Alex Anthopoulos

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Back in the Game: Blue Jays slugger José Bautista’s high-stakes mission to stay on top

José Bautista silenced his critics and became baseball’s most powerful hitter. Now, after a potentially career-ending surgery, he must prove himself all over again

 José Bautista: Back in the Game

(Photo: Nigel Dickson)

It was July 16 of last year, a day game. More than 42,000 people in Yankee Stadium, and a few million sitting on couches at home, had watched Blue Jays slugger José Bautista swing at an inside fastball, just as he had thousands of times before. It had become his specialty, swinging at that pitch. Crushing it. And he’d done it again, whipping his bat around at an ungodly speed and slamming the ball far into the stands in left field. All eyes, at home and in the stadium, watched that ball sail long and foul. Then they turned back to the star at the plate, but he wasn’t there.

He was staggering toward his team’s dugout, toward people who could help him, holding his left forearm. He called out and sank toward the ground. At the end of his swing, he’d heard a popping crack in his flesh and felt a knife stab of pain. He thought he’d broken or dislocated his wrist.

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The Loaded List: we catalogue the astronomical salaries of Toronto’s ruling class

The Loaded List
It’s not particularly polite to ask rich people what they earn. But tact is overrated, and we wanted to know, so we asked anyway. When they told us to get lost, we got sneaky. We dug up disclosure documents, annual reports and the tax filings of charitable organizations. When those trails went dry, we surveyed industry insiders who know what other people make—headhunters and consultants and analysts and colleagues—and asked for an educated guess. After hundreds of calls and emails and deep-throat meetings in dark alleys, we phoned the high earners back and told them what we found. Again, with feeling, they told us to piss off.

What follows is our shamelessly gawking, as-precise-as-possible examination of the highest-paid people in the city’s top industries. When the information was available, we included bonuses and perks and, in some cases, exercised stock options. Our findings verified that a high earner in finance is almost always on a different plane (a private jet, usually) than a high earner in, for example, the lowly arts. One major discovery: Heather Reisman took a pay cut. One truth reconfirmed: no matter how rich you are, there’s always someone who makes a helluva lot more.

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VIEW BY INDUSTRY » GOLD ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT FUND MANAGERS SPORTS SHOP OWNERS MEDIA LANDLORDS BAY STREET PUBLIC SERVANTS

VIEW BY SALARY » SEE 69 OF THE RICHEST PEOPLE IN THE CITY’S TOP INDUSTRIES, SORTED BY SALARY FROM HIGHEST TO LOWEST

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With the Brett Lawrie call-up, Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos’s makeover is nearly complete

(Image: Mike Durkin)

The current edition of the Toronto Blue Jays is a far cry from the team general manager Alex Anthopoulos inherited from J.P. Ricciardi in 2009. Through a series of trades and savvy free-agent signings, Anthopoulos has managed to turn the franchise’s fortunes around in a little under two years. Sure, the team is still in many ways a middling underachiever. But now there’s renewed hope that the Jays could very well be legitimate playoff contenders in the coming years. Where during the Ricciardi era the Blue Jays were a tangled mess of expensive underperforming veterans and unproven prospects (and Roy Halladay), with Anthopoulos at the helm a plan appears to be in place: namely, stockpile young prospects, build from the farm system and ink those same prospects to long-terms deals before they hit their prime. And with top prospect Brett Lawrie making his major league debut tonight against the Baltimore Orioles, the team’s long-overdue overhaul will be nearly complete. With that in mind, we look at five of the key players in the Anthopoulos makeover after the jump.

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Reaction Roundup: baseball scribes roundly praise Toronto Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos for Colby Rasmus deal

The newest Blue Jay (Image: Keith Allison)

Alex Anthopoulos has done it again. Or, at least, that appears to be the overwhelming consensus among baseball media after the Toronto Blue Jays’ general manager flipped Jason Frasor, Mark Rzepcynski and change for centre fielder Colby Rasmus and a trio of pitchers in a three-team trade with the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago White Sox. News of the trade leaked on Twitter early yesterday morning, and by the early afternoon #AnthopoulosIsAGoldenGod was trending (not actually, but based on everyone’s reactions it might as well have been). And for good reason: Anthopoulos somehow managed to turn a group of good-but-not-great relievers (and Corey Patterson) into a 24-year-old with legitimate all-star potential and hilarious at-bat music. Like everybody else, we love the trade and continue to be wowed by the moves the wunderkind GM is making. A look at what the assembled sports media had to say, after the jump.

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Will Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos pull the trigger on a deal at baseball’s trade deadline?

The Jays may or may not be in the market for Heath Bell (Image: SD Dirk)

With baseball’s trade deadline just around the corner, rumours are flying as to what kind of magic Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos may have up his sleeve. On Thursday, reports emerged that the Bluebirds may be taking a close look at acquiring the San Diego Padres’ coveted closer Heath Bell. Bell is arguably the hottest commodity on the trade market (read: the Yanks, Red Sox and Phillies are all after him), and even if bringing in the 33-year-old doesn’t exactly fit in with the Blue Jays’ current youth movement, there are a number of reasons Anthopoulos might pull the trigger on the deal.

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Jay Parade: we look at speedster Rajai Davis, who’s leading off for the Blue Jays on opening day

The Toronto Blue Jays’ 2011 season opens today as the Minnesota Twins—including Canadian slugger Justin Morneau—pay a visit to the Rogers Centre. The game is sold out, and there’s a renewed sense of hope surrounding the boys of summer (never mind the fact that two major baseball writers—Ben Reiter of Sports Illustrated and SB Nation’s Rob Neyer—both picked the Jays to finish dead last in the American League East). There’s fresh blood in the clubhouse, the team has a straight talkin’ general manager in Alex Anthopoulos and the organization finally seems ready to leave the halcyon days of the early ’90s behind in order to focus on building for the future. All this amounts to a genuine feeling of optimism about the Blue Jays’ prospects, regardless of whether they rise or fall in the AL East ranks.

So, with that fresh outlook in mind, what better way to open a new season than to start at the top? Over the course of the coming weeks, we’ll work our way through the Blue Jays’ batting order, profiling each of the Jays’ positional players in turn. Today, we lead off with the lead-off man, newcomer Rajai Davis.

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Star columnist Richard Griffin tells Jays’ manager how things go down in Hogtown

Richard Griffin is just oh-so wonderfully old school. The venerable Toronto Star columnist penned a clever piece (read: thinly veiled critique) calling out Toronto Blue Jays manager John Farrell for keeping secrets. In the Monday column, Griffin took issue with the new skipper’s failure to divulge the true nature of a recent injury sustained by Jays left fielder Travis Snider. The writing came across smart and savvy, striking a diplomatic tone while still issuing a stern memo to the Jays coach on behalf of the local media. The message: we decide what we need to know, not you.

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Betting on Bautista: Jays and the celebrated slugger finally consummate their $64-million relationship

Million-dollar maybe: Jays are betting that Jose Bautista will perform well for the next five years (Image: Keith Allison)

Yesterday the Toronto Blue Jays and slugger Jose Bautista finally inked the multimillion-dollar deal they’d be flirting with all week, laying the foundation for a long-term relationship. Given the year Bautista had last season—he earned a $2.4-million pittance while leading the league with 54 homers and receiving the Hank Aaron Award—everybody knew he was going to paid, big time. It was just a question of how much and for how long. And now we know: Bautista will receive a five-year, $64-million contract, plus a $14-million club option for 2016.

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