Q&A with Andrew Tinnish - Part II

With the 2011 MLB Draft officially done after the signing deadline passed, FutureJays.com checks in with Blue Jays' Scouting Director Andrew Tinnish for a Q&A session to talk about the non-signing of first round pick Tyler Beede, how excited he was for the Jays to ink Daniel Norris, and much more!

FutureJays.com: Let's start by getting your feeling on the overhaul of talent that you guys were able to secure through the draft now that the dust has settled from the signing deadline.

Andrew Tinnish: I feel really good. I feel like we added a lot of really good players, a lot of good young players with significant upside. I think we got, in my mind, I was very excited about last year's draft and I guess I might be even more excited about this year's draft just because I felt like we got some more premium talent later in the draft this year. I'm very pleased.

FutureJays.com: I guess the question that begs asking in regards to the Tyler Beede situation is, did you feel you guys were ever close to signing him at any point or was this a situation where you guys never really got close on terms?

Tinnish: You know what? At the end of the day we made an effort to sign him. We felt like we made a strong offer. They were looking for significantly more and it didn't work out. I guess that's part of the risk involved when you take players in the draft. You have a feel for signability but there's no 100 percent guarantee obviously. It didn't work out. We wish him the best at Vandy. I think he's going to do really well there but in the same sense this is a business and we have a responsibility to do what we feel is right for our organization. We felt like we made a strong offer, it didn't work out, and we'll get the 22nd pick next year.

FutureJays.com: Was this a situation where you have a valuation placed on him, the player was worth X amount of dollars, or was it a situation where you didn't want to set a bad precedent of setting up the perception that the organization will eventually give into to monetary demands? Or was it both?

Tinnish: I think there's a lot of things that factor into it but ultimately you place a value on the player as it relates to the draft. Again, I felt like we made a strong offer. They were certainly looking for more. I respect Tyler's decision and his confidence in his ability, but at the end of the day you don't go into the draft with the intention of not signing your first round pick but at the same time we have to do what we feel is right. We reached a point where we weren't comfortable going any further and they weren't comfortable signing, and that's fine. That's part of the deal.

FutureJays.com: Now looking back, are you regretful in any way making that selection knowing you haven't signed him?

Tinnish: I said it earlier, you don't go into the draft with the intention of not signing your first round pick. I think the beauty of this system as it is currently is we get the 22nd pick in the draft next year. We took a shot at a player we felt had the best ability when it was our turn to pick and we couldn't reach an agreement, but it's not like it's a total loss. We still get a first round pick next year. From that perspective, would I rather him? Absolutely. But at the end of the day we're comfortable moving on and we're still very excited about the players we were able to sign.

FutureJays.com: You mentioned next year's 22nd pick -- some would argue that this year's depth is better than next year's depth so the caliber of player available in that spot might not be the same -- do you see it that way?

Tinnish: It's hard to tell this early. Certainly we felt like this was a strong draft this year and we felt like we got a lot of the quality talent, but in general when people say 'this draft is going to be unbelievable' or 'next year's draft is going to be unbelievable', or whatever it is, they tend to be pointing towards ten guys or so. I look back at the 2005 draft or the 2008 draft, people say what a great draft it was but they're really looking at ten or twelve guys are stars in the big leagues, not 50-60 guys. The reality is we're in a position, at least recently, we picked 21st this year and we'll pick 22nd next year, that we'll probably have another pick in a similar area. When you're not picking in the top five or ten, you don't really know what type of talent is going to be sitting there when it's your turn to pick.

FutureJays.com: You mentioned being excited about some of the talent you were able to get deeper into this year's draft -- I have to assume Matthew Dean is part of that group. What kind of hitter are we talking about here?

Tinnish: There's a lot of things that we really like about Dean. One, he's physical with looseness to his body. He's got a loose swing, good actions that are short. He's a shortstop who is probably going to be more of a third baseman in pro ball because of his size, but this is tremendous, hard worker. He's got a loose swing, power to all fields, a guy who is very athletic for his size, he's got hands, he's got arm strength. Obviously we compensated him and felt like he was much better than a 13th round talent. He slid because of his signability but we're very excited to get a player like that.

