Davidi: Jays May Be In The Market For New President And CEO

beest

It’s been quite the 24 hours when it comes to the future of the Blue Jays front office. First it was Steve Simmons reporting that Alex Anthopoulos will be back in 2015, which was denied by Keith Pelley who told Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, “Our focus right now is on the current season and making the playoffs and not on what will or will not transpire in the off-season.”

And now Davidi has a report out saying that Blue Jays President and CEO Paul Beeston could be on his way out as it is believed his contract with the club expires at season’s end.

In the article Davidi points to the departures of most of Beeston’s inner circle and with his last connection to ownership Phil Lind set to retire at year’s end. Beeston however has remained tight-lipped about his future beyond this season.

It should be noted that Beeston had aligned with Boston Red Sox Chairman Tom Warner when the election for a new commissioner took place last week in Baltimore and there is speculation that if Warner had become the next commissioner that Beeston would have headed back to the MLB’s head offices.

It will make things interesting this winter as this little bit of news could affect Anthopoulos’ future, although if a new President were to come on board they could let AA finish out his last year of his contract and then have 2015 to decide whether a change would be necessary. It would be the same situation that happened when Beeston came back in 2008 as then GM J.P Riccardi had a year left on his deal and then was let go at the end of the 2009 season.

Davidi doesn’t mention any names of who could replace Beeston if he were to leave, although I could see a scenario where AA gets promoted to Club President and the Blue Jays wouldn’t be the first team to do that as the Indians promoted then GM Mark Shapiro in 2010. Anthopoulos started out in as a scouting co-ordinator for the Blue Jays in 2003 and had started out in the Expos mail room when he first got into a major league front office, he has worked his way up so the top job wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibilities.

As for Beeston, if he does leave, I’m not so sure that I’ll be sad to see him go. He’s the only one left from the glory days of the World Series years but his act has worn thin the last few years. Him telling the fan base that they would make the playoffs three of the next five years when the trades of 2012 were made at the time might have seemed like a possibility, but then to follow it up by saying over and over that the money will be there to help the team when they need it and then watching them not do anything in the off-season or at the trade deadline was the last straw.

Beeston also said last week that the payroll will go up in 2015 which it most likely will, the problem was though that most of it will go to raised due to players and arbitration eligible guys and most likely won’t be spent on Free Agent help.

I guess at best if Beeston goes, we can thank him for his service with the ball club and be thankful that he was the one instrumental in bringing back the original colour scheme and the updated “old” logo, it was long overdue.

It will make for a very interesting off-season so stay tuned.

AA Returning In 2015, How Is This News?

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Steve Simmons of the Toronto Star reported this morning that Alex Anthopoulos will be brought back for his sixth season as the General Manager of the Toronto Blue Jays.

In the article Simmons mentions John Gibbons future as uncertain as Simmons says that it’s assumed that Gibby is not under contract next season. That statement is wrong as Gibby has in his deal every January 1st that comes around that he is still employed by the Blue Jays and has another year automatically added to his deal.

As for AA coming back, how is this the big news that it has become? He’s done a good job with the resources or the lack there off that have been given him by ownership.

Sure AA wasn’t able to add anything at the trade deadline, well I guess we can count Danny Valencia as a deadline move. But AA has this team headed in the right direction with the young arms that are in the organization. It’s possible that the Jays rotation could include Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, Drew Hutchison and at some point next season Daniel Norris. All of the above named pitchers were drafted by Anthopoulos.

When Anthopoulos was named GM at the end of the 2009 season he had to rebuild the scouting department after previous GM J.P Riccardi had slashed and burned the scouting department. Anthopoulos was also masterful in ridding the Blue Jays of Vernon Wells albatross of a contract.

The one knock that could be said about Anthopoulos is the Blue Jays lack of positional depth outside of their pitching. Even before the 2012 deal with the Marlins their depth wasn’t very good and now I don’t believe it’s much better. Sure there is Dalton Pompey who was on other teams asking lists before the trade deadline, but he is a few years away yet.

Lets face it, as long as Paul Beeston is still the Blue Jays president AA will be the GM of the club and I don’t think it’s totally out of the realm of possibility that AA could be the future club president and perhaps someone in the front office gets promoted to GM.

But really, the bigger question should be when was the last time Steve Simmons broke any kind of Blue Jays news first?

Payroll Parameters And A Look At 2015

aa-beeston

Bob Elliot had an interesting line in an article in the Toronto Sun earlier this week.

Rogers Communications might prove us wrong about not giving general manager Alex Anthopoulos any cash to add at the deadline and the Jays could add a $10-million contract next week. Might it be a tad too late?

