Lots of reaction to the trades
On the main Blue Jays site you’ll find an article on general manager Alex Anthopoulos explaining what happened in the hours leading up to the Non-Waiver Trade Deadline, why some moves were made and others weren’t. You’ll also find a notebook with items on Moises Sierra making his Major League debut, Steve Delabar/Brad Lincoln talking about joining the Blue Jays, and Opening Day left fielder on the mixes emotions with facing his former club on Tuesday night.
Since there’s plenty of reading to do there, I’ll get straight to the leftovers. You can find a lot of the quotes below that didn’t make it into today’s articles:
Seems like it has been a whirlwind year for you so far…
“It’s funny you say that. I asked my wife, ‘You thought last year was kind of crazy and a wild ride, like now this year we’ve gone to Japan and been back and gone all over, been sent down, back up and now we’ve been traded midway through.’ And who knows what’s going to happen the rest of the season. Hopefully a playoff run and hopefully a chance to compete for the World Series. It’s been an amazing ride. All I can say is it’s been a lot of fun so far.”
Read that you went through an intense regimen to work your way back from the elbow injury…
“They are weighted balls. They look like baseballs, just different colours. It’s a weighted baseball program, built to strengthen the shoulder and also increase arm speed at the same time. It’s based off of getting kids to stay on the field longer. Stronger shoulder, healthier shoulder kids are going to be able to be able to throw a lot more and stay on the field longer.
“I actually did the program because I was going to teach the program. With a broken elbow, I didn’t know if I was going to play again. I just wanted to be able to teach this program that we had at the indoor facility where I’m from. I just wanted to teach it, so I said I’m going to do this program and I’m going to help these kids at our academy. Sure enough, it helped me.”
That was the rehab to get here?
“That wasn’t the rehab. It was a broken bone, so there’s really not too much you can do for a broken bone, except to just let it heal. As far as my professional baseball career, it was basically over. There wasn’t much I could do at 26-27 years-old. ‘Hey guys, I’ve never been above High-A. Do you want to give me a major-league job? It doesn’t work like that. I did this program on a whim to try and help some kids and it just helped me out.”
How did you become aware of that program?
“I learned it through the owner of the facility that I work at, Joe Newton. The Players’ Dugout, Elizabethtown, Kentucky. I’ve been working there for the last eight years and he knows a guy from Maryland, Jamie Evans. He came up with this program and said you’re never going to believe this thing. It’s awesome. He only had a few clients at the time, so it wasn’t a big product. I diod the program. We only had 19 kids last year and now we’ve got over 300 from this past off season and it’s going to grow even more than that.”
Did it increase velocity too?
“The velocity did go up. Before, I think I touched 94, mostly around 90-92, 93 maybe. Now I’m 94-97, running up there even higher some days when it’s nice and arm out.”
On the Baseball Academy he was working with….
“It’s still a work in progress. We’re trying to see how far it can go and spread the word, because obviously you think about a program and what I can gain from it, but really it’s we want to get it out there and stop seeing kids get hurt. Help your arm so kids don’t have problems when they’re 8-years-old.”
On he knew on the Blue Jays…
“I only knew the names. I’ve met mostly all the guys so far. Everybody’s great. I’ve only known them from across the field, but I’ll meet them a little bit more.”
On having an opportunity to solidify spot in the big leagues…
“I just want to come in when I’m called up and do the best I can. I have no say on anything that goes on as far as moves like that. I just try to get in and be as consistent as possible.”
On giving up a high number of home runs…
“I began working on a slider, a pitch that kind of can combat the right-handed hitters. Those are the guys that have been hitting hme runs. The main focus is to get that third pitch, or maybe just another pitch, that I can throw when I’m behind in the count, so those guys aren’t just sitting on fastball. Because when you’re supplying a lot of the power, all those guys have to do is catch up with it and it goes a long way.”
On familiarity with Toronto…
“I played in Quebec, in the Can-Am League in Ottawa. I played up there in ’08 and ’09. The fanbase is amazing and I saw it again yesterday here. It’s an incredible fan base. Somebody said, it’s one team representing a whole country, so that’s a huge fan base. I look forward to playing in front of the home crowd because they have such a huge energy.”
