By Danny Gallagher
Canadian Baseball Network
I ran into a window cleaner, exchanged hellos, struck up a conversation and he asked me if I was into baseball.
“Very much,’’ I told him.
“This guy Alex Anthopoulos is a genius, isn’t he?’’ the guy said taking advantage of my answer.
“Sure is,’’ I said. “He could probably take over as president or prime minister in his ancestral country of Greece.’’
The way the general manager has shaped the Blue Jays since last off-season is remarkable, starting with the acquisition of free agent Russell Martin and Josh Donaldson from Oakland.
Then in the last few months, he got his hands on David Price, Troy Tulowitzki, Ben Rivere, Mark Lowe and LaTroy Hawkins, just to name a few. Should we forget Justin Smoak signed for $1-million back in May?
What Anthopoulos has done is create a fever in Toronto that hasn’t been seen in decades, not since the Jays’ last World Series-winning season in 1993. Not that he hasn’t done it often before but Anthopoulos has shown that he’s a daredevil extraordinaire willing to take chances on bolstering his team’s chances like he did when he pulled off that whopper of a trade with the Florida Marlins to get the likes of pitcher Mark Buehrle.
What Anthopoulos has done is create a buzz that has engulfed Toronto, the province of Ontario and the rest of Canada. With his job on the line if the Jays weren’t going to get to the playoffs, he did something remarkable by stealing Price away, shocking other teams interested in acquiring him and stunning baseball in general.
At this moment, this corner calls Anthopoulos one of the team’s MVPs for what he has done to improve the roster and attendance. If he doesn’t have a contract that gives him bonuses for attendance, then he should. Do you think the Jays would be getting crowds of 46,000 if he hadn’t made those moves?
The important thing is that the Jays win the AL East title, guaranteeing them several home games. With just a wild card berth, it’s a one-game playoff to decide who advances.
The Jays could be out of the playoff picture early with a loss in a wild-card game but in a playoff series, at least they would have a few games to play.
If the Jays gain just a wild-card berth and don’t win, then Anthopoulos will likely get the boot. If they can at least make the best-of-five AL East series, then he should get a new contract.
Whatever happens, he will be a GM somewhere next season.