FutureJays.com: We didn't talk about Christian Lopes on draft day either. What's the book on him?

Tinnish: Lopes to us is a very advanced bat who will stay in the middle of the diamond. Whether it's shortstop or second base, only time will tell, but he's got a tremendous eye at the plate. I've seen him so much since last summer that I think he hits better with the wood bat than with aluminum this spring. He's an all-field hitter. His bat is a plus tool. He's a steady defender with a chance to stick in the middle of the diamond. He's got great makeup, an extremely hard worker; very motivated, believes in himself, believes in his ability.

FutureJays.com: What can you tell us about Mark Biggs?

Tinnish: Biggs is a big kid who we caught late in the year up to 95 mph. Actually I think he touched 96 mph at one point. He's another big big guy with big upside and a big arm who has the chance to be pretty good.

FutureJays.com: Of your later round picks who didn't sign - Norwood, Wiper, Prigatano, Seddon, etc. - were any of these guys pretty close to signing or were they all pretty far off?

Tinnish: I don't want to say we were close on everybody but we certainly got down the road with a few of those guys. They were in play. I think overall we drafted pretty aggressively knowing that we wouldn't be able to sign everybody. We made an attempt to sign some other guys but at the end of the day you only have so much in the way of finances.

FutureJays.com: Like Beede, Daniel Norris also had the reputation of being a tough sign but you got that one done. How happy are you with that one?

Tinnish: Extremely happy. He's a first round talent and we obviously compensated him that way. He was a consideration for us at #21 [overall]. Obviously he slid because of signability but you're talking about a left-hander with plus makeup who is anywhere from 88-96 mph, extremely athletic, who can spin a curveball. To me he's got the chance to be a #2 starter in the big leagues someday. I felt like we had a good chance and obviously we were able to work it out so I'm pretty excited.