Say what?

Maybe Bob only said that because of what Paul Beeston had said earlier about payroll going up next year?

I’m not buying it on either fronts. Rogers seems more interested in profits than winning, simple as that. If they did care about winning maybe that statement would have been printed a month ago.

Looking at 2015, the Blue Jays payroll sits at 96 million, and that only includes seven players. The club has options on J.A Happ, Dustin McGowan, Brandon Morrow, and Adam Lind which are not included in those figures. Also not included are the arbitration eligible guys which is 11 players.

Also included in that 96 million is the 7.75 still owed to Ricky Romero for next season. The Blue Jays do hold a 13.1 million club option for 2016 with a $600 000 buyout for 2016. The Blue Jays have three years of club options on Sergio Santos who if the Jays pick up the options would make 6 million next season, 8 million in 2016 and 8.75 million in 2017. If the Blue Jays were to buy out the options it would cost them 750 000 per option.

Here is where the other options I mentioned get interesting. Morrow’s option for next season is a 10 million dollar club option, I would find it hard to believe that they pick up that option with the fact that Morrow has spent the majority of the last two season’s on the DL, it would cost the Jays a million dollars to buy out Morrow’s option and honestly it would be a drop in the bucket for the Jays to get some much-needed wiggle room.

McGowan’s option would pay him 4 million next season and I think the Blue Jays will pick up his option as he has become a key member of the Blue Jays bullpen, and as we have learned the last few years depth goes a long way getting a team through the season.

The true test is going to be if the Jays can or are willing to resign Melky Cabrera in the offseason. Melky who signed a two-year 16 million dollar deal is going to command much more than that. I would imagine somewhere in the 3/39 to 3/42 range and if the Jays were to make that happen then it pushes the payroll pretty close to where it sits now.

That’s also not including the two other Free Agents at the end of the season in Colby Rasmus and Casey Janssen. My best guess is that the Blue Jays let Rasmus walk at the end of the season and anoint Anthony Gose his replacement in center. I have a feeling that the Jays will try to resign Janssen, but his comments he made after the deadline have me believing that he could be elsewhere in 2015.

So perhaps the Jays payroll will go up in 2015, I have my doubts as have many other Blue Jays fans. But at first look with raises and if they resign Melky it sure looks like 2015 payroll is awfully close to the 2014 number.

The only question left will be if Melky doesn’t resign in Toronto will the Jays reallocate that money towards another free agent like they SAID they would do with that 14 million that they didn’t use to resign Josh Johnson last season?

Jays Headed Back To Montreal Next Spring

(Joel LeMay/QMI Agency

(Joel LeMay/QMI Agency

Jeremy Filosa of Sports 98.5 FM in Montreal is reporting that the Blue Jays will head back to Montreal next Spring to host another pair of exhibition games against the Cincinnati Reds.

According to Filosa the Reds narrowly edged out the Pittsburgh Pirates, who would have been a good drawing with Quebec born catcher Russell Martin.

In the Reds the crowd will get to see the best Canadian baseball player in Joey Votto. Which was probably the deciding factor in the decision.

After this Springs successful two game series with the New York Mets it seemed like a no brainer that the Jays would return again to Montreal in another series of exhibition games.

This Spring’s exhibition games drew 96,000 fans to Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, where the most of the Crowd supported Expos gear, gave a standing ovation at the end of the second game. It also seemed to have put Montreal back on the baseball map within the commissioner’s office. It would however take someone with deep pockets in Montreal to make it happen as Montreal would need a brand new stadium which was one of the reasons the Expos left in 2004.

WAGNER GOING UNDER THE KNIFE
It was announced this afternoon the reliever Neil Wagner would be undergoing Tommy John Surgery on Aug 19th to repair his UCL ligament in his elbow. Wagner had been on the DL for a few months with a forearm injury. Wagner is expected to miss the 2015 season.

EE Update
Edwin Encarnacion wasted no time getting his first home run of his rehab stint out-of-the-way as he hit the first pitch of his second at bat for a grand slam in Buffalo tonight. It’s a good sign for Blue Jays fans who await his return from a quad injury he suffered over a month ago. If all goes well Encarnacion will rejoin the Blue Jays in Chicago for their weekend series with the White Sox.

Jays Stretch Run Is Going To Be Fun

Getty Images

Getty Images

That was fun wasn’t it?

A little more than 24 hours after a walkoff 19 inning win over the Tigers and I still can’t get over how great the drama was. Most extra inning games turn into complete borefests but yesterday’s game had so many runners get on base in extra and so many chances for the game to be won. To be honest, it felt like with every time the Jays would strand the winning run in scoring position they were playing with fire. I mean you can only squander so many chances before it comes back to haunt you.

