It’s the old chicken-and-egg conundrum; does winning breed chemistry or does chemistry breed winning? In the case of the 2015 Toronto Blue Jays, it might actually be a little bit of both.
Alex Anthopoulos addressed the Blue Jays improved clubhouse chemistry (among many other things) during his appearance yesterday on Prime Time Sports.
There are a lot of notable portions of the interview, but the ones that might stand out most are Anthopoulos’ comments regarding the team’s renewed and revitalized clubhouse culture.
In doing so, he also hinted that things might not have been so harmonious in previous years.
“This is probably the epitome in my mind of a team. They all pull together, they compliment each other well, you don’t see cliques like you would in the past. It’s as good an atmosphere and camaraderie as I’ve ever seen.
The telling thing for me is we were seven games under .500 at one point, these guys were still sticking together. The character was in years past, we were five or six games under, there may be a little bit more griping or finger-pointing.
When the conversation turned towards the real difference-makers on the roster, not surprisingly, Alex mentioned high character guys and revered leaders like Josh Donaldson and Russell Martin.
In the past, the Blue Jays attempted to clean up their clubhouse by bringing in veterans like Omar Vizquel, Henry Blanco and Mark DeRosa, and Alex admitted those players alone weren’t enough to shift the culture in the locker room.
“We would almost dabble in getting high character guys; we’d get a Henry Blanco here a Mark DeRosa there, but one or two guys isn’t going to do it.
AA also indicated that the front office spent an inordinate amount of time this year and this past offseason profiling particular players to find out if they were a fit for the Blue Jays.
Notice that this was almost the exact opposite strategy by the Blue Jays in years past where it seem like they just tried to stockpile talent.
We’ve spent a lot of time, not just ‘are these good human beings and so on’, but how do they actually fit with the mix of players that we have. How does the personality mix? I’m not surprised this group meshed at all.
We did so much work on everybody we brought in and the personalities we had here, we expected it to. I would’ve been shocked if it didn’t work out that way because we were so selective on who we brought in.
In the past, we would’ve done the work but still weighed the talent more than the fit. And I think now we just have a lot more balance. This is the first time I can tell you since I’ve been a General Manager that we have 25 guys that fit really well.
Image via Steve Russell/Toronto Star/Getty Images