Alex Anthopoulos replaced J.P. Ricciardi as General Manager of the Toronto Blue Jays last October. He didn’t waste much time putting his imprint on the team. He made a move that no one really talked about this off-season. Ironically, it was not a player he signed.
He hired sabermetrics expert Tom Tango as a consultant. Tango is known for his novel The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball. He came up with the statistic known as FIP, which evaluates pitchers based on the things pitchers can control. This is a good move for the Blue Jays and I didn’t even know about this move until I read the article in Sports Illustrated ranking the general managers.
The Blue Jays are in arguably the toughest division in baseball and don’t have the resources that the Red Sox and Yankees do. They have a farm system that is mediocre. They also have the Vernon Wells contract holding them back as well. So they need to be creative in order to put a winning product on the field. Hiring a guy to help with the statistical side of the game is a good start. They may be able to find value in players that most teams overlook, like what the Oakland A’s did in the early 2000s. This move won’t get a lot of coverage, but I think this is a move that can pay big dividends down the road.
With the addition of Tango and their increased emphasis on scouting, things seem to be moving in the right direction in Toronto.