Wheeling, Dealing, and Wizardry

A child's portrayal of GM Alex Anthopoulos

The World Series has only been over for a few days, yet already our fearless leader is busy.

In fact, it’s been quite a few weeks for the second year Jays GM.  He hired John Farrell, brought back Brian Butterfield to the shock of many, and apparently brought back hitting coach Dwayne Murphy as well.

But all of that was nothing compared to last night. 

The fun started yesterday evening when Anthopoulos declined the club options on Kevin Gregg, making Toronto’s closer a free agent.  Since Gregg is a Type B FA, Toronto will receive a compensatory draft pick if he signs elsewhere.

Then the doozy: he acquires catcher Miguel Olivo from the Rockies for a PTBNL or cash, then instantly declines HIS option, making hime a Type B FA as well.  If Olivo declines arbitration (which he likely will since he is coming off a career year), the Jays will receive a second compensatory draft if he signs elsewhere.

There are others on the internet, namely Jordan Bastian of Bluejays.com, who can do a much better job explaining the technicalities of the moves than I can.  What I can do is give my opinion on what happened.

And my opinion is this: I’m amazed by our GM.

While it’s still too early to start calling him King Midas, you have to admit that a large amount of his moves have turned to gold.

There was the Halladay trade.

There were the relatively bargain level contracts handed out to veterans Gregg, Buck, and Alex Gonzalez last year, which all turned out to be fantastic.

There was the Gonzalez for Escobar trade.

Now this.  I like yesterday’s moves for three reasons:

1. Trading draft picks is against the rules in MLB.  AA essentially traded for a draft pick.  Genius.

2. They increase Toronto’s flexibility.  Look at the options: if they re-sign Buck, they still get a compensation draft pick via Olivo.  If Olivo for some reason accepts arbitration, the Jays have a decent catcher on their hands, one they can likely move to the Marlins (who were said to be interested).  If they re-sign neither, they hand the keys over to JPA and Molina. 

3. They don’t overpay for a closer.  There’s an old fantasy baseball saying – never pay for saves.   I think it applies in real baseball as well.  Other than Mariano Rivera, name one closer who has been rock solid for three consecutive years.  Exactly…  Even though Kevin Gregg was effective last year, is he really worth $5.25-million for one year or $9.5-million for two?  Uh…no.

So there you have it.  One week into the offseason and the fun has already begun.  Brace yourselves – there’s still about 14 weeks to come.

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