When Alex Anthopoulos blew into town the other day, he had plenty of news to share. Among the highlights of a pre-game chat with the Jays’ general manager on Thursday were the following nuggets: He doesn’t expect to be able to sign the No. 1 pick from last month’s June draft, right-hander Phillip Bickford of Oaks Christian High School. The decision on where Brett Lawrie plays — second or third — will be left to manager John Gibbons. He still believes the Jays can be a contender this season. He isn’t in the market to add a rental player at the July 31 trade deadline. He would like to bring pitcher Josh Johnson, a free agent, back next season. Regarding Bickford, the Jays have until 5 p.m. Friday to sign the 17-year-old. Slot money for the pick is $2,921,400. “Right now, though, it looks as though we won’t be signing him,” Anthopoulos said. “I guess anything can change. Tomorrow is the deadline, but right now, we probably won’t have a deal in place.” When asked if it’s strictly about money, Anthopoulos was vague. “I wouldn’t jump to conclusions and judge,” he said. “Out of fairness, I’d say like anything, offers are made, we definitely made an offer and it looks like it’s not going to be accepted. But I wouldn’t jump to conclusions. Sometimes there’s a lot of information that isn’t out there.” The option for Bickford if he doesn’t sign is to go to Cal State Fullerton on a scholarship. If Bickford doesn’t sign, the Jays will get their draft pick back in the 2014 draft. The only thing Anthopoulos would confirm is that the Jays made an offer of at least 40% of slot to insure they would get the pick back if the offer was not accepted. If Bickford doesn’t sign, it would mark the second time in the last three years that the Jays were unable to sign their top pick. In 2011, the Jays were unable to sign right-hander Tyler Beede.
Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos says Brett Lawrie could be back on Friday
Toronto Sun | Jul 12