Alex Anthopoulos had a press conference yesterday. As usual, he talked a lot, while working very hard not to say anything. I guess it is a skill. The little bits of information that did make it through included:
- He says that the team is close to being a playoff team. But then he isn't going to say anything else, you want him to say 'hey, potential season ticket buyers.....don't bother'.
- They want to sign Melky Cabrera. Alex suggested that Melky does want to stay, but he didn't suggested that the team and his agent had talked numbers or anything beyond him saying that Melky understands their 'no more than 5-year' and that Melky is ok with that.
- Asked about improving the defense and Jose Reyes part in our less than impressive defense, Alex talked about health, saying that keeping Brett Lawrie on the field would help. He talked about studying oblique injuries, trying to come up with a way to keep him from falling victim to the same type of injury. I don't think the can train harder, but perhaps they can come up with a way that he could train smarter.
- About Reyes, Alex talked about how important it was to keep him healthy. That he needs more rest, that he could DH some, especially on our home turf (wonder why it took so long to come put with that). Alex suggested that with Lawrie playing, using his range to lessen the area Reyes has to cover, and with Reyes healthy, Jose would be a reasonable SS.
- He talked about health as a skill set that the team would factor into player evaluation more, saying that a player that might not be an outstanding talent that stays healthy (say Mark Buehrle) is of more value than a player with a higher upside, who misses time with injury, because you have to average the player's value with the replacement player who fills in when he's injured.
- There was a fair bit of talk about using the DH spot to rest guys, maybe suggesting that Adam Lind wouldn't be back, though they could pick up his option and use him as a trade chip.
- As always, Alex said that if the team decide they need a high priced free agent, there would be money for it, providing, of course, the free agent wasn't wanting more than a 5 year contract. This has always been Alex's line, but it tends to ring a little hollow.
- Alex talked for length on the need to improve the bullpen. They did have some bad luck with the bullpen, who expected Steve Delabar to lose it so badly or Sergio Santos to fall off a cliff. And Janssen's illness was bad luck. And there were some bad decisions. They didn't show much patience with Jeremy Jeffress and then he goes on to post a 1.88 ERA with the Brewers. Nor did they show any patience with Esmil Rogers.
- Asked about Aaron Sanchez and the chance he might be the next closer, Alex said that they would rather Sanchez be a starter, but he did mention that it would depend on how things shake out over the winter. And he didn't tlk much about the possibility of Brandon Morrow staking the job.
- He pretty much said that Janssen wouldn't be back. When talking about the need for a closer, he gently made fun of of the 'proven closer' idea, saying that all closers weren't closers until they became one. They just have to find the right guy and make closer.
- Alex didn't talk much about the need for a second baseman or outfielders, other than to say they had some idea about who might be available.
- Asked if the team would be trading from their 'surplus' of starting pitchers, Alex said he would rather horde starters if he can, knowing that you never make it through a season using just 5 starters. Unfortunately, you do have to trade something to get something.
What did you take away from the press conference?