Anthopoulos On Bautista, Romero, Boras, Draft

Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star sat down with Alex Anthopoulos as the GM enters his third season with the Blue Jays.  Here are some highlights from the interview..

  • Jose Bautista told Griffin that he was unaware of the club's policy of no deals being in excess of five years but was happy with the length of the deal he signed.  Anthopoulos says that contract length hasn't been an impediment for the club at any point as they haven't pursued a free agent who signed for more than five years.
  • Team president Paul Beeston was pushing a team policy that would limit position players to five year deals and pitchers to just three.  However, Anthopoulos says that he was ultimately able to convince Beeston to give Ricky Romero a five-year, $30.1MM extension in August 2010.  The GM believes that he won out largely because two of those years were pre-arbitration.  Anthopoulos cited this as an example of the club being both flexible and creative when it comes to deals.
  • Griffin notes that there seems to be a negative vibe towards Scott Boras clients within the Toronto organization.  Anthopoulos said that the club doesn't have any bias towards any agency and noted that he signed Boras clients such as Scott Schoeneweis, Josh Banks, and Guillermo Quiroz and drafted James Paxton.
  • AA believes that the CBA changes to draft spending will result in more high school kids going to college rather than jumping to the majors.  Anthopoulos also believes that the changes could be the first step towards a universal draft and acknowledged that there has been a great deal of chatter about that happening.

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37 Comments on "Anthopoulos On Bautista, Romero, Boras, Draft"

3 years 6 months ago

I predict the draft/cap will go vamoosh when the current CBA espires, as Selig should be gone by then and the majority of owners will realize the few teams that were talking up this charade are in a severe majority.

Even small market teams like the Rays and Pirates took advantage of the old system. it made too much sense the old way.

They can give Selig a framed, original copy of the document if he wants when they serimoniously burn another as it expires.

3 years 6 months ago

One can only hope. The whole strikes me a way to let the lazy and cheap owners continue being lazy and cheap without having to make excuses to their faltering fan bases.

Makes sense for someone like Selig, honestly, who was always a poster child for such things when he was in Milwaukee.

3 years 6 months ago

The signing bonus cap for the amateur draft is actually not a bad idea, but it needs some revision.

The good part is that the players will be selected based on their talent, and not ‘signability’. An immediate consequence indicates that players are selected when they SHOULD be selected.

2004 Draft: the Padres passed on Justin Verlander because of signability issues, and instead wasted their #1 overall pick on Matt Bush

2011 Draft: Josh Bell should easily have been picked in the 1st round, however, signability issues caused him to slide into the 2nd round. Furthermore, the $5m dollar signing bonus was ridiculous; that type of bonus is reserved for the 1st round.

The bad part would be an obvious loss of fringe high school prospects. Signing bonuses in the latter stages of the draft are significantly reduced, so it might result in many fringe high school prospects to go to college.

Ultimately, I don’t foresee a real drop in talent in the first 3 rounds because the signing bonuses are still very competitive when compared to other sports (ex. football and basketball).

Both the teams and players lost their ability to leverage their situations, but comparatively, it looks like the individual teams now have the advantage.

3 years 6 months ago

 Those 2 examples you stated (verlander and Bell) are rare issues. Strassburg is one who the nationals ponied up for and a team who wants to go out and get the top talent WILL pony up for it.

Limiting the amount will send players to colleges is a fct, not a bargaining chip at all and teams prefer to train players themselves.. NOT rely on colleges, where they have to retrain bad habits, n many cases 3 years later that have been ingrained.

Let me give you a GOOD example.. Catchers.. HS catchers is one case where most teams prefer to draft HS talent over college where they are spending top picks, or top dollar if overslot money and expect to get anything out of them. Now I am not saying *all* the time, but many times. bad habits with catchers is something that takes awhile to get out of their heads.

3 years 6 months ago

Did you even read my comment carefully?

I explicitly said, “The bad part would be an obvious loss of fringe high school prospects.”

Even then, the overall level of talent won’t decline too sharply.

More HS kids will now college, but does it necessarily mean that they will convert to another sport (ex. football)? Not necessarily.

*I will use football as example of another sport, but the idea is analogous any sport*

The biggest weaknesses in the arguments is the assumption that a college kid WILL switch from baseball to football and WILL be talented enough to participate in the NFL Draft.

And really, only 1st and 2nd round draft picks in the NFL are guaranteed a substantial signing bonus. MLB is similar in that regard; signing bonuses really drop off beyond the second round.

So while more HS kids will go to college, it is a BAD ASSUMPTION to believe that a substantial number of them will convert to another sport.

And I reiterate, “both the teams and players lost their ability to leverage their situations, but comparatively, it looks like the individual teams now have the advantage.”

