitting coach Kevin Seitzer

On Ryan Goins…
“Love his swing, love everything about what he is doing mechanically with his approach and now it’s just a matter of him getting at-bats and timing and putting it all together in a game. For me, he’s on the right path, and now it’s about getting more at-bats and timing.”


Updated pitching schedule

March 1 @ Baltimore:

Drew Hutchison (two innings)
Ricky Romero (one-to-two innings)
Marcus Stroman (two innings)
Tomo Ohka (one-to-two innings)
Deck McGuire (one-to-two innings)
Neil Wagner (one inning)

Extras — Rob Rasmussen, Marcus Walden, Ryan Tepera, Randy Boone
Side work — R.A. Dickey, Dustin McGowan

March 2 vs New York Yankees:

Esmil Rogers (two innings)
Todd Redmond (two-to-three innings)
Brett Cecil (one inning)
Aaron Loup (one inning)
Jeremy Jeffress (two innings)
Chad Jenkins (one inning)

Extras — Rob Rasmussen, Marcus Walden, Liam Hendriks
Side work — Brandon Morrow, Aaron Sanchez, Sergio Santos, Steve Delabar

March 3 @ Minnesota:

J.A. Happ (two-to-three innings)
Dustin McGowan (two innings)
Kyle Drabek (two innings)
Sean Nolin (one inning)
Mickey Storey (one inning)

 — Rob Rasmussen, Marcus Walden, Deck McGuire
Side work — Marcus Stroman, Ricky Romero, Casey Janssen, Tomo Ohka

March 4 @ Philadelphia:

R.A. Dickey (three-to-four innings)
Sergio Santos (one inning)
Steve Delabar (one inning)
Neil Wagner (one inning)
Marcus Walden (one inning)
Liam Hendriks (one-to-two innings)

 — Deck McGuire, Chad Jenkins, Rob Rasmussen
Side work — Drew Hutchison, Todd Redmond, Esmil Rogers, Brett Cecil

Bautista’s first availability of the spring

Lack of health last two years…
“I know that both injuries I had, the ones that actually took me out of the lineup for an extended period of time were from impact plays or a freak accident with the wrist. It’s not because I was neglecting my training regime or anything like that but it is disappointing and it is upsetting that I don’t get to go out there and finish the season with the team or finish strong. That has been the case in the last two years so hopefully it doesn’t happen again.”


Anthopoulos holds court

Adding rotation depth?
“We’d like to do it but we’re not going to do it at all costs. As we sit here today I think it’s unlikely at this point, we’re getting so late into spring training. Unlikely unless a trade emerges, but again. As the offseason has progressed, we’ve felt better about the internal options, especially the young guys, whether it’s a guy like Stroman, Drew Hutchison, Kyle Drabek. Brandon Morrow looks great. We felt good about him in November but as he’s progressed through the offseason, we feel even better about him. That being said, if something presented itself, we’d love to do it. We just haven’t been able to find anything that works for us.”


Early impressions from camp

I’ve been in Florida for less than a week and I’ve already changed my opinion on several key issues surrounding the Blue Jays during this year’s Spring Training. There are only a handful of jobs up for grabs this spring but those competitions should be rather interesting to watch as these next few weeks unfold.

I arrived in Dunedin with a few predictions in mind. The first was that Drew Hutchison was going to win the final spot in the rotation and that Josh Thole would be the back-up behind the plate with the main purpose of becoming R.A. Dickey‘s personal catcher.

Unlike previous springs, it hasn’t taken very long for me to change my tune and here are some of the reasons why:


John Gibbons on the first workout day

On Morrow’s bullpen…
It’s just good to see him out there, it’s been awhile. The thing I’m most impressed with, you look at him, he has put on a lot of weight, muscle. He looks strong, he looks like you’re supposed to look and last year he didn’t look like that. He looks like a good strong, durable starting pitcher. The fact that he’s out there and feels good, is big for us.

On performance of SP last April/May…
Today is the last day I’m going to talk about last year, but last year we didn’t play very well in any phase of the game early on. We didn’t play very good defense, hitting was sporadic and we struggled in the rotation. That leads to how we started the season. But these guys have a lot of pride, expect most of them to bounce back. We had some real good performances on the year, at the end of it, with Dickey, Buehrle, some of those guys. Rasmus, Eddie, some really good years but as a team it was a struggle. We have to go about our business and answer some questions.

On SP depth chart…
We have a good idea. We have some good depth now. Drabek’s back, Hutch is back, we feel good about that. Stroman is on the move. Sanchez, we think will come quick. We have some options whereas last year we didn’t have that many. Hopefully you don’t need that many but the reality of the game is you might. The depth is definitely better, whoever wins that last spot, we’ll see, but it’ll be a nice little competition. McGowan’s in the mix now, we’re going to try and stretch him out and see how that works. We like the way it looks, we really do, but we still have to go out and do it.


Spring Training offically opens

There wasn’t a whole lot of activity on Day 1 of the Spring Training but that’s to be expected. The purpose of the first day doesn’t really have anything to do with baseball at all — at least not the on-field component of it. All of the Blue Jays pitchers and catchers went through their physicals and by the sounds of it everything went as expected.

The physicals took place in Tampa, which meant only a handful of players were seen at the club’s stadium in nearby Dunedin. R.A. Dickey was one of those guys and he went through a light game of catch while several other players including closer Casey Janssen were working out but for the most part Spring Training doesn’t really get underway tomorrow.

That’s when more news will start to trickle in but free agent addition Dioner Navarro was one of those who talked to the media today and here’s what he had to say about getting another opportunity to become a full-time catcher:


Spring Training is almost here…

The blog went into a hiatus over the long winter months but it will be back in action next week with the official start of Spring Training. While you’re waiting, please check out the Spring Training preview articles that are available on the main site. It was a four-part series that started on Monday and came to an end Friday.

There’s a big Spring Training preview which takes a closer look at the battles to watch in camp plus in depth looks at the starting rotation, bullpen and lineup. I’ll start filing articles from Dunedin so as always check for the latest news and updates. You can also follow me on Twitter @gregorMLB. As always, most of the content will appear on the official  and website but throughout camp there will be some odds and ends on the blog as well. Whether it’s expanded transcripts or my thoughts on what’s happening in Blue Jays land this is where you can find it. 

The priority, though, will always be the main sites and regardless what happens here on North of the Border there will be a daily feature and in depth notebook which can be found there every day this spring. But I’ll also do my best to expand on that daily coverage with some additional analysis on the blog as well.

Coverage starts Sunday… here’s to an enjoyable season!