Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Praise for the Man with a Plan



Every year after the trade deadline in any sport, I always enjoy reading different analysts' take on the winners and losers, the GM's who stake their jobs to win now  and those who hedge their bets on the future. Sometimes, you get a GM who understands that in fact under the right circumstances you can do both at the same time. Meet Alex Anthopoulos.

While it seems early to praise the man as much as I do, if the title of this blog doesn't tip my cap, I am not sure what I must do. But AA or the ninja as I will refer to him for the remainder of my life, seems to understand that there are deals to be made that don't mean you have to pillage your farm to win now and vice versa. He proved it last season when he managed to upgrade shortstops by sending an over performing veteran in Alex Gonzalez for and under performing but far better young stud who had fallen out with his former team in Yunel Escobar. But this year proves more than ever that AA is in fact a ninja. But don't take it from me, Jonah Keri, easily one of the best baseball writers period had this to say about the Jays young GM (ranking the Jays second in the MLB in terms of winners at the deadline)
The Internet has already written hundreds of love songs in Alex Anthopoulos' honour,2 and rightfully so. The Jays GM turned a decent prospect, an outfield utility man, two relief pitchers, and a low-upside swingman into a 24-year-old center fielder brimming with talent who's three-plus years from free agency and needed a fresh start more than a chained-up Todd Marinovich. Unlike other trade deadline sellers, the Jays aren't far from fielding a winning team either. Next year's Jays team will likely include Jose Bautista in right, Rasmus in center, Travis Snider in left, top prospect Brett Lawrie at third, Adam Lind at first base or DH, power-hitting J.P. Arencibia at catcher, and the highly underrated Yunel Escobar at short, with Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow, and Brett Cecil fronting the rotation and plenty of cash at Alex Anthopoulos' disposal to make further upgrades. If Major League Baseball follows through on its desire to add another wild-card team next year, do you really want to bet against the Jays playing into October? (via Grantland)

Yeah, so if that doesn't make you slightly giddy I am not sure what does as a Jays fan. But realistically, isn't his analysis dead on? I mean I made mention of how legit Colby was last season in my post earlier today, but seriously - at 23 last season Colby posted a .859 OPS that would have ranked second on last years Jays squad. Yep, second. So despite his struggles this year, were talking about a guy who would have been the second best hitter on the team last year. (Yeah think back to last year, when all the Jays knew how to do was slug homers, and he ranked second behind only Jose).

So here's to AA. It's perhaps fitting that his initials are that of a group of drunks admitting their addictions to each other, because it seems with every deal he makes it's not hard to envision Tony Reagins, Frank Wren and John Mozeliak all sitting around in a school gymnasium in a few years reminiscing about the time AA fleeced each one of them.

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