Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Examining Alex Anthopoulos

Photo Credit: Nick Turchiaro, USA Today Sports (Alex Anthopoulos) 
Word trickled out earlier this week that the Twins were considering Alex Anthopoulos as the team's president of baseball operations. This would be a new position in the organization as part of the front office restructuring following the firing of general manager Terry Ryan.

This is following a growing trend across baseball where a president of baseball operations oversees the hiring of a general manager and other personnel to compose the front office staff. Twins owner Jim Pohlad recently told the Pioneer Press that the Twins might be leaning towards this new trend.

So who is Alex Anthopoulos? What do Twins fans need to know about this potential candidate? He could be shaping the future of this organization for years to come and fans are hungry to see a winning team back on the field.

Blue Jays Rising
Anthopoulos served as the general manager and senior vice president of baseball operations with the Toronto Blue Jays from 2010-2015. Last season, he helped the Blue Jays end a 22-year playoff drought but he decided to leave after some changes to the team's front office. Mark Shapiro was brought in as president and CEO and it sounds like the Jays wanted to cut costs and stop trading away prospects. He currently works as the vice president of baseball operations for the Los Angeles Dodgers which seems like a springboard job to other positions in the baseball.

Wheeling and Dealing
During his time in Toronto, the 39-year old Anthopoulos was not afraid to make moves. Some of his biggest trades included:

  • Acquiring 2015 AL MVP Josh Donaldson from Oakland for Brett Lawrie
  • Sending Noah Syndergaard to the Mets for RA Dickey
  • Pushing to get Troy Tulowitzki from the Rockies for Jose Reyes and other prospects
  • Dealing a trio of left-handed pitchers to Detroit for David Price
Besides his willingness to deal away prospects for established players, he also spent plenty of money on contracts for players like Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. Many Twins fans have wanted the front office to be more active in making trades and spending money. As Nick alluded to earlier this week, this might not always be the best strategy.

Scouting Background
Anthopoulos has a background in scouting and he made major additions to the scouting department in Toronto. He created regional cross-checker positions and nearly doubled the size of the scouting team from 28 to 54. In doing so, he was able to shrink each scout's coverage area so they could spend less time traveling and more time working. "We get to see players more often -- more innings pitched, more at-bats, Anthopoulos said. "We've added layers we didn't have before." It seems likely that he would do some major shake-ups throughout the Twins' scouting team including bringing in some scouts who have previously worked with him.

The Future 
When the Twins let go of Terry Ryan, they made it clear that they would like to have someone hired by season's end. The Dodgers are four games up in the NL West and posed to make a playoff run. This could mean Anthopoulos continues to work in his current position until deep into October. When the Dodgers hired him, they had to know he was destined to get other opportunities. Maybe they will be willing to let him out of his current position so he can start finding Minnesota's next general manager. 

There's plenty of changes that still need to happen and hiring Anthopoulos is just the first step.

What are your thoughts on Anthopoulos? Is he the right fit for the Twins organization? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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