3 years 6 months ago

How would it only affect fringe prospects wanting to play in the NFL even then in that scenario then.

The loss of multi sport bonuses is gone under the new CBA, so now, they cannot compete with.. As you suggest in the example the NFL for multi talented athletes by spreading out bonuses and that hurts all teams also.

Let me just throw out 1 team here (as another example) who has gotten major talent the last 3 seasons away from major college football programs that would have not signed for baseball otherwise and you might recognize these prospects names:

Casey Kelly: Was Boston’s best prospect and now one of the padres after being moved in the Gonzalez deal.
Was a QB commit a UTenn before a 3m bonus.

Brandon Jacobs: Took 3/4m to get him away from a running back commit out of Auburn in 2009. Now another of Boston’s best prospects.

Kendrick Perkins: Took Boston 600k to get him out of a Texas A&M commit last year.

Each were overslot (by a long shot) bonuses to get these kids out of football commits. that is just 1 team and ppl can think of right away.

Baseball has been losing enough over the decades to various levels of football, whether it is pro, or college at the fan levels. why give them the talent also for the sake of a few teams that refuse (under any circumstances) that just refuse to spend?

3 years 6 months ago

I can’t comment on the Brandon Jacobs example because I’m not familiar with his case, however, in the other two scenarios described, there are flaws in your new argument.

In the new CBA, guys drafted in the 1st round will still be allocated nearly $2m in signing bonuses.

Do you HONESTLY believe that a HS kid (ex. Casey Kelly) will reject a $2m signing bonus in the MLB Draft, just to go play college football so that he can MAYBE increase that signing bonus figure in the NFL Draft? 

Even then, only 1st round selections of the NFL draft can actually receive more than $3m in signing bonuses. 2nd round selections usually receive between $2m – $3m.

So really, unless guys like Casey Kelly are projected to be 1st round selections in the NFL, all this talk about loosing talent to football is BS.

For the case of Kendrick Perkins, he slid to the 6th round of the MLB Draft because of his ‘interest’ in playing college football. In reality, anyone could sign him. Just make sure to select him during the 3rd round. Nothing special.

So it simply comes down to this question:
Will HS kids choose to play college football over their guaranteed million dollar signing bonuses from baseball, in hopes of getting more money in the 1st round of the NFL Draft?

Situations are not guaranteed to unfold as I described, but logic dictates that you take the guaranteed money now. If you believe otherwise, then that’s your opinion. I respect it, but we’d have nothing left to discuss.

3 years 6 months ago

 LT reality is what it will take for some small market thinkers to actually occur and set in.. I didn’t even name all the players, but yes..It happens and does.

In 5 years, when enough people/players decide to skip baseball from HS and think they will be better off (and most will with an education) to play college sports and try the NFL/BB draft, it will be plain for some who think like you do even to see.. The few teams who refuse to spend on the draft.

The current draft cap will not last, there are not enough Houston Astro’s in the game who did not use the past system thank goodness to their advantage and Selig’s pet project will be gone with him.

3 years 6 months ago

What i don’t get is how capping a teams entire minor league spending will help with overall competitive balance.

I can see some wisdom in attempting to curtail individual player bonuses for fear they spiral out of control like they did in the NFL for years. That hurts small market teams if the best players get too expensive.

What makes absolutely no sense to me is basically making what the Rays, Rangers, Padres and numerous other clubs have done to make themselves relevant, I.E. investing heavily in their minor league talent pool instead of over-paying mediocre free agents, And making that punishable by loss of draft picks.

The whole system strikes me as completely ***-backwards because it’s depriving teams of the ability to use what’s proven to be the best equalizer in the game : scouting and development. The teams that use it well have prospered even in small markets, and the teams in big markets that haven’t (like the Cubs for so many year) are the ones desperately trying to catch up.

3 years 6 months ago

What people fail to realize about the CBA is that BOTH teams and players are loosing leverage.

HS players can no longer threaten teams with the traditional excuse, ‘pay me more money or else I’ll go to college’.

You mentioned the Padres in your example. Guess what? In 2004, the Padres passed on Justin Verlander because they knew they couldn’t afford him, and instead opted to pick Matt Bush with the #1 overall selection.

Now small teams can respond, I can only pay you this much money. Why? Because that’s what I can afford, and because I have spending limits to adhere.

Players can either take it or leave it. They can’t negotiate for more money. Outliers (*ahem* Josh Bell *ahem*) will no longer exist.

And conventional wisdom says that most 18 year-olds are willing to take signing bonuses in the hundred-thousands to the millions, as opposed to going to college.

