Jays' Anthopoulos deserves contract extension

BOB ELLIOT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:38 PM ET

Alex Anthopoulos has been on the job for 577 days.

His Blue Jays had won 98 times against 92 losses heading into Tuesday nightís game in St. Petersburg.

His predecessor, J.P. Riccardi, was hired Nov. 14, 2001 and 347 days later, as the 2002 regular season closed, was given a five-year extension by CEO Paul Godfrey.

Now, CEO Paul Beeston should move into the same extension world and give one to Anthopoulos.

Ricciardiís mandate was to slash salary which he did.

Anthopoulos was asked to restore order and turn the Jays in the right direction ó towards the glory years when Beestonís on-field product was so good all he had to do was make sure the Rogers Centre doors were open at 5 p.m. and the Jays would draw four million.

Which Anthopoulos has.

It hasnít been all good. The demotion of Travis Snider sure looked reactionary and ditto for kicking lefty reliever David Purcey off the team bus after the Jays blew a 7-0 lead last month in Seattle. Purcey threw 16 pitches, 12 of them balls.

Patience wasnít shown in either case. The Snider demotion, after 99 plate appearances, looked like the Jays ó probably a .500 team this season ó were half a game out and needed a bat, in a hurry, to get over the hump.

Still, Anthopoulosí total portfolio deserves to be rewarded.

It was his plan to double the scouting staff, to hire experienced baseball men like Jim Beattie, Ed Lynch, Gary Rajsich and Dana Brown.

It was his idea to assign each pro scout two organizations to scout from top to bottom, from the Oakland Aís to their class-A teams and everything in between.

It was his idea to give young scout Andrew Tinnish a chance as scouting director and after one draft the Jays moved from 27th to fourth in the highly respected Baseball America organizational rankings.

It was Anthopoulos who signed the likes of catcher John Buck and shortstop Alex Gonzalez to one-year deals a year ago.

It was he who signed Kevin Gregg to a one-year deal with two club options and then decided in the off-season not to pick up his option.

It was he who dealt Gonzalez to the Atlanta Braves for the strong-armed Yunel Escobar and told Jose Bautista to look after him.

It was he who moved Roy Halladay to the Philadelphia Phillies. In exchange the Jays received right-hander Kyle Drabek, catcher Travis díArnaud and Michael Taylor who was flipped to Oakland for Brett Wallace, later part of a three-way which brought speedy outfielder Anthony Gose to the Jays. It was the best offer for Halladay, next to the one the Jays turned down from the Boston Red Sox at the 2009 trade deadline.

It was Anthopoulos who acquired Brandon Morrow from the Seattle Mariners for Brandon League and minor leaguer Johermyn Chavez.

It was he who decided the Jays, led by scout Marco Paddy be more active in Latin America. The Jays won two bidding wars, signing free-agent shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria to a four-year, $10 million deal and giving right-hander Adonis Cardona a $2.8 million deal, a record for a Venezuelan signing bonus.

It was he who added Fred Lewis from the San Francisco Giants, who contributed to the Jays in 2010.

It was he who decided to deal right-hander Shaun Marcum to the Milwaukee Brewers for troublesome Brett Lawrie. When spring training 2010 ended the Brewers posted the minor league roster with Lawrie headed to single-A Brevard County. Lawrie told the Brewers either they sent him to double-A Huntsville or he was driving home to Vancouver. Itís early but Lawrie came to the Jays expecting to stay and went to triple-A Las Vegas without complaining. All heís done is hit.

It was Anthopoulos who re-stocked the bullpen with Carlos Villanueva, Octavio Dotel, Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch.

It was he who moved Vernon Wells to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, knocking $81 million off the books.

And it is Alex Anthopoulos who should be given a contract extension.


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