So how close are the Blue Jays to adding some talent?
“We’re about the five-yard line,” general manager Alex Anthopoulos told reporters.
“We’ve got some trades that are appealing. Both sides are very close, same with free agents. A lot of homework was done with our staff in Toronto. Say, for example, we’d like three players with one team, now we know only one is available.”
Yet, before you stay up all night and have your wife monitor your Twitter account while you sleep in the chair, phone alarm set to go off each time a “Google Alert: Blue Jays News” moves, consider what Anthopoulos had said minutes earlier.
The third-year GM pointed out that it is easy to make a mistake at the winter meetings, from “pressure from an agent or a team. Someone can say: ‘We need an answer in one day or one hour.’
“I don’t think our phones at the office will be ringing off the hook if we don’t do anything here and then do something five days later when we get home.”
He pointed out how Roy Halladay being moved to the Philadelphia Phillies and the deal that sent Brandon League to Seattle for Brandon Morrow were made after the winter meetings in 2009.
After his flight was delayed, Anthopoulos arrived here at the Anatole Hilton, home of the 110th winter meetings, and rushed through the lobby lugging his own bag.
A gaggle of Japanese reporters (“Any news on Yu Darvish?) attempted to catch him unsuccessfully before he hit the bank of elevators.
Upstairs, Anthopoulos said the coming four days wouldn’t be as hectic as two years ago in Indianapolis.
“It was such an important trade,” Anthopoulos said. “Halladay was six months away from free agency and you didn’t want him to walk away for two draft picks. I had to lay my cards on the table to the player and the agent eventually.
“This is much calmer.”
The Jays may be close to something. They have four days to move forward and send Anthopoulos to the winter meetings podium for the first time to announce a deal.
The Fan radio in Cleveland reported Sunday that free agent Prince Fielder has narrowed his choices to the Jays, Texas Rangers and Brewers, with Toronto thought to be the favourite. “I don’t comment on trade talk and we expect to be linked to practically everyone because of that policy,” Anthopopulos said. “From a media and fan standpoint, if it’s leaked it’s probably inaccurate. How many of our deals that came out in the press first have been accurate — 1%?”
NINE MEN HERE
How many members of the Jays brass does it take to screw in a light bulb or make a trade? Although the Jays have nine representatives here, likely most meetings with teams will be 2-on-2 sessions. Besides assistant GMs Tony LaCava, Jay Sartori, special assistant to the GM Dana Brown, manager John Farrell, pro scouting director Perry Minasian, amateur scouting director Andrew Tinnish, pro scouting co-ordinator Harry Einbinder, information analyst Joe Sheehan and Anthopoulos are in Dallas.
The Jays will find out by midnight Wednesday whether 2B Kelly Johnson accepts their salary arbitration offer ... Jays scout Mel Didier and former scouting director Bob Engle will be presented with their scout of the year honours at a luncheon Monday. Current Jays scout Mel Didier and former Jays scouting director Bob Engle will be presented with their scout of the year honours at a luncheon Monday. They’ll speak Wednesday night at the scouts banquet. That makes eight Jays scouts who have received the honour. The list includes Bobby Mattick, Al LaMacchia, Joe Ford, Jim Hughes, Epy Guerrero, Tim Wilken, Engle and Didier.