Today, small market teams will no longer fear the traditional ‘signability’ issues that plagued them in the past.

If you do some research, the limit for each pick is actually competitive with the current data.

3 years 6 months ago

You miss my point, i think. I said capping individual player salaries, or at least slowing their growth, is a good idea.

What i don’t like is the idea of capping the total amount a team can spend on it’s entire scouting depeartment for a year. that, to me, in ridiculous.

I’ll give you an example from my Cubs, since i know them best and it won’t cause a fight.

Matt Szczur was a 2 sports star at Vanderbilt. He probably could have been drafted o play in the NFL. Because of this, most teams passed on drafting him in the 1st round even though he has the talent for it. The Cubs then came in at a later round and offered up a handsome signing bonus, something like half a million dollars, to get him to commit to baseball.

500,000 dollars is not going to break the back of any club. hell, a million isn’t, since this stuff doesn’t count against revenue sharing. But now, since you’ve only got so much to spend total, a lot of teams simply can’t risk losing a draft pick next year to do it. So, under the new system, Szczur would be in the NFL right now since the entry level money is better.

You mention Verlander and how the Padres were frankly too cheap to give him no. 1 money. Okay, that’s the Padres choice to make, sure. But they passed on a pretty sure thing starting pitcher and drafted a dud instead. This saved them what, a few million, maybe? Money they could then turn aorund and maybe, maybe sign a really bad free agent started or a mediocre reliever for 2 years?

‘signability’ is just an excuse by those who simply don’t understand basic economics. If you don’t want to pay bargain bin prices for potential superstars at draft time, Fine. It’s your money… but it’s NOT going to make your team any better.

on the flip side the Tigers, who were just wretched the year before, went in with the attitude of getting the best players possible… not saving money. The Tiger at the time were not a top-10 team in terms of revenue, but the owner wanted to put a good product on the field, not a cheap one. So he ponied up a little extra to get the best talent. Again, we’re talking a few million dollars here… the price of a back-up infielder, roughly.

So, to summarize : Sure, do everything you can to keep player prices reasonable (reasonable, not dirt cheap), But give any club that’s serious about winning a way to actually do it…. besides the good old-fashioned ‘yankee way’ of blowing billions on the best free agents.

The system we had before Selig stepped in was clearly working… the system we have now honestly seems designed to push baseball back to the horrifically uncompetitive days of the 1990’s….

3 years 5 months ago

‘Signability’ isn’t always an excuse. Often, players will demand more money than their value, and teams are left handcuffed. After investing all their time and money scouting the players, what are they suppose to do? Cave in to the player’s demand or leave him unsigned? Teams don’t like to see their efforts wasted so they end up pouring extra money than they should.

Now obviously there exist cheap owners, and in that case, they use signability as an excuse.

The new system is designed to be competitive with spending amount from recent years. Teams can be designed to spend anywhere from $4m to $11m, which aligns fairly well with the money spent in 2010 and 2011.

Now I’m not saying this system is good, but it’s better than what existed before. If MLB wants to further improve the rules, they should relax the penalties and increase the draft values.

James Attwood
3 years 6 months ago

I’m still waiting to see how the new draft rules set down by the CBA hold up when the next Mark Prior – type pitcher comes along after three years of college. No major league deals allowed for draftees? One has to believe that at SOME point, someone is going to come along and want to challenge that portion in the courts.

3 years 6 months ago

1 – All those Fielder rumors going to Jays was completely nonsense as AA clearly says they never pursued FA who signed for more than 5 years.

2- This seems like an early preparation for the fans when the Jays won’t be signing Votto or any other big name FA out there.

3 years 6 months ago

That’s too bad. I’d love to see Votto end up w/ the Jays, but he’s obviously going to look for (and get) a 5+ year deal.

Then again, the Phillies used to have a 3 year limit for pitchers, and now they’ve got Halladay and Lee locked up for more, and will hopefully have Hamels locked up for awhile too. So who is to say the Jays won’t go beyond 5 for the right player.

3 years 6 months ago

Or he becomes the exception like Romero was before (in terms of changing their philosophy on contract length). I’m not holding my breath though

3 years 6 months ago

I don’t think the book’s completely closed on Votto.

AA and Beeston have been consistent in that they have been saying that the money is available for when it’s needed.  The Jays can do a lot to open that checkbook by putting together an incredible season.  If we’re legitimately only a few pieces away from winning, which has been far from the truth for a long time, the Jays’ FO might surprise us…

And wouldn’t it be exciting if it did?

Kid Canada
3 years 6 months ago

They drafted Paxton but I’m fairly certain they didn’t sign him.

3 years 6 months ago

Yea, it’s a lie. Jays FO hates Boras, and his clients.

