Chat with Alex Anthopoulos
Toronto's GM answers questions before his first home opener
Alex Anthopoulos: Happy Opener! Glad to join everyone!
broseau99: I didn't hear much about Kyle Drabek during Spring Training, does he have a shot of getting up hear during the season? Surely he can be as effective as Brian Tallet.
Alex Anthopoulos: Kyle looked very good in his short Spring Training stint with us. We've explained to Kyle that we still wanted him to work on some things from a developmental standpoint. That being said, even though he is in Double-A, he realizes he is only a phone call away. I remember a few years ago, we called up Jesse Litsch from New Hampshire when he was performing well.
badger81: I love these webchats! Quick question for you Alex. How close were you to bringing back Carlos Delgado a few months back? What level of impact do you think he can provide a team?
Alex Anthopoulos: We were never close to bringing Delgado back. We did have some scouts watch him play in winter ball, but we had some concerns with his hip. There is no question, when healthy, Carlos is one of the better middle-of-the-order bats in the game.
billybob29: Hey Alex, what's the word on Aaron Hill? Is he expected to start tonight?
Alex Anthopoulos: Aaron continues to feel better, but is not 100 percent yet. He's such a gamer that we have to fight to keep him out of the lineup. I will be meeting with him and our trainers later this afternoon to get an update.
tortown: What happens to Dana Eveland when Marc Rzepczynski returns?
Alex Anthopoulos: It's too early to tell right now what the rotation will look like come the middle of May [the expected return date for Zep]. If Dana continues to pitch like he did against the Orioles, I can't see him losing his rotation spot.
cgor: Is Tim Collins a legitimate prospect given his small size?
Alex Anthopoulos: Absolutely. J.P. Ricciardi did a great job in signing him. Tim was a non-drafted free agent that seemed to be passed over because of his size. J.P. went to take a look at him and told our scouts to sign him.
Johnny_Lee: What's this year's Draft targeting? Pitchers or position player? Or the best available?
Alex Anthopoulos: Always best player available. Things change quickly in baseball and what might seem like a need today, may be filled a year or two from now.
djs8: Alex, best of luck for the upcoming season and congrats on a great start! What education would be best for someone who wanted to work in the front office?
Alex Anthopoulos: I've always said the best way into a front office is through an internship. With respect to education, I would pursue something that you are passionate about.
thesyckid: Do you read any of the unofficial Blue Jays blogs? What do you think of them?
Alex Anthopoulos: Unfortunately, I don't have enough time to keep up with all of the social media. From time to time, if someone sees something interesting they might make me aware of it. I love the fact that we have such passionate fans that take their own time to run these sites though.
phoenix77: Hey Alex, how are you? I don't know if you saw Aroldis Chapman's line from yesterday with the Reds' Triple-A team, but it was pretty darn impressive. Do you regret not getting the player? Was it money or just a lack of information? And did you learn anything?
Alex Anthopoulos: It certainly was not money, as Paul Beeston and our ownership group were fully prepared to invest in the player. My regret lies in the fact that we didn't have enough information to be comfortable at the dollars required to sign the player. We were able to watch two bullpen sessions and unfortunately didn't come away with enough to feel comfortable about the $30 million investment. No question, with the way he looks so far, I think the Reds did a great job. The lesson learned from my perspective is that we will start the process on these types of players much earlier.
jasonx22: Scott Downs has been impressive and consistent for the past few years. He has been putting up closer-like numbers. Why is Jason Frasor the closer and not Scott Downs? They're both great pitchers, but Downs seems to be the clear-cut winner.
Alex Anthopoulos: We're very pleased with the depth of our bullpen. We feel as though all three of Downs, Kevin Gregg and Frasor can certainly close games for us.
camburcito: Hey Alex, what do you think about focusing scouting on Venezuela, given the fact that they do produce and have a lot of talent?
Alex Anthopoulos: I think Venezuela is absolutely an underappreciated Latin market. We have plans to be very aggressive in Latin America this season and in the years ahead.
dyimrey: After seeing the first six games, which position do you think is a loophole on the team's defense and what is lacking offensively?
Alex Anthopoulos: From an offensive standpoint, I feel as though we'll be able to hit some home runs, but will probably be lacking some in the on-base percentage department.
psyche6: Any progress in a search for a new manager? As with acquisition, not expecting any names, just will the process be ongoing all year? You are doing an amazing job. Keep trucking.
Alex Anthopoulos: We have plenty of time with respect to the manager search. We're going to take the season to do our due diligence on all candidates and will most likely conduct interviews in the offseason.
kanataguy: Good job with the teams so far. How often do you get other GMs asking about your players?
Alex Anthopoulos: I try to keep in touch with all the GMs as often as possible. Understandably, I most often get asked about our top young players. I'm often asking about the same type of players with other teams.
jfan4life: Are you going to take a different approach to drafting at all than in previous years, such as last year when we were able to sign so few of our top prospects?
