You may or may not have noticed this, but Minnesota Twins fans tend to complain a bit.
We complain about home grown players who have MVP and batting titles to their credit.
We complain about managers and coaches who don’t guide the team the way we think they should.
We complain about General Managers because we don’t like the deals they make and, even more, don’t like that they don’t make the deals we think they should.
And we complain about owners. We complained about Calvin Griffith and Carl Pohlad. We still complain about Jim Pohlad.
But if the information being reported out of Toronto is accurate, it’s quite possible we should embrace Mr. Pohlad and thank the baseball gods that our Twins are not in the hands of Rogers Communication, owners of the Toronto Blue Jays.
On Thursday, Blue Jays General Manager Alex Anthopoulos was announced that his fellow baseball executives had voted him the winner of Sporting News’ Baseball Executive of the Year Award for the work he did before and during the season to assemble the best team Toronto has seen in over 20 years. It was well-deserved.
The timing of the announcement was more than a little ironic, however, given that it came shortly after Anthopoulos announced he would not be continuing to serve as the Toronto GM.
Anthopoulos has not been perfect. He’s made good deals and bad deals, just like every Major League GM. But he’s certainly been on a roll over the past year.
He added Marco Estrada, Russell Martin and Josh Donaldson last offseason. He traded for Troy Tulowitzki, Ben Revere and David Price before the trade deadline this season.
Did he pay too much, in money, years and/or talent, for some of those guys? It’s certainly possible that, over time, we will concluded that he did. We just don’t know, yet.
What we do know is that the Toronto Blue Jays roster he put together was 40-18 after the calendar tuned to August and came within a whisker of being the American League representative in the World Series.
The owners hired Mark Shapiro to be their new team president and, it appears, Shapiro isn’t a fan of some of the deals that the GM he inherited made and envisions his role as more than just running the business side of the team the way he had been doing with Cleveland since their ownership bounced him upstairs and took away most, if not all, of his authority to make player personnel decisions for the Indians.
Now, say what you will about Anthropolous’ wins and losses at the bargaining table, but I’m pretty sure any objective observer would tell you his record stacks up pretty favorably against his new boss’ record.
So the Jays made Anthopoulos an insulting low-ball extension offer they knew he wouldn’t accept. Then, after they torched the relationship and he told them to take a hike, they came back with a five-year offer – again knowing very well there was no way Anthropoulos would forgive and forget and accept that offer.
To top it all off, when everyone in the game is trashing them publicly (everyone EXCEPT Anthropoulos, who has remained above that kind of behavior), the Jays go to the media to make sure everyone knows their GM turned down a five year extension (without mentioning any of the other pertinent details, of course).
I don’t agree with everything the Twins ownership and front office does but, yeah, right now I certainly would not trade my team’s group with those still in Toronto.