Luckily for the Blue Jays they got some clutch defensive plays, Colby Rasmus’ two big catches in extras, and some great pitching from Chad Jenkins who tossed six shutout innings, along with the rest of the bullpen which was nails after Mark Buerhle was lifted in the fourth inning.

In all honesty this was a game that the Blue Jays had no real business winning that game after falling behind 5-0 to Tigers’ starter David Price. But once again this season, the Blue Jays show their resilience by battling back and grinding it out to tie it up in the bottom of the ninth and having a chance to win it in the bottom of the ninth as they loaded up the bases only to see Juan Francisco strike out to send it to extras.

More than anything though this weekend, the Blue Jays gave their fans a taste of what a playoff chase and meaningful baseball this time of year is really like, and the fans responded this weekend by selling out the two weekend games and drawing 35,000 on Friday. All three games were decided by one run and even in Friday night the Jays had a chance to tie the game in the ninth.

Can the Jays par-lay this weekend into a run where they make a run at the Orioles for the East? I wouldn’t bet against it with Adam Lind and Edwin Encarnacion due to return to action this week, that and the fact that every time the Jays seem to get written off by some fans and analysts they seem to show their resilience and come up off that mat.

Each game from here on out is going to have a playoff feel to it and after not having seen any kind of meaningful baseball in a long time it’s a welcomed site for Blue Jays fans who will live and die with every pitch for the next month and a half.

And hey, wasn’t yesterday’s playoff type atmosphere fun?

Strap in, it’s going to be fun regardless of how this ends up.

Blue Jays Offering Up Post Season Tickets For Season Ticket Holders

jayslogo

It seems kind of early to be doing this, but the Toronto Blue Jays have sent out info packs, and have also put this on bluejays.com to their regular season ticket holders on their one day offer for their chance to buy playoff tickets. The one day offer for the season ticket holders is Monday.

They break down the ticket prices per playoff round.

The prices for a Wild Card game or the ALDS would range from $230 for in the action seats to $35 for the 500 level. For the ALCS they range from $255 to $50, and for the World Series they range from $350 to $100.

I would imagine that if playoff tickets go on sale to the general public that those prices are probably going to be higher, but still I’d cough up that kind of money to see a playoff game in Toronto and I’m sure I’m not the only one in that line of thought.

I do think it’s way to early to be thinking about selling playoff tickets as there are over 40 games left to play. But there is nothing like trying to excite your season ticket holders by offering up a chance to buy playoff tickets for the first time in 21 years.

As of Sunday morning the Blue Jays are six games back of Baltimore for the AL East lead. And the Blue Jays are currently a game and a half back of the Kansas City Royals for the second Wild Card spot in the AL.

The Early Saturday Notebook

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Thornhill

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Thornhill

It sure felt like the life got sucked out of the Rogers Centre when Nick Castellanos hit the game tying two run homer in the top of the ninth inning off of Casey Janssen. What ever air was left was surely gone once Euginio Saurez hit the go ahead home run right after the Castellanos shot.

To be honest, Janssen stunk tonight, he didn’t have it clearly as he fooled no one and every ball hit off of him was hard hit. The thing about Janssen though, he’ll bounce back and forget this outing by the tine he gets back on the mound again.

The Jays also had several chances to add to the lead in this game but couldn’t come up with the big hit after the second inning. It did feel like even though the Jays had the lead going into the ninth inning, that somehow the missed opportunities would come back to haunt the Jays and unfortunately for the Jays’ it did Friday.

The road doesn’t get any easier for the Jays on Saturday as they face the Tigers’ Max Scherzer, the Jays send Marcus Stroman to the mound in search of his eighth win of the season.

BEESTON AT IT AGAIN
It looks like Blue Jays president Paul Beeston just doesn’t know when to keep his mouth shut. Beeston spoke to Brady and Walker on the Fan 590 morning show on Friday and said that payroll would go up in 2015. Beeston went on to explain that Rogers has never said no when AA has come asking for it. “I’ll set the record straight. We’ve never gotten to Rogers and asked them for money for anything we haven’t got,” Beeston said. “They’ve been very, very generous with us when we took our salaries up from $90-million to $125-million. I think we’ll be up next year. There’s no question about that. They’ve been very supportive.”

