Results tagged ‘ Paul Beeston ’

Wrapping up the Winter Meetings

The Winter Meetings officially came to a close on Thursday morning and the Blue Jays don’t exactly have a lot to show for their efforts. The only actual move Toronto made this week was claiming Chris Colabello off waivers from the Twins and the only fans who should be excited about that move are the ones in Buffalo because that’s where he’s expected to start the 2015 season. Outside of that, it was a relatively quiet week at least in terms of news that actually affects the 25-man roster. The constant talk about Paul Beeston and the future of the Blue Jays’ presidency, well that’s another story entirely.

On the main site you’ll find full coverage of this week’s events but I also wanted to provide some of my stray thoughts about how this week unfolded:

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Anthopoulos talks finances

*** As always, these questions aren’t necessarily taken word for word from the scrum. It instead provides a general assessment of the topic but the quotes from general manager Alex Anthopoulos are exactly as he said them. The only thing that might be eliminated from this transcript is a little back and forth from the reporter to the GM. ***

Here’s the full transcript of today’s media scrum with Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos as he addressed the club’s current financial situation:

Is there money available from ownership?
“I believe so. We’re not at that point right now. We’ve had a nice nine games but you don’t really even start to engage in trade dialogue until mid-June, after the draft. At that point, what would normally happen is you would talk to other teams about needs, people get dispatched to see affiliates or big- league players. You rekindle talks in July, just before the all-star break and if things move fast and you’re aggressive, maybe get something done just before the break. If not, it carries over after.

“I hope we’re in that position. It’s late May and we need to see how we play in June and we’ll re-evaluate things at the beginning of July. If we’re in a good position then, we’ll know the landscape a little bit more with respect to our needs. I can have that conversation with Paul and Paul will have that conversation with ownership. We need to still be playing well at that time and we’re far away from that.”

Could you take on pro-rated salary at the deadline?
“We have a number that we work with and I always have the ability to have that conversation. We came into the season at the number we expected to be at and as the year goes on, we have needs. Depending on how we’re playing and what’s available, if we have a need come the trade deadline, I have every confidence we’ll have the resources to do that. I have no doubts about that at all.”

Gammons report on payroll being “maxed out”…
“We’re at a number to start the year. I think that’s fair. I don’t think it varies from anything we’ve ever said. It’s always fluid. even when we did the deals last year, we were supposed to be in an area and then something came up.

“Nothing at this time has come up. We are having no dialogue whatsoever. If there is any (rumours) out there that we’re engaged with players, we’re not having any active talks at all. We’re really immersed in the draft right now. I expect that when that draft is over, the Monday after, that’s when everyone is going to start making their calls again.”

Lot of changes at Rogers; anything to do with ballclub?
“Guy Lawrence came to a game on the weekend. The directiove and mandate was ‘Keep winning.’ I got a slap on the shoulder and he left. Seems pretty straight-forward to me.”

You said you’re not engaged in anything right now but how much ear-to-the-ground stuff are you doing to avoid another team getting the jump on you…
“I don’t know. Not any more so than any other time. In terms of getting the jump, you just can’t do anything about it. If you want to get the jump on someone I guess you could be aggressive and do things but you can’t prevent what other teams are doing. I will say this, though, this is the time of year where a lot of gamesmanship goes on, there’s a lot of false reports out there for various reasons and some of them are pretty obvious. Just like anything else, I know I do this every offseason, if there’s anything out there about us being engaged, we have nothing at all going on.”

You’ve previously said Rogers has never said no to you before. Has that changed? (ex-Santana, etc)
“No, no. Like I said, we have areas we stay in. There are certain things that make sense and there are some things that if you really don’t think is going to move the needle that much, and look, I never specifically addressed the Santana scenario but the only thing that I can say about that is, people make it like we were getting Santana for free. Money was going to be spent on Santana. How that payment was going to be structured, when it was going to come out, but money was coming out of the bank account of the Toronto Blue Jays. That money was being spent and it was an add. So, how things are structured, just like we’ve done certain contracts, or how the Marlins did their contracts.

“I think people lose sight of the fact that we were still adding payroll at that point and we had the go ahead. There may be reasons to
structure things certain ways and obviously some of those things are internal. We’ve been able to add payroll, we may need to be creative, we may need to do some things but we’ve been able to add payroll when needed.”

