Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Don't Call It A Fire Sale

After announcing John Gibbons as the new Blue Jays manager, Alex Anthopoulous made an appearance on Prime Time Sports with Bob McCown and Stephen Brunt and gave arguably his most candid interview since he became the Blue Jays GM.  The usual character who said much, yet said nothing, was no where to be found.  Anthopoulos talked about the Marlins trade, and bring back John Gibbons.  

Of course the deal with the Marlins was the big topic of the day, and Anthopoulos went into surprising detail about how the trade went down.  It started with Anthopoulos asking about Josh Johnson and feeling the Marlins asking price was too high and it just went from there. Then came Buehrle and Reyes, with AA tossing Bonifacio in with every trade proposal before the Marlins finally relented and offered up Bonifacio. The last sticking point ended up being Jeff Mathis for John Buck, which may not seem like a big deal (especially with the Jays receiving 4.5 million to offset salaries) but Mathis provides so much to a team that doesn't show up in the numbers, but finally Anthopoulos relented and the deal was completed.  I love the fact that Anthopoulos had A) The common sense not to let Mathis hold up trade and B) Considers loyalty when it comes to a situation like this. The Jays do not wish to become the Marlins. This was not a fire-sale by Miami where everyone was on the block. Anthopoulos worked at this and talked them into parting with them, contrary to popular belief according to what Alex was saying.

Anthopoulos gushed about Gibbons and his baseball mind, but the one thing that stood out was the great working relationship they have.  In the present where analytic reports are becoming a larger and larger part of the game, it's an extremely underrated part of dealing with a front office. Gibbons is someone who can understand and act upon what the data says, and thus relieves tension between front office and those on the field.  Alex had always thought about Gibbons for some sort of role with the club, but until he talked with him on Sunday, he didn't realise how much sense Gibbons made for this team at this time.  He also said that hiring Gibbons is the most confident he's been in a transaction he's made.

As someone who believed Gibbons got a raw deal in his first sting as manager when he was fired, this pleased me greatly that Anthopoulos would have the openness to go back to the past.  Alex knows more about what happened in that club house and with J.P. Riccardi then any of us will ever know, and I believe that knowledge had some impact on his ability make this move with Gibbons and feel supremely confident in it.

Lastly, Anthopoulos admits that he's made moves based on optics before rather then his gut and that those are his biggest regrets. The fact that he may be over that, shown by the hiring of Gibbons and signing of Melky Cabrera, shows some definite growth in his ability as a GM.  

Its been a huge week for the Blue Jays and its only November, What does the rest of the off season have in store?


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  2. Good read, but I think there's one thing missing from your assessment of the Gibbons hire. I really think this is about AA's vision for this team and its ability to be carried out. Farrell had his own ideas about how to run a ballclub, which is fine in some cases I guess, but cohesion seems like a fantastic market inefficiency. Anthopoulos is now managing the team, much in the way Billy Beane did the A's in the Ken Macha years, and he got the guy who could allow him to do so.

  3. Very true. Part of the working with front office thing. GM and Manager really need to be able to mesh and bounce things off each other.