Um, sure, like I’m going to believe that, If I’m not mistaken it was Beeston who said in April that the money would be there at the trade deadline. Hmmm, and how did that turn out? It was reported in the media that they couldn’t take on money when it comes to trades. I think I’ll believe the media on this one. This isn’t the first time that they have said one thing when it came time to prove it they haven’t exactly lived up to there word. I totally get why the Jays fans are finding all of this took payroll talk nothing more than lip service. Maybe Beeston should have just stayed quiet about the whole payroll for next year. What happens if the Jays’ don’t add payroll next season? At some point Beeston would be better served by just not saying a damn thing when it comes to payroll.

LADY JAYS’ FOOD DRIVE

Lady Jays' Lauren Spear (fiancé of Casey Janssen) and Morgan Cawley (girlfriend of J.A Happ) at the 30th Annual Lady Jays' Food Drive

Lady Jays’ Lauren Spear (fiancé of Casey Janssen) and Morgan Cawley (girlfriend of J.A Happ) at the 30th Annual Lady Jays’ Food Drive

The Lady Jays’ kicked off they’re 30th annual food drive in support of The Food Banks of Canada Friday night at the Rogers Centre. The Food Drive continues Saturday and Sunday. As well as collecting non perishable goods, they are also taking monetary donations as well as selling mystery bags for 25 and 45 dollars, each bag comes with an autographed hat and a gift certificate for Barberian’s Steak House in Toronto. The 45 dollar bag also includes a signed ball and a few other items as well. If you are coming to any of the games this weekend remember to bring a Non Perishable items to Gates 3, 5 and 10.

Saturday Night Thoughts

dickey2

The Blue Jays dropped their second straight game to the Houston Astros’ on Saturday night 8-2. The turning point was Robbie Grossman’s leaping grab to take a game tying home run away from Juan Francisco in the top of the eighth, it also seem to take the air out of the Blue Jays sails as the Astros would score four times in the bottom of the eighth to put the game out of reach.

The Blue Jays send Marcus Stroman to the mound tomorrow as they look to earn a split of their four game series with Houston.

I found it quite interesting that tonight of all nights was the night that the Astros had the roof open at Minute Maid Park. It marked the first time since 2004 that the roof was open for a game in August. It did get some interesting reaction, most noticeably gamesmanship on the part of the Astros with R.A Dickey on the mound. Truth be told in wasn’t a usual August night, the humidity was way down and the temp at game time was 27 degrees Celsius. It’s also a home field advantage, just like if the Jays wanted to they could have the roof closed on a beautiful summer day when Dickey pitches.

The Astros also got some help from their colour analyst Steve Sparks, a former knuckleballer, who threw batting practice before the game. Sparks also did that in April when the Astros faced Dickey in Toronto. It worked that night as Houston won 4-2, and it worked again tonight.

Interesting that there is still lots of fallout from the Blue Jays doing nothing at the trade deadline. TSN’s Scott MacArthur stirred up the hornet’s nest when he tweeted post game last night about a Jays’ player who wished to stay anonymous stating that by Alex Anthopoulos not doing anything at the deadline it might cause some veterans to ask to be traded out of Toronto in the off-season. I get that there is some frustration amongst some in the clubhouse and I was okay with Bautista admitting it was disappointing, but it’s time to move on and turn the page and focus on the task at hand, and that is to win ball games. They’ve gotten this far with what they’ve got and there probably will be a move before the end of August.

Another interesting thought though, when the roster expands in September how many extra bodies do the Blue Jays bring up to help them out? I wouldn’t be surprised to see Steve Delabar brought up and perhaps even Sergio Santos. On the offensive side, Kevin Pillar and A.J Jimenez. Could be interesting to see how the Blue Jays handle the expanded rosters come September in the midst of a pennant race.

The Cleveland Indians honoured one of their past greats Saturday by unbelieving a statue for Jim Thome, which got me thinking wouldn’t it be a proper thing to have a statue of Robbie Alomar outside the Rogers Centre or maybe Joe Carter? I still don’t get why Rogers’ had to put a statue of Ted Rogers outside of Rogers Centre, if they wanted a statue of Rogers they should have put it at the company’s headquarters, putting it at the ballpark seemed at the time like an insult to the fans.

Jays Do Nothing At Deadline

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For the second straight year Alex Anthopoulos stood pat at the trade deadline. It comes with mixed reaction from fans and players alike as Jose Bautista told Sportsnet’s Barry Davis that he is disappointed that the Jays did not make a move to help the team as they make a push to the post season.

The Jays did make a deal Monday night adding Danny Valencia from the Royals for Erik Kratz and Liam Hendricks, so it’s not like they did nothing. There is also the fact that the Jays should get Brett Lawrie, Adam Lind and Edwin Encarnacion back in the next few weeks as well as Brandon Morrow who could be back in the next month. When Morrow does come back it will be out of the pen and there is some hope that maybe Morrow can find a home in the bullpen.