Alex Anthopoulos: I think J.P. Ricciardi and Jon Lalonde did a great job with our Drafts. Just looking at some of our better young players, they were all drafted by J.P. and Jon. That being said, we're probably going to open it up a little bit with respect to our risk tolerance. Playing the American League East and reviewing both the lineups and pitching staffs, it is clear to me that we need to draft as many high ceiling players as possible.
frozzted: How hard is it to sign picks? Do teams really avoid players represented by Scott Boras?
Alex Anthopoulos: It all depends on the alternatives for the respective players. A high school player has a lot more options than a college senior. A player's adviser certainly can impact negotiations as well. From our perspective, especially in the top three rounds where we can get our Draft pick back if we don't sign the player. We need to set a value for the player and do our best to sign him, while also maintaining our value system.
henry36: Hello Alex. Brad Mills pitched an excellent game for Triple-A Las Vegas. Where does he fit into Toronto's long-term plans?
Alex Anthopoulos: Brad had a very encouraging first start. He made a mechanical adjustment this Spring and went back to pitching slightly across his body, as he did in 2008. He certainly is someone that we view as a potential call-up should we need a starting pitcher.
fan_in_ny: Given the Jays' pitching depth throughout the farm system, if early success continues in 2010, would you be willing to supplement the roster with more offense through trade?
Alex Anthopoulos: Absolutely. It is something that we have discussed a lot internally. That being said, as much depth as we may feel we have right now, it can change very quickly when it comes to health of pitchers.
freezer85: Most people respected every move you made this offseason except one -- the Kevin Gregg signing. Was there something in particular that you liked about him, or is there something we're not seeing in terms of relievers and their market value?
Alex Anthopoulos: Though Kevin did not have his best season last year, we felt as though for the dollars committed that he provided good value for us. He's had experience as a closer, he is a tremendous leader in the clubhouse and also provides depth at the closing position for a young staff. The other aspect that we liked about his contract were the club options, and alternatively, if we elected not to pick them up, we projected Kevin to be a Type-B free agent -- which could potentially net us a first-round Draft pick.
fanofjays6: If you want a player on some other team, what is the process that you take with that team's GM to go about trying to get that player?
Alex Anthopoulos: All kinds of ways. Sometimes it's a phone call or an e-mail or a text message. Most times, I actually prefer to call, as phone calls may lead to other discussions I may not have anticipated.
jswizz: Do you enjoy being the Blue Jays GM?
Alex Anthopoulos: Its a great honor. But, not one that will ever get to my head. I tell our staff this all the time; the Blue Jays are a social institution and we are fortunate enough to be the stewards of the franchise. That in itself, is a tremendous responsibility and one that neither myself nor the baseball operations team takes lightly.
bleedjays1: Have you gotten a feel yet on this year's amateur Draft; do you agree with a lot of baseball scout sites saying it is very low on positional player talent?
Alex Anthopoulos: I've been out seeing a lot of players for the Draft. It seems as though pitching is definitely the strength of this Draft.
the_rmc: How does the division you play in affect the way you build your team?
Alex Anthopoulos: It has a major impact on everything that we do from a philosophical standpoint. If you just breakdown all the AL East teams and the talent level, both from a position player standpoint and a pitching standpoint, the road map then becomes clear. We need to have impact players at all positions in order to be a championship caliber team.
drabekfan: Hey Alex. Kenneth Wilson is off to a pretty good start at Lansing. He has an average over .300 and has shown a good eye for plate. Coming out of high school, he is said to be one of these athletes that needs to be turned into a baseball player.
Alex Anthopoulos: We're excited about Kenny Wilson. He just recently started to switch hit and his left-handed swing is really starting to come around. He has as much speed and athleticism as anyone in the system.
dizzle4: We hear a lot of stories about the players you may be trying to move in order to acquire more of the young, controllable talent you're seeking. What's the biggest difficulty you find working with other GMs to pry away their prospects in exchange for someone.?
Alex Anthopoulos: Understandably so, teams are reluctant to give up young, controllable players. They provide tremendous flexibility when building a roster.
ardesh: How do you go about evaluating the character of a player, if that is even a consideration?
Alex Anthopoulos: It's a very important consideration, and often a separator between players succeeding and not succeeding.
OKGOJAYS85: How will you be celebrating your first home opener as the new GM?
Alex Anthopoulos: Hopefully shaking Cito's hand after a WIN!
jaysfan1922: How committed is Rogers when it comes to providing money for big name players?
Alex Anthopoulos: Extremely committed. I have yet to be told that we did not have the finances to sign someone when presenting an opportunity to Paul Beeston. Anytime I have gone to Paul and made my case for acquiring a player that would significantly add to our payroll, his number one focus is always if it makes the team better then he will support it. That philosophy is also conveyed to him from our ownership group.
Alex Anthopoulos: Sorry I couldn't get to everyone's questions today. To all the bosses that let their employees take 45 minutes and surf the web -- the Blue Jays appreciate it!! Thanks Everyone!
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.