July 2013

Anthopoulos on the trade deadline

On standing pat…

“Like we do every trade deadline, we had plenty of dialogue leading into it. We had something we were trying to do much before the trade deadline and last week it probably fell apart. I don’t know that we were ever that close but for a day or two we had momentum and it fell apart. There was one other thing we were hopeful to get done that it looked like we had a chance and were moving towards but that didn’t really materialize as of yesterday morning.

“It was pretty quiet overall, at this time you get a lot of ideas that are getting bounced around between GMs, phone calls, emails, texts, but for us we weren’t going to be involved in rentals unless it was a no brainer and anything we were going to do was going to help us not only in the current year but moving forward. I think we had a lot of productive dialogue that could lead to a deal in the offseason. That’s certainly happened before where you start at the trade deadline and it continues on
into the offseason and you get something done.

Still comfortable with current roster?
“There’s no question we need to make improvements, we need to get better and the results in the standings speak for themselves. We certainly are going to need to improve, I think that goes without saying. There are times during the year when you have a chance to do that, when teams are engaged, general managers are engaged and this trade deadline is certainly one. GMs meetings, winter meetings are obviously other areas and then you obviously have free agency as well. I still feel good about a lot of our players but like anything from year to year you evaluate, some evaluations change, and the way that the season plays out you have to adjust accordingly, there’s no question we’re going to have to make some changes and improve the roster in various ways but there weren’t those opportunities for us in terms of deals that made sense right now.

What areas did you focus on at the deadline?
“I don’t even know that I want to say we came close, I’d say maybe we had some traction. I think last year we came a lot closer to a deal that we were working very hard on and I thought we came very close but it ended up falling apart at the last minute. We had some traction on some things but ultimately it wasn’t going to make sense for us.

“We’re always in the market to add a starter especially with the way the rotation has been for us so we definitely explored some things there and we’re still looking to acquire some middle infield help, that’s definitely something we’ve taken a look at as well. Those were probably the two areas we were most active in overall and then there were some other ideas thrown at us that were larger concepts but just didn’t seem like things we needed to rush to do now. There were a lot of concepts that were thrown around where you just agree that maybe it’s something we talk about again in the offseason when we both have more clarity at that time.”

Blue Jays players drawing interest from a lot of other teams?
“We have a lot of players, we had a good number of players that made the All-Star team, each team has players that fit for other clubs. So I’m not saying ours is any more than any others but you always get activity. It’s a good team of the year in the sense that it’s the one time that 29 clubs are really engaged and open to making trades and that’s really their focus especially this past week, the past three or four days, that’s all everybody spent time doing. Deadlines are a good thing in terms of
getting deals done and that’s why you get a lot more dialogue.

“As we have each year, we got asked about a lot of our players. The two things we
tried to do, did not ever once get out there in the media, they were never in the rumour mill, there was a lot of things out there, we follow it, we read it … there was a lot of things out there about us shopping players, being asked about players or being engaged in players that were completely false. The things that we worked the longest and the hardest on were not out there and the things that were out there from a media perspective I’d say almost all of them were completely false.”

On not moving guys who are on expiring contracts…
“You don’t want to make a deal for the sake of making a deal, that’s the biggest thing. You can trade anybody at any time, every GM can make trades at this time of the year but you have to feel good about it and you have to feel like it makes sense.  Same way if we made trades today and you had asked me why I made the trades, I’d better have some reasons. Even though there are expiring contracts, if you don’t feel good about the value…

“I know we have expiring contracts and I know a lot of times players get moved on expiring contracts, I haven’t looked at the total with the other 29 clubs but it’s not always the case that guys get moved just because their contracts are expiring. We make deals when we think