“I’ve struggled in my career as a starter at the big-league level. For me to go in the bullpen gave me the opportunity to show what I’m capable of, just go out there and attack guys and not be so scared of the bat, I guess I was scared of contact and trying not to let them get a hit. Now I’m going to come right at you and here’s my best stuff. That’s got my confidence where it needs to be.
“My mentality fits that pretty well. For me to use my stuff like I know how has been a long time coming. Now it’s finally starting to come together.
“It’s either time to put up or shut up. For me, at this time of my career, I’m going to have to start putting up numbers to stick around. That brought me to the realization now is the time to step it up.”
On getting a fresh start…
“It’s just a great opportunity. I felt like in Triple-A I had no idea what was going on, what was going to happen. Now, talking to the GM of the Seattle Mariners, and knowing it’s a fresh chance for a new start with a great band of teammates. It’s very exciting and you can’t help but feeling enthused. I really am, it’s a great opportunity for me to come here and play ball with a new team and develop with these players.”
On how difficult this season has been…
“It was very trying because it was my first time going through that media firestorm. It was different, it was a learning experience, I feel like I came out a better man and that’s the biggest result that I could ever ask for. Now, it’s just hit the ground running, keep learning, keep adapting to the game, keep learning from the veterans and it’s going to be very exciting.”
On when he found out about the deal…
“It happened in about the eighth inning last night. The team found out that Snider was traded to the Pirates. So, I was like, well does that mean I’m getting called up or what’s going to happen. I’m hitting in the middle of an at-bat and the coaches called for me to come in. I come in and they said, you’re going up, just relax.
“I went to change my stuff and they’re like, ‘hey, nevermind, you’re getting traded to Seattle.’ Just wait a few minutes, they’ll call you. It was weird. I had kind of an out of body experience. I had never been traded before, I grew up with a lot of those guys in the system. Going through that was definitely a unique experience but I’m very excited to be a part of this organization and ready to move forward.
On how weird it was that both he and Snider got traded in the same night…
“Somebody had a tweet and it was really funny. They said, ‘the battle for left field ends in a draw.’ We were both traded and I had a good laugh about that. It is what it is, teams change throughout the year and it’s just part of the business. Injuries happen and you just have to roll with the punches.”
On why he is so excited about the deal…
“There are a whole bunch of factors contributing to it. I’m on the West Coast again, I’m a San Jose, Calif. native. Fresh air, Vegas it’s hot desert air, it wasn’t good for me. To be out here with the trees and everything, great young group of guys, it’s going to be a great rest of the year for me.
“I think that’s the worst part is having me playing them. It’s great to see them and give them all hugs and see their smiles. It’s great but I know these guys so it’s going to be a weird feeling tonight.”
On what the two trades mean for the bullpen…
“There are two components, one is a short-term one, and it bolsters our bullpen now, and with their age and years remaining under contract, there’s an eye to the bigger picture, as well.
“This answers some of those questions going forward of who you can build with.
On how difficult it was getting through with the arms available after injuries began to set in…
“There was a dropoff in terms of dependability and really Major League experience and consistency when we looked at three or four guys we’d go to in games we were either down a run or tied or ahead versus some others. It probably, because of that limited group, caused overuse on Frasor’s part and unfortunately we’re all paying the price of his absence, but the additions have given us much more depth and the ability to keep games closer in those days when we’re maybe down a run or two, with the potential of scoring some runs late.”
On when Bautista will be back…
“We envision it hopefully toward the end of this road trip but that’s a best case scenario in our minds. We have to make sure every step is complete along the way with Jose.”
On rotation with Morrow coming back in August and Happ waiting in the wings…
“Brandon’s not coming back and going to the bullpen. When he’s built up enough he’ll be inserted right back into the rotation. While J.A. might have some frustration with the current role, and that’s understandable, that’s where he is currently, we know there’s very capable ability to be back in the rotation once the need occurs. The greatest challenge for any player is aligning their own personal goals with that of the organization, that’s always a give and take along the way.”