Oakland Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nFutureJays.com: Let's start by getting your feeling on the overhaul of talent that you guys were able to secure through the draft now that the dust has settled from the signing deadline.
\r\n
\r\nAndrew Tinnish: I feel really good. I feel like we added a lot of really good players, a lot of good young players with significant upside. I think we got, in my mind, I was very excited about last year's draft and I guess I might be even more excited about this year's draft just because I felt like we got some more premium talent later in the draft this year. I'm very pleased.
\r\n
\r\nFutureJays.com: I guess the question that begs asking in regards to the Tyler Beede situation is, did you feel you guys were ever close to signing him at any point or was this a situation where you guys never really got close on terms?
\r\n
\r\nTinnish: You know what? At the end of the day we made an effort to sign him. We felt like we made a strong offer. They were looking for significantly more and it didn't work out. I guess that's part of the risk involved when you take players in the draft. You have a feel for signability but there's no 100 percent guarantee obviously. It didn't work out. We wish him the best at Vandy. I think he's going to do really well there but in the same sense this is a business and we have a responsibility to do what we feel is right for our organization. We felt like we made a strong offer, it didn't work out, and we'll get the 22nd pick next year.
\r\n
\r\nFutureJays.com: Was this a situation where you have a valuation placed on him, the player was worth X amount of dollars, or was it a situation where you didn't want to set a bad precedent of setting up the perception that the organization will eventually give into to monetary demands? Or was it both?
\r\n
\r\nTinnish: I think there's a lot of things that factor into it but ultimately you place a value on the player as it relates to the draft. Again, I felt like we made a strong offer. They were certainly looking for more. I respect Tyler's decision and his confidence in his ability, but at the end of the day you don't go into the draft with the intention of not signing your first round pick but at the same time we have to do what we feel is right. We reached a point where we weren't comfortable going any further and they weren't comfortable signing, and that's fine. That's part of the deal.
\r\n
\r\nFutureJays.com: Now looking back, are you regretful in any way making that selection knowing you haven't signed him?
\r\n
\r\nTinnish: I said it earlier, you don't go into the draft with the intention of not signing your first round pick. I think the beauty of this system as it is currently is we get the 22nd pick in the draft next year. We took a shot at a player we felt had the best ability when it was our turn to pick and we couldn't reach an agreement, but it's not like it's a total loss. We still get a first round pick next year. From that perspective, would I rather him? Absolutely. But at the end of the day we're comfortable moving on and we're still very excited about the players we were able to sign.
\r\n
\r\nFutureJays.com: You mentioned next year's 22nd pick -- some would argue that this year's depth is better than next year's depth so the caliber of player available in that spot might not be the same -- do you see it that way?
\r\n
\r\nTinnish: It's hard to tell this early. Certainly we felt like this was a strong draft this year and we felt like we got a lot of the quality talent, but in general when people say 'this draft is going to be unbelievable' or 'next year's draft is going to be unbelievable', or whatever it is, they tend to be pointing towards ten guys or so. I look back at the 2005 draft or the 2008 draft, people say what a great draft it was but they're really looking at ten or twelve guys are stars in the big leagues, not 50-60 guys. The reality is we're in a position, at least recently, we picked 21st this year and we'll pick 22nd next year, that we'll probably have another pick in a similar area. When you're not picking in the top five or ten, you don't really know what type of talent is going to be sitting there when it's your turn to pick.
\r\n
\r\nFutureJays.com: You mentioned being excited about some of the talent you were able to get deeper into this year's draft -- I have to assume Matthew Dean is part of that group. What kind of hitter are we talking about here?
\r\n
\r\nTinnish: There's a lot of things that we really like about Dean. One, he's physical with looseness to his body. He's got a loose swing, good actions that are short. He's a shortstop who is probably going to be more of a third baseman in pro ball because of his size, but this is tremendous, hard worker. He's got a loose swing, power to all fields, a guy who is very athletic for his size, he's got hands, he's got arm strength. Obviously we compensated him and felt like he was much better than a 13th round talent. He slid because of his signability but we're very excited to get a player like that.
\r\n
\r\nFutureJays.com: We didn't talk about Christian Lopes on draft day either. What's the book on him?
\r\n
\r\nTinnish: Lopes to us is a very advanced bat who will stay in the middle of the diamond. Whether it's shortstop or second base, only time will tell, but he's got a tremendous eye at the plate. I've seen him so much since last summer that I think he hits better with the wood bat than with aluminum this spring. He's an all-field hitter. His bat is a plus tool. He's a steady defender with a chance to stick in the middle of the diamond. He's got great makeup, an extremely hard worker; very motivated, believes in himself, believes in his ability.
\r\n
\r\nFutureJays.com: What can you tell us about Mark Biggs?
\r\n
\r\nTinnish: Biggs is a big kid who we caught late in the year up to 95 mph. Actually I think he touched 96 mph at one point. He's another big big guy with big upside and a big arm who has the chance to be pretty good.
\r\n
\r\nFutureJays.com: Of your later round picks who didn't sign - Norwood, Wiper, Prigatano, Seddon, etc. - were any of these guys pretty close to signing or were they all pretty far off?
\r\n
\r\nTinnish: I don't want to say we were close on everybody but we certainly got down the road with a few of those guys. They were in play. I think overall we drafted pretty aggressively knowing that we wouldn't be able to sign everybody. We made an attempt to sign some other guys but at the end of the day you only have so much in the way of finances.
\r\n
\r\nFutureJays.com: Like Beede, Daniel Norris also had the reputation of being a tough sign but you got that one done. How happy are you with that one?
\r\n
\r\nTinnish: Extremely happy. He's a first round talent and we obviously compensated him that way. He was a consideration for us at #21 [overall]. Obviously he slid because of signability but you're talking about a left-hander with plus makeup who is anywhere from 88-96 mph, extremely athletic, who can spin a curveball. To me he's got the chance to be a #2 starter in the big leagues someday. I felt like we had a good chance and obviously we were able to work it out so I'm pretty excited.
\r\n
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