Jays continue to explore options on Day 2
Groundwork could pave way for moves after Winter Meetings
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Alex Anthopoulos kept a relatively low profile on Day 2 of the Winter Meetings at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort.
The Blue Jays general manager continued to work behind the scenes on ways to improve his club, but when he met with reporters late Tuesday afternoon, it did not appear any major moves were imminent.
"It seems to me, a lot of times, you may not always get things done here," Anthopoulos said. "You come out of these meetings with a lot of information and you start to really get a sense of what is realistic and what isn't. Sometimes there's a spillover the following week or the week after that."
Anthopoulos officially finalized a major trade on Day 1, when he sent right-hander Shaun Marcum to the Brewers for top prospect Brett Lawrie. The groundwork for that, though, had been put in place before either organization had arrived in Central Florida.
Now, the 33-year-old GM is looking at exploring other options across the Major Leagues. His club needs help at the back end of the bullpen and at least one, if not two, infielders to fill out the lineup.
"There are a lot of irons in the fire," Anthopoulos said. "Could something happen when we're here? Sure. But at the same time, I wouldn't be surprised if we come away not having [done] anything."
Most of the rumors surrounding the Blue Jays came to a grounding halt Tuesday. One day after being linked to everyone from first baseman Carlos Pena to No. 1 starter Zack Greinke, a lot of that talk has subsided -- at least for now. The biggest name mentioned in rumors on Day 2 was left fielder/first baseman Matt Diaz.
Anthopoulos is aware of the talk that has been surrounding his ballclub in recent days, but he says the vast majority of the rumors have been completely baseless. Although he wouldn't get into specific names, Anthopoulos did share one example.
"I read on the Internet that we were going after a certain player and that we were deep into negotiations," Anthopoulos said. "A few hours later, his agent called me and said, 'Hey, do you have interest in so and so?'"
"I said, 'Hey I read the stuff on the Internet, too. No.' So that just speaks volumes."
Anthopoulos takes complete ownership over the rumors that have been running rampant in recent days. He has implemented a club policy of not discussing potential acqquistions with the media and he understands that it makes his club an easy target for the rumor mill. But he has a key reason for doing it.
"There's no question that 100 percent of it is on me because I don't give a lot [of information]," Anthopoulos said. "It's just because I know that I follow certain things on the Internet and if I'm reading that a certain player is going somewhere I may make a call and get involved. Then, all of a sudden that deal -- that was getting close -- totally slowed up because I jumped in. I've seen deals fall apart like that."
"I had been kicking tires on Brett Lawrie forever -- that [didn't] come out," Anthopoulos said. "I find the names that are coming out are tires that I haven't even put my hands on."
Anthopoulos occasionally has to spend time defusing various rumors behind the scenes, but he wouldn't go as far as describing that process a nuisance. Being an avid fan of other sports as well, he understands this is part of the business. The media speculates on a lot of possibilities because that's the type of information a lot of fans want to hear about.
"If I'm a fan, I want to read about the Blue Jays," Anthopoulos said. "I want to read about who they might be after because that's part of the fun. I understand it wholeheartedly, and if I could say it and it wouldn't impact our ability to sign players or make trades, then I would be glad to do it. But I know that it does."
Despite all of the speculation, there are a few things that are relatively certain about the Blue Jays' plans for the offseason. The club is in need of a third baseman and most likely a first baseman, which would allow Adam Lind to fill the designated hitter role that better suits his current skill set.
The only way the club switches either Jose Bautista or Aaron Hill to fill the hole at third base is if Toronto acquires a very significant player that warrants such a move.
To fill the gaps on the roster, Anthopoulos is actively exploring options through free agency and trades. Right now, both scenarios appear to be viable options.
"If there's not a lot of separation in our minds in terms of performance and talent and it's close, then you take the one that's available at the best price," Anthopoulos said.