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Following up: Inside Toronto's failed pursuit of Kenny Williams

Plus: Avisail Garcia agrees about his need to shed weight, and Conor Gillaspie adds pounds

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Just as the winter meetings opened last month, word surfaced that the Toronto Blue Jays wanted to hire Kenny Williams to replace Paul Beeston as the club's president.

It was a strange story for a few reasons, and beyond the inconvenient timing. It was hard to understand the timeline, as Williams' reaction to a seemingly fresh story was, "That ship has sailed." And based on how you interpreted Williams' compliments of Toronto against the news that Reinsdorf denied the Blue Jays permission to interview Williams, one might get the sense that Williams had one foot out the door and Reinsdorf held him back by force.

But as the Jays abort their awkward, prolonged and public pursuit of another under-contract GM in Baltimore's Dan Duquette, it looks like there's something fundamentally off about the way they're conducting this search.

Sure enough, Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun detailed the Blue Jays' failed pursuit of Williams and said it can be applied to the Duquette situation. The entire read is fascinating, but it basically shows that Ed Rogers, deputy chairman of Roger Communications (which owns the Blue Jays), bungled it before it began:

Nov. 5, 2014

Ed Rogers, deputy chairman of Rogers Communications, phones White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf to ask for permission to hire Williams

"I asked, ‘For what position?’ " Reinsdorf said Friday from Chicago. "Edward said, ‘For Paul Beeston’s job.’ "

It could be pointed out here that Rogers’ knowledge of the baseball landscape was so deep, he did not know Beeston and Reinsdorf were best friends.

Reinsdorf said he told Rogers he would talk to Williams and call back.

"I called Paul and he was shocked," Reinsdorf said. A few days later, they talked again. Beeston told Reinsdorf he had talked to the Rogers people.

So, Reinsdorf decided not to call back Ed Rogers.

When Reinsdorf contacted Williams less than a week later, Williams told him that he had already been contacted by "an emissary" of Rogers, which is tampering. It even gets weirder from there, so the White Sox's opaque reaction to the story looks like the best attempt to say nothing when there's nothing nice to say.


We heard plenty from Rick Hahn about Avisail Garcia's wayward weight, but it seems like Garcia saw what Hahn did:

"I feel great," Garcia said. "Really good because I need to get in shape. I need to get ready for October. Everybody is on the same page. We want to play in October and hopefully everything works for us this year."

Adam Eaton was on an autograph stage with his fellow outfielder at SoxFest on Saturday and said Garcia could see the difference when signing pictures. Garcia and strength and conditioning coordinator Allen Thomas put together a plan this offseason and Eaton believes it will make a difference for Garcia later this season.

"On a couple of his pictures he said ‘Ewwww fat. I was fat,’ " Eaton said. "He looks great. He looks like he’s in good shape. … I think it’ll translate, too. I’ve been out of shape and I’ve played and I’ve been in shape and I played and it’s night and day. He’s young and he’s kind of finally figuring out where he needs to be."


Conor Gillaspie is going the other way with his build, blowing past the standard Best Shape Of His Life material and into more dangerous territory:

Thanks to an offseason weight conditioning program, Gillaspie estimates he has gained between 15 and 20 pounds of muscle, which should translate into driving the ball harder.

That figure sounds implausible, but the specifics aren't as significant as the existence of this story itself, since "pounds of muscle" usually foreshadows a disappointing season. He's trying to counter that with a more positive attitude:

"At the end of your season, you have to look yourself in the eye and just figure out, OK, what did I like, what did I dislike and you have to be honest with yourself," Gillaspie said. "There are quite a few things I disliked about last year, about myself, about the way I acted, about my attitude, about my confidence. It showed sometimes. But at the end of the day... I feel like I have been open about that and looked in the mirror and said ‘What can I do to fix it?’"

That sounds like Moises regret to me, but I'm not sure what I think of the results: