Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Alex Anthopoulos' first moves

Yesterday was the second anniversary of the hiring of Alex Anthopoulos as the Toronto Blue Jays general manager. During the next couple weeks, we’ll be chronologically going through his transactions and looking at the results of each one.

On October 3, 2009 the Toronto Blue Jays announced that their vice-president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulous would become their new general manager after the dismissal of J.P. Ricciardi.

Anthopoulos’ first order of business was figuring out who would be brought back as major league free agents and who was not to come back to Toronto. Major leaguers, Kevin Millar, Marco Scutaro, Rod Barajas were all granted Free Agency. As was John McDonald, although he would be re-signed on November 25th to a 2 year, $3 million contract. He was a slightly above replacement level (WARs of 1.1 and 0.9 during those two seasons) before his trade with Aaron Hill for Kelly Johnson. That trade will be covered in a future post.

Kevin Millar retired from baseball after being release by the Cubs after the 2010 spring training. As a platoon player in Toronto, he didn’t provide even replacement level value with a WAR of negative 0.7. Barajas had played well for the Jays during his two seasons with WARs of 1.5 and 1.0, but by signing with the Mets, he would allow the Jays to receive the 41st pick in the 2010 draft as compensation. Scutaro was very good for the Blue Jays with WARs of 4.1 and 5.5 in 2008 and 2009. He also became the bigger prize, by letting him go via free agency, the Jays received the 34th and 80th picks in the 2010 draft when he signed with the division rival Red Sox for two years at $12.5 million.

Scutaro during his two contract years with the Red Sox put up WARs of 2.5 (oWAR of 2.3, dWAR of 0.2) and 1.4 (oWAR of 2.5, dWAR of -1.1) and OPS+ of 92 and 110. Offensively, he was everything the Red Sox wanted him to be, adding 2 wins in each season but his defense regressed in 2011 and lessened his value. It will be interesting to see if the Red Sox buyout his option year at a cost of $1.5 million or keep him on for $6 million this off-season. As for Barajas, he was moved from the Mets to the Dodgers in August of 2010 and put up an OPS+ of 97 and a WAR of 1.2, great value for his contract..

Looking at these stats, both players were above average after leaving the Blue Jays, with Scutaro adding 2.5 and 1.4 wins in the two seasons of his contract and Barajas a combined 1.2 wins above replacement level between the Mets and the Dodgers. The average cost per win has been estimated by some to be around $4.5 million meaning that both these players were bargains for their new teams. However, the Red Sox did give up the 80th pick in the draft along with the salary to sign Scutaro.
Was there ever a chance either of these players would have re-signed with Toronto? Tough to know, however they both would have been useful players for the Blue Jays, tomorrow let’s look at how they were replaced in the lineup.

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