3 years 6 months ago

James is with Seattle

Encarnacion's Parrot
3 years 6 months ago

Beeston needs to go.

3 years 6 months ago

If Beeston truly is sticking to this 3 year for pitchers and 5 year for pos players, then yah, send him packing.  He is hindering AA from being able to do his job properly.  If the Jays refuse to budge from the 3 and 5 year rule, they will never compete.  Times are changing, the Toronto Blue Jays organization needs to aswell.

3 years 6 months ago

well they already broke the 3 year rule for romero… 

i really dont think there’s a set in stone policy or anything, its just that to this point there hasnt been a deal of huge size that they’ve been willing to sign. the club is just not yet in the position to take on that kind of risk with the development of the team only partially complete. 

under the right context, i think they break “their policy” without issue.

Trout Almonte
3 years 6 months ago

Hmmm…  So Anthoupoulos is an alternate spelling of Ricciardi? Pretty sure Schoeneweis, Quiroz and Banks were there only during the Ricciardi days.

3 years 6 months ago

AA was the assistant GM

Trout Almonte
3 years 6 months ago

“noted that he signed Boras clients ”

Pretty sure assistant GMs don’t sign players.  What’s next? He saying that he acquired Troy Glaus and Lyle Overbay?

3 years 6 months ago

Assistant Gm’s have plenty of duties

in fact AA made Aaron Hill’s extension (not that, that should be an accomplishment or something)

3 years 6 months ago

With MLB’s CBA draft rules in effect for this years draft, the Jays have roughly 9 million to sign 14 picks in the first 10 rounds.  I’m pretty sure the Jays will not exceed the dollar value slotting assigned to each draft pick they have, unless they are able to sign some of their 14 picks for less and using the freed up cash to go for high end talent in the draft.  I read somewhere that teams can trade their bonus dollars.  It will be interesting to see what AA’s strategy will be since the Jays in the past two years have gone for high end talent with big risk (highschool kids).  So far I have not seen any team trade their bonus dollars but if I were AA I would be targeting teams that have a large amount of bonus dollars to spend and are cash strapped. 

3 years 6 months ago

Why would Toronto set a policy like that? Each player comes with a unique set of circumstances. You give out deals based on that certain individuals situation, not on past precedents. Thats just stupid. 

3 years 6 months ago

Its there way of being cheap..

Its like if the Tampa rays made a policy of not paying anyone more than 10 million a year..

Its a policy out of necessity not actual belief

3 years 6 months ago

It’s probably all baloney in the end anyways. This 5 yr limit is just like saying they have a cap on AAV as well, since the kind of player that signs for that term is just not one that they are in the position to acquire anyways. I don’t think you can say it’s really being cheap, since they are ready to make exceptions, but it’s probably just something for the fans to hang their hats on when P. Fielder signs 10/250 somewhere else. They don’t want any contracts like that. Just them saying they will not go bananas over some marquee free agents.

3 years 6 months ago

i’m not so sure it’s a terrible policy…. if it’s flexible.

very few 6+ year deals wind up being worth the money after the first 5, with the rest being tacked on basically as a retirement account for the player in question. Most clubs in Baseball know this, which is why Pujol’s contract includes the personal service clause at the end so the Angels can still make money off him even if his last few years are terrible, for example.

This might cost the Blue Jays a few elite players like Prince Fielder, But i don’t think any of us actually expect him to be worth the money 6 years from now either, so you can argue the Jays are better off investing the money in several players.

That said, if the Jays treat this as an absolute policy rather than a negoitation position, then it could be very problematic… though the Romero deal seems to signify that it’s not carved in stone somewhere.

3 years 6 months ago


3 years 6 months ago

James Paxton was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the first round (37th overall) of the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft. However, Paxton did not sign with the Blue Jays opting to return to Kentucky for his senior season. The NCAA ruled him ineligible stemming from his contact with agent Scott Boras. [9]

3 years 6 months ago

I don’t blame Beeston on being conservative about long contracts. (see J.P. Riccardi)

3 years 6 months ago

I love Bautista I will not miss a single game, heh! who has NGL HOCKEY on the iPod,iPhone,or iPad

3 years 6 months ago

 Wayne Garland says Hi..

The amount now might sound trivial.. But when FA 1st started? mediocre pitchers, capitalizing from 1 20w season out of the blue like he did and then fading back in mediocrity the next year and then signing a 10 year 2m contract was a major payday in 1977.

Poor Garland.. Won 20 games, then led the league in losses the next year (19) then was hurt the rest of the year before retiring for good (81) and collecting the rest of his money from 82-86 without ever putting a uniform on…

I think that could qualify as a terrible contract…