In a wide-ranging talk with the media (transcript courtesy of MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm), Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos hit on a number of interesting topics regarding his organization. Among the highlights:
- Defense has been an issue for the Blue Jays this season, as they rank 26th in errors and fielding percentage and 25th in terms of UZR. Acknowledging the problems, Anthopoulos suggested that the team will "evaluate [defense] even more than we have" and place "even more value on it" going forward. "I don't think these guys are trying to make mistakes," said Anthopoulos. "I think ultimately then it falls on me to get certain players that are going to start to make those plays."
- Looking at the club's rotation in the near future, Anthopoulos said that he plans to "be looking outside the organization to see if we can do things." He also expressed hope that younger arms like Drew Hutchison, Kyle Drabek, and Brandon Morrow can ovecome their respective setbacks in the near future. Minor league starters Marcus Stroman and Sean Nolin could both receive call-ups later this year, added the Jays' GM. Meanwhile, veteran Josh Johnson has struggled long enough that the club will "have to look at alternatives at some point if this continues," with Johnson's rotation spot potentially at risk. (Anthopoulos said that the righty is only "start to start at this point.")
- The club's other most pressing area of need is at second base, said Anthopoulos. While he believes that Brett Lawrie could handle the keystone, Anthopoulos indicated that "second base looks like it will be easier to fill" through the trade or free agent market.
- Anthopoulos expects the club's salary levels to remain high ("we won't be going backwards") and says ownership will continue to provide the financial resources to support a contending ballclub. He noted that, other than Jose Reyes, the team's future contract commitments generally only run through 2015.
- Reflecting on August waiver and trade season, Anthopoulos said that too much is often made of a team placing a player on waivers. "If certain All-Stars get claimed, I just think if you didn't see them traded by the end of July they're probably not going to get traded. Guys that are free agents, guys with big contracts, those are the only ones that I think should be big stories." Anthopoulos went on to explain that the club's policy of putting all of its players on waivers after the trade deadline has never caused any clubhouse issues, with the possible exception of the Alex Rios claim back in 2009.