Recently, Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star sat down with Blue Jays General Manager Alex Anthopoulos and touched on a number of topics. Here are some of the highlights from their chat..
- The Blue Jays wouldn't have made a deal for R.A. Dickey had they not completed the Marlins blockbuster first. In Anthopoulos' view, the club would not have been "one R.A." away from contending without the likes of Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, and Josh Johnson in the fold.
- Anthopoulos feels as though he paid a steep price to land Dickey, but that it was worth it given that he was the final piece in helping to push the club to an elite level. The Blue Jays weren't interested in fortifying the rotation with a No. 3 or 4 starter but instead wanted Dickey at the top of the rotation to push everyone else down a peg.
- From a trade standpoint, Anthopoulos says that he has learned over the years to have less balls in the air and to focus on the one or two deals that have a realistic chance of happening. That narrowed scope, he says, helped make the blockbuster deal with the Marlins a reality.
- Within the organization, opinions were split on the deal with the Marlins, but AA ultimately had the final say and pulled the trigger. Feelings were similar on the five-year, $64MM extension that Jose Bautista signed with the club, but the GM ultimately pushed that through as well.
- Griffin asked Anthopoulous if he believes that changes to the draft and international free agent signing rules were directed at creative GMs such as himself, but he doesn't see it that way. However, AA notes that the new cap for international spending hurts teams like the Blue Jays that have opted to shed big league payroll in order to free up money.
- Anthopoulos is glad that the team has purposely stayed away from giving expensive, overly-lengthy deals to free agents. While Reyes and Buehrle both have "free agent contracts", he's comfortable with them because of their talent level. In the case of Reyes, he's the only player on the team with five years to go on his deal and he's just 29 years old, not 32 or 33.
- Even if the Marlins deal didn't take place, the Blue Jays still would have chosen John Gibbons as manager.
- There has been less change in the Blue Jays' front office lately than in years past and Anthopoulos attributes that to increased stability in the organization rather than his own increased comfort level.