All right! Time to get serious about this season, and Jays in the future. Reading ‘Baseball Prospectus‘ I see that Jays GM Alex Anthopolous is already facing critics. Here is a little background on Anthoupolous, and the situation he faces for the upcoming season.
At the end of 2009 the Toronto Blue Jays went
the route of choosing a young, and up-and-coming General Manager, Alex
Anthopolous. Among Blue Jay faithful, Anthopolous is beginning to
become known as ‘AA’ out of conveinence for his large name.
AA took over the job in October of 2009 after working as an Assistant
GM apprentice to the J.P. Ricciardi for four years. Before that, AA had
been with the Montreal Expos and the Blue Jays as a scouting
coordinator since 2000.
AA is great young sucess story graduating from my Alma-matar,
McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, with an Economics Degree. At
23, he decided to pursue a career in the game. He became proactive,
calling organizations and looking for any way to get a foot in the
door. Finally, after getting a direct line to Expo GM Jim Beattie’s
office in Florida, he got his chance. Starstuck, AA says that he hung
up on Beattie the first time he called.
In his short time as GM, AA has inherited a team with many problems
seeking an innate desire to rebuild. Right from the beginning, it was
clear that AA had a new agenda than the previous GM that was said to
have ‘reign’ over all Front Office decisions. J.P. Ricciardi cut Blue
Jay scouting, and AA’s first instinct was to expand it, possibly
looking to go after ‘gem’ high-school prep players that the previous GM
was reluctant to take the risk on. Over Ricciardi’s tenure, he drafted
low-risk, low-reward college prospects that didn’t completely fail
(finding guys like Aaron Hill, Adam Lind and Ricky Romero) but they
were enough to deplete the depth in the Blue Jay’s farm system to where
they were rated #28 system in baseball.
The appease the public, and address this need, AA showed a committment
changing this by expanding the scouting staff and trading the Jay’s
most valuable commodity, Roy Halladay, for three top-level prospects
that instantly boosted the rating of the Jays system.
The rebuilding that every Jays fan is looking for has seemingly been
initiated with these moves. However, reading the recent issue of Baseball Prospectus
they consider the trading of top prospect Michael Taylor to the Oakland
Athletics for A’s top prospect Brett Wallace a fatal mistake by AA.
Baseball Prospectus evaluated Taylor as a player with much more
naturally gift skill, and having a higher-ceiling.
Wallace, a low-risk college phenonom at Arizona State, was ripped by
Baseball Prospectus for his athletic ability and they made fun of the
way scouts mocking called him ‘Walrus Boy.’ The Jays have notoriously
been critisized for showing a tendancy to disregard building their team
around speed and defense. Trading Taylor for Wallace only fuelled this
debate among Blue Jay faithful.
The current do not have a legitimate leadoff hitter, they have two slow
outfielders that have trouble making plays in the gap (Travis Snider
and Adam Lind) and third baseman with notorious defensive problems
(Edwin Encarnacion). Taylor, with speed and outfield range, would have
been able solve two of those problems. Instead, the Jays saw fit to get
a player that REALLY needs to ‘mash’ in order to play first base in
Altogether, AA has been critisized and commended for his initial
dealings with the Jays rebuilding plan. He continues build from within
while cutting payroll and improving his chance to reap the benefits
young players. It is the way in which he is doing it, which has been
Personally, I tend to agree with Baseball Prospectus. Taylor would have
been the option with more potential. However, looking at the Jays
current first base situation, they could use help in the area. Teiexia,
Youkilus, Pena and Atkins are what the Jays are up against at first
base. They haven’t had that ‘jumpstart’ in the middle of the order from
that position. I see both sides here, but I’m also skepitcal about how
Wallace with be able to hit, or field even considering his frame. I
believe, this deal could definitely backfire HUGE in AA face!
Do you agree Billy Beane swindled the Jays by acquiring Taylor for Wallace?
Does AA deserve to be ‘ripped on’ for the ‘Taylor/Wallace deal?
How important is it to have athletes on your team, as opposed to players that can ‘mash’?
My favorite player is now (not yet officially) a Phillie. I’ve been preparing myself for this. Now, I’m not going to do what everybody thinks that I am going to do … “AND JUST FLIP OUT” on this blog. All I want to know is ‘who is coming to the Jays?’ Who is coming?
Apparently, the Jays will be able to land prospects from both the Mariners and the Phillies in the three-way-deal. The Mariners get LHP Cliff Lee from the Phillies, making up for the injury ‘bust’ that was LHP Erik Bedard. Lee and King Felix should give the Mariners a pretty awesome rotation going into 2010.