On whether he’s content with starting depth outside of the current five…
“I would hope so. You’re always hoping. Sanchez pitched today and gave up some runs but you’re looking for other things. I think he got 12-1 groundball to fly. He went six innings but gave up six runs. You’re hoping for him it clicks at some point. Obviously a guy like Stroman we’re very high on and we think he can certainly factor in for us and I think the next time he is here he’ll be that much better having already gone through it. And look, you see it with the guys like the Pillars, the Goses, you want to get those firsts
out of the way for the young kids.

“And Morrow, I think Morrow is a wild card as well. We expect him back around the All-Star Break, we’ll have more of a report by the end of June. If he’s going to be around the All-Star Break, by late June he should be going out on a rehab assignment. I think it can
actually time well because, again, I remember the deals we’ve done before the trade deadline, we did the Yunel Escobar deal and that was early, that was being really aggressive, most times, even the Colby Rasmus deal I think was right after the (All-Star Break) we had a lot of dialogue before. By that time, we’ll know that much more. There may be other needs on this team, maybe we didn’t perform well in June and that changes things. Morrow’s recovery, the development of guys like Stroman, Sean Nolin should be back from a groin (injury), what if he starts to click and things like that. We’re a long ways, so much can change in the next six weeks or eight weeks really.”

On performance of current rotation…
“Obviously they’ve performed well. I haven’t looked at the stats but I think I read or heard that all five starters have ERAs below four right now so does that continue? Who knows but for the most part, I was telling somebody today and I said this last year, I know I sounded like a broken record, we were 14th in starter ERA and the won-loss reflected it. I think we’re fifth in the American League and we’re performing well and if you look at it, I think the top five in the AL last year, four of those teams were playoff teams or won the division and so on. There’s a correlation, there’s no doubt about it, and for us it’s going to be key. I know the offence has been great, we’re hitting home runs and it’s been fun to watch but we will go as far as our rotation takes us, there’s no doubt about that.”

The payroll range that you previously mentioned, does that include the draft?
“No, No. Those are separate. Big-league payroll is totally separate than other areas, they’re not linked. You have a total baseball operations budget but payroll is payroll, draft is draft, development is development and all that kind of stuff.”

On whether there’s a scenario he’d try to save money in the draft and use it on additions for the 25-man roster….
“I think the draft is something that’s always very important to us. It’s something that you can never neglect. It’s just so key, it’s so important especially with where some of the salaries have been going, free agency and things like that. The draft is always going to be extremely important for us.”

So is this year any different then? From the previous ones you’ve had?
“No, it’s the same. We have two picks in the first round so that can impact things. But it all depends on what’s out there in the draft as well, what the opportunities are and things like that. We’ll see how it goes. I love the draft, I always get excited for it. It’s a fun week for us and I expect everything to be the same.”

Spending decrease in draft year-over-year of late…
“Number one, we didn’t sign the 10th pick. I think it was around a $3-million slot or right around there, $2.9, so right there you’re at the number. Part of it is where you sit. Did we have sandwich picks? Did we not have sandwich picks? Things like that. I do think with the changes to the draft, the CBA, the way bonuses are capped, the slotting, that can impact some things. I find some players, we would have loved to have sign some players that just were unwilling to sign. They wanted to go to school and you do have some limits if you don’t want to be penalized or go over slot.

“The dynamic has changed since the first year or two that we did it just because the rules are in place. We’re not going to spend for the sake of spending. The other thing is slotting has lowered some of the total dollars spent. After the 10th round, $100-thousand is now the max. The structure itself has impacted what teams are spending. I would say, as a whole, we’re probably spending less.”

If guys are unwilling to sign wouldn’t you get a sense of that beforehand?
“You do, but you know what, there’s so much gamesmanship. They’re not willing to sign, and then you do more work and if it’s the right number they are willing to sign. I remember last year there were two guys we would’ve loved to have had and they just really wanted to go to school. Their parents really wanted them to go to school. We loved the talent and we thought, round two, round three, they could be a factor for us. There was no dollar amount, they just really wanted to go to school.