I don’t have a deal with the Jays not being in on a deal for David Price or Jon Lester, the Jays realistically weren’t going to sell the farm on a rental in Lester. Price was a different story as the Jays did not want to part with their highly coveted prospects which I also don’t blame them. It would have been nice if the Blue Jays could have found a way to get another bullpen arm to help out the pen. It’s nice having Aaron Sanchez in the pen but it’s also a lot to ask a rookie to contribute night after night in high leverage situations. Who knows maybe he takes to the bullpen role like David Price did with the Rays in 2007 when Price was the Rays closer during their playoff run that season.

This also isn’t to say that the Jays won’t be able to upgrade before the end of the waiver trade deadline at the end of August but it’s also going to be more difficult to make a move as well. I still think there is a chance that the Jays can get a bullpen arm with the likely scenario of more teams dropping out of the race by the end of August.

I do get the frustration of the fan base in the inactivity at the deadline, and I also believe that they hold Rogers accountable for the lack of money made available despite what AA says about money being made available. I highly doubt that if the money wasn’t there that AA would actually admit the fact to the media. Which brings me to what Paul Beeston had said before the season about money being made available. Lets face it Beeston said that to try to sell tickets to the casual fan, I would like to think that most die-hard fans knew that Beeston made that comment as window dressing and nothing more.

It’s a fact that Rogers reigned in the check book the last time they decided to spend money, and it’s been highly rumoured that the payroll will go down this winter and the Blue Jays will have to find a way to get creative to make things happen.

But enough about the offseason, there is still two months to play and the Jays are three games up for that second wild card spot in the American League and only two and a half games back of the Baltimore Orioles.

Like it’s been said by some former general managers, perhaps the best deals on deadline day is the one’s you don’t make. For AA he’s banking on that saying being right.

So Long Sergio! Blue Jays’ DFA Santos

Jesse Johnson, USA Today Sports

Jesse Johnson, USA Today Sports

After two and a half years and a ton of promise and hype the Toronto Blue Jays have DFA’d Sergio Santos and recalled left-handed relief pitcher Rob Rasmussen.

Although this tweet from Jamie Campbell leads me to believe that Santos might be back if he can get himself figured out.

Santos came onto the scene in 2012 after a off-season trade with the White Sox for Nestor Molina. Santos was anointed the team’s closer, he came advertised as a hard thrower with a devastating slider.

Santos didn’t last long in 2012, He had a rough start, blew his first save opportunity at home during the home opener and was booed off the field when then manager John Farrell took him out of the game. Weeks later his season was over.

Santos had shoulder inflammation in late April of the 2012 season and ended up missing the remainder of the season after undergoing shoulder surgery.

Last season he missed from mid April till the first of August with a forearm strain. When he did return he had easily his best stretch as a Blue Jay.

This season Santos started out as the closer when Casey Janssen was on the DL and it wasn’t pretty after a few blow ups the Jays went to a closer by committee till Janssen returned from the DL. Santos also went on the DL in May with a strained forearm. Santos returned to action in mid June and had a good finish to the month but has been horrific in his last few outings.

Ultimately what did him in this season was, well, just about everything, his WHIP is over two, he has allowed 11 hits per nine so far this season and his walk rate is sitting 7.8 walks per nine innings.

Santos has a six million dollar team option in 2015 with a 750 000 buyout.

                                                                                                                                          
Year   Age  Tm  Lg W L W-L%  ERA  G GS GF CG SHO SV   IP  H  R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP BK WP  BF ERA+  FIP  WHIP   H9 HR9 BB9  SO9 SO/W 
2012    28 TOR  AL 0 1 .000 9.00  6  0  4  0   0  2  5.0  6  5  5  1  4   0  4   0  0  1  24   50 6.50 2.000 10.8 1.8 7.2  7.2        1.00
2013    29 TOR  AL 1 1 .500 1.75 29  0  6  0   0  1 25.2 11  5  5  1  4   2 28   0  0  1  90  240 1.84 0.584  3.9 0.4 1.4  9.8        7.00
2014    30 TOR  AL 0 2 .000 7.78 24  0 13  0   0  5 19.2 24 18 17  3 17   2 26   0  0  4  97   54 5.07 2.085 11.0 1.4 7.8 11.9        1.53
TOR (3 yrs)        1 4 .200 4.83 59  0 23  0   0  8 50.1 41 28 27  5 25   4 58   0  0  6 211   87 3.57 1.311  7.3 0.9 4.5 10.4        2.32
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