The names being thrown around are Phillipe Aumont (Canadian pitching prospect), Michael Taylor (a Top 50 minor league prospect) and some catcher that I’ve never heard of before Travis d’Arnaud (a very young catcher that spend last season in A-ball). Though, we might not get any of these guys as nothing yet has been confirmed! So don’t take my word on it all yet!
*UPDATE: The players mentioned my not, in fact, be the players that are confirmed in the deal. These guys have just been thrown out there.* Strike everything I said about Aumont! Apparently, a much better pitching prospect named Kyle Drabek is in the deal?? I’ve striked-out Aumont! Taylor and Drabek in a deal for Halladay is more of what I expected would have come our way.
Michael Taylor is 3-4 years older than Aumont, and d’Arnaud. Despite this, he was selected in the same draft as both of them. Funny how the draft can work out that way. d’Arnaud and Aumont
were both first round picks, where Taylor was picked in the fifth
round. What does that tell you? That Aumont and d’Arnaud are probably
more intriging prospects right? That is absolutely NOT the case!
Taylor found his stride much earlier, hitting .330 and above, in both
single and double A ball the last two years. Taylor got a whiff at AAA in the International League last season, and didn’t fair bad hitting .282 in 110 ABs. Taylor hasn’t shown
outstanding power in the minors, however, he seems to be a dynamic
hitter that can also contribute with a high .On-Base Percentage. MILB
ranks Taylor #20 overall for prospects currently in the minors. He is
pretty much the ‘center-piece’ prospect in this deal, in my opinion. The other two are more mid-level guys that might pan out. Six foot six inches tall, Taylor looks to have the skills to play in the bigs. If he doesn’t, man does he have a lot to live up to!!!! The question with aquiring Taylor is are we getting the right guy? Ranked #24 in the minors is another Philadelphia outfield prospect named Dominic Brown. Current reports say the Jays could acquire either of them, whichever they prefer? Brown is a younger player that might develop more fruitful than Taylor?
Kyle Drabek is a young man that the Jays have coveted from the Phillies ever since the trade rumours started. I know that he had an unbelievable season last year playing for AA Reading. Drabek combined a 12-3 record with a 3.19 ERA between mid-A and AA ball (the majority of which was played in Reading). He was the 18th overall pick in the 2006 Draft. Minor League Baseball has him listed as the #26 prospect currently in the minors. If he was only one spot lower, I could say the Jays got two players in the Top 25. Darn! Oh well, I’m happy the Jays got him because he does seem promising, and he was the front office’s ‘man’ throughout this whole thing!
When I first saw Aumont pitch in the World Baseball Classic for Team Canada, I was very impressed with his arm. The young man, who was an 11th overall selection in the 2007 draft, has MLB heat! What he didn’t have, in my opinion, was great command. He is still a young guy, but from what I saw, the command was very poor. Command issues probably factored into Seattle converting Aumont into a minor-league-reliever for 2009. I fear Aumont may only be catorgorized as a pitcher with ‘closer-potential.’ Not the worst thing, but not nearly as great as the expectations that were layed on him being #11 pick. Regardless, the Jays get a strong arm, in Aumont, that can grow in the system. If he is the one included in the deal? lol! Too early to call at this point!
As I said earlier, I hadn’t read or heard about Travis d’Arnaud until today. He was a first-round pick, so the Phillies must have seen something in him to pick him that high. d’Arnaud had an average year in A-Ball last season, but did very well in (SS) short season ball. Young catching prospect, but nothing to get crazy about at this point.
My Favorite All-Time Blue Jay is Roy Halladay
So, I didn’t really flip out, or make this post unbearably depressing for both me and you. I also didn’t mess up, using the name **** Erectus again. That is good.
From here on, I willing be cheering for a team that I respect much less than before. For me, Halladay gave the Jays an identity. We had a dominant ‘ace’ that in years from now could easily be considered a ‘Hall of Famer’ in my opinion. He was the envy of many teams, players and coaches. For a team that has been struggling since 1993, it was a lone joy rooting for Halladay as he pitched, and watching win in ‘big games’ time and again. He is truly a master on the mound. His presence … regal.
I envy the Phillies right now, because ‘the man’ (Halladay) is going to absolutely pulversive and obliterate National League hitters.
I will end with a glimpse back to all the Photoshop work I’ve done on Roy Halladay over the years.