“There’s times where kids say that, as you get close to the draft, all of a sudden things change. It could be for various reasons. Just because you might hear on May 15 someone wants to go to school, you don’t quit on it until really it comes time to draft. You’d be amazed too, the numbers that people throw out Day 1, their expectations and so on, that day comes, they sleep on it, reality starts to set in – ‘Oh, I didn’t get picked,’ or day two, you expected to go in the top three rounds, you didn’t get picked – now your bonus demands totally change. You wanted to go to school may have been a negotiating component, and then, ‘I want to play, I want to sign,’ and your tune changes. So you really can’t quit on keeping in contact and having information. That’s why your scouts are so important.”

Prioritize differently in higher rounds, college over HS, because of signing likelihood?
“Each year we try to get better. We tweaked some things from a philosophy standpoint. I wouldn’t necessarily divulge that specifically, but I do think we try to make adjustments from year to year. You hope you get better and you refine your process. I’m big on going back and looking at where we made mistakes and why. I am adamantly against the, ‘it happens, no big deal.’ Let’s take something from it and let’s see why we made a mistake and what can we change in our process. It’s a constant search to try to get it right.
That’s what’s so much fun about scouting.”

Would you draft someone you’ve drafted before?
“Sure, as long as that player signed the re-consent card. Tyler (Beede) signed it. If he’s there for us, and we have him lined up accordingly, we wouldn’t have a problem at all.”

Beeston talks current state of affairs

As promised yesterday, here is the transcript of a brief scrum with Blue Jays president Paul Beeston. It’s obviously much, much shorter than the 6,000-plus transcript of Alex Anthopoulos‘ media availability but there are still some interesting nuggets to take out of this:

Can you do an all-dirt infield?

“It’s not going to happen for the next five years, four years, or until we deal with the Argos situation. Because of the way the stands move, because of the fact it’s multi-purpose, that’s not going to happen. The way we’d like to see it is an all-grass field, we would put it in on March 1st and leave it there until the end of the baseball season. It can be done.”

Is there more money available for this team?

“In all honesty, I think we have to look at each case and whether or not it makes sense. We have a great owner. What I said before, we’ll spend money when the opportunity is right. The opportunity has been right before and we actually didn’t get the deal done. So, when Alex did this deal, and when he signed Melky Cabrera, the reality of the situation is that we had been down this path before. It didn’t get done, but we knew we had the support of Rogers and Rogers is 100% owners, they don’t have to go to anybody else.

“From the point of view, if there is more and it makes sense and you can improve the team I think the answer to that is yes. I don’t know that but I have absolutely no reason to say the answer is no. They have been terrific all the way along. We didn’t execute for a lot of different reasons.”

Learn lessons from the last spending spree (A.J. Burnett, B.J. Ryan, etc)?

“I don’t know if they learned, I learned. There’s no use in spending money just for the sake of spending money. There’s smart money and there’s dumb money. We want to spend smart money, we think we spent smart money. But we don’t start Spring Training until Feb. 15, we’ll find out whether it’s smart money or not at that time.

“But we actually believe we improved the club. Our goal is to be a team that wins on a sustainable basis. He didn’t give away the farm system but he gave away potentially great players in the sense of the way they project. And I think the reason we were able to do it, is the money that has been spent in the last three years in the farm system. I would think maybe Washington spent more than us, but I don’t know anyone else that spent more than us in the farm system.”

In terms of players or?

“In terms of dollars. We’ve been spending, $15,16,17-million a year. So from the point of view, the way that we would sign guys that we picked up as a sandwich pick, I think Sanchez came that way, Nicolino. So, I don’t have any question that Rogers …. (inaudible) … because I think Rogers wants to win but you can’t just go buy a team.

Last winter, you said in the three of next five years Toronto would make the postseason. Do you still stand by those comments?

“The way that question went, we had one-year, three-year, five-year, and I said two-to-three years actually and I still believe that. That’s the goal. We’re not spending this money guaranteeing we’re going to win, but we’re not spending this money expecting we’re going to be an also-ran either. That’s the truth.”

Whether TV deal for MLB helped the funds become available this offseason…

“No. The real reason is that we have to show the fans there’s a reason to come out. We have a lot of empty seats that we fill, we have a lot of suites that we can fill. We’ve got a lot of things that can generate revenue and we’ll put it back into the baseball team. I don’t worry about that, we can play with the big boys financially but we’re still going to spend smartly and we’re not going to have really long-term contracts. I like three years, now they’ve talked me into five, but I can’t see us going to like 10-year contracts.”

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