5:00 pm - Sizing up Granderson Talk
Alex Anthopoulos met with the Toronto media again this afternoon and once again had little to say. He didn't go into any detail on the potential Granderson to the Yankees trade, nor did he budge when asked if any of the prospects expected to change hands in that deal changed his own outlook on potential trade partners.
Tampa Manager Joe Maddon talked briefly during his media briefing about Granderson and the prospect of seeing him far more now that he could potentially be taking up residence in the AL East. "I got to know him a bit during the All-Star Game", said Maddon. "This is a wonderful young man. He's very bright, very motivated, and I would bet, knowing him just briefly, that going to New York under those circumstances is going to bring out the best in him, too. So of course he makes them better".
3:15 - New York has edged out Toronto once again
The BBWAA has honoured longtime New York Daily News columnist Bill Madden as this year's winner of its J.G. Taylor Spink Award. Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun, who has done so much for professional and amateur baseball in Canada for so long, finished second in the balloting.
The award is presented annually to an outstanding member of the media for "meritorious contributions to baseball writing". It includes formal recognition at the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in July.
When asked about the results of the voting, the ever dignified Elliott simply said, "Excellent choice".
Gillick thinks Jays on the right track - 12:45pm
Intrepid camera-man Peter Bradley and I cornered the great Pat Gillick here at the hotel a moment ago. We got his thoughts on the Jays' new regime and the nature of the meetings thus far from the perspective of his club, the NL Champion Philadelphia Phillies.
On the direction of the Jays under new President Paul Beeston: "They are going back to basics and it looks like they have a good game plan from what I can gather".
On new GM Alex Anthopoulos: "I think Paul [Beeston] takes these selections very seriously. I just have to say that if Paul is confident in selecting Alex to fill that role as GM then he can carry through and bring the Blue Jays to the point they want to be as fast as possible".
When asked if his Phillies had engaged in any talks with the Blue Jays: "Well, we've just said hello. We haven't had any formal negotiations with them so far. We're just feeling things out so far. We've got a lot of things on our plate and probably will have some discussion, but at this point we haven't had any".
Hall of Fame selection Doug Harvey took questions here from reporters this morning. When asked about the problems with umpiring in this most recent postseason, the 31-year MLB umpire said, "I really think baseball is doing the best they can".
He went on to say he's not a proponent of baseball's new instant replay system. "When I used to walk on the field, I used to say bring it on suckers, says Harvey. "There's nothing that you can throw at me that I can't get. I worked very hard in making sure the camera didn't outdo me".
With a bit of a smirk, Harvey, who umped six All-Star Games and five World Series, remarked, "Maybe robots will be umpiring next, I don't know".
Stockpiling Draft Picks- 9:45am
After an especially slow start to this four-day session, Day Two of the Winter Meetings opens with some news from the Blue Jays.
General manager Alex Anthopoulos has confirmed Rod Barajas declined the Blue Jays offer of salary arbitration before last night's midnight deadline. This means that if and when the free agent catcher signs with another club, the Jays will receive a compensatory pick in the 2010 draft.
That means the Jays could have as many as have nine draft picks in the first three rounds of next June's draft.
How, you ask? Here's the breakdown:
- The Blue Jays naturally hold their own picks in the first, second and third rounds
- They receive three compensatory picks, one for each of their three selections from the first three rounds of last year's draft that went unsigned
- They receive two compensatory picks for the loss through free agency of Marco Scutaro as a Type A free agent
- They will receive one more compensatory pick if Barajas signs elsewhere as a Type B free agent
Lots of media - despite recession
In speaking with a number of longtime reporters yesterday, many seem to believe there is less of a media presence at this year's Winter Meetings than in years past. They attribute that to two things - 1) limited travel budgets for media outlets affected by a slowed economy and 2) the location being less desirable to some reporters (come on, now -- who doesn't love Indy in December?).
Not so, says MLB. John Blundell, a rep from the Commissioner's Office in New York, told me they have prepared "about 500" media credentials for this year's Winter Meetings. He says that number is about on par with the crowds of the recent past. Recession? What recession?
Then walking through the Indianapolis Convention Centre, I noticed the billboards outside of the seminar rooms for the Minor League Meetings. Among the panel discussions -- "How to Generate Revenue in a Down Economy" and "Getting Bums in Seats". Oh yeah, that recession.