Blue Jays and the GM Meetings: No new second baseman yet, Bautista rumours "fabricated", Mottola lands with Rays

Ryan Goins flashing some leather. - Andy King

Another day of general manager meetings brings us a bunch more Blue Jays-related news. No actual transactions have taken place, but general manager Alex Anthopoulos did chat with the media, as Shi Davidi reports in his article over at Sportsnet.ca and in his tweets.

Anthopoulos was asked about the Blue Jays' hole at second base, but he doesn't think he would find something to fill it during these meetings. He told the media that, right now, the Blue Jays will be going with a combination of Ryan Goins and Maicer Izturis. So what this means is that there is nothing close, but I won't interpret this message as Anthopoulos admitting that he will not seek to improve at the position.  Steve Buffery let us know that Anthopoulos would like to see Goins fill the "super-utility" role and "play all over the place."

He also addressed the rumour of a possible Jose Bautista-Domonic Brown trade that was spread by Howard Eskin Tuesday evening, calling those rumours "totally false, fabricated, ridiculous," saying that "things have to make sense." I think most of us felt that way last night already. I would've liked to be in the room when one of Anthopoulos's assistants came in with news of the rumour just to watch his reaction. But to be fair, I should point out that Eskin is not backing off what he had reported. Eskin's other report, that the Blue Jays had offered a $20 million, two-year contract to Carlos Ruiz, was also squashed by the general manager. He stated further that he "[does] not have one free-agent offer out to anybody as we sit here today," and before anyone could mince those words to mean that there were offers at any prior point, Anthopoulos added, "I have not made one offer to one free agent at any point in time." So, that means that he might have made multiple offers to multiple free agents at some point in time, right?

Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported that "multiple teams" have spoken to the Blue Jays about trading for J.P. Arencibia, and that the Blue Jays have spoken to all of the free-agent catchers. But, as Anthopoulos said, they have not offered anyone anything yet.

Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun tweeted that Anthopoulos will be leaving for the Dominican Republic tomorrow on a scouting mission. Does that mean we might see some international free agent signings coming up? Or could he be taking a look at Manny Ramirezwho apparently is looking for a job in 2014? Buffery also mentioned in his column that Brandon Morrow threw a bullpen session and had no issues, and the Blue Jays will be letting Ricky Romero figure out how to get back to form by himself, feeling that they don't know how to help him at this point.

Marc Tompkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported that the Rays have scooped up recently-fired hitting coach Chad Mottola (and his associated magic) and have installed him as their minor-league hitting coordinator. What a wasted asset for the Blue Jays. In other news involving former Blue Jays coaches, Bruce Walton has landed as a pitching instructor at the Okotoks Dawgs training facility in southern Alberta. Nice to see that he has gotten over the bitter taste of his dismissal and that he is still a fan of the club.

Not baseball-related, but Jeff Blair tweeted this link earlier this afternoon: an audio track of a conductor telling a crowd that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated. The gasp from the orchestra attendees was simply surreal.

UPDATE

I knew I forgot something when I clicked "Publish." ClintB (@StivBators) listened to John Gibbons' appearance on XM Radio, tweeting out highlights. Gibbons said that he'd like a "front-line starting pitcher" if he could wish for one thing under his Christmas tree this year and he mirrored Anthopoulos and said that right now Izturis and Goins in the battle for second base. On specific players, Gibbons said that this year, Colby Rasmus finally "felt comfortable" in Toronto, Brett Lawrie had grown up quite a bit during this past season, and that J.P. Arencibia was one of his favourites, saying that he "held his head high" admit the "well-earned" criticism from fans and the media. Gibbons also commented on the decision to replace Chad Mottola, saying that he thought the team needed someone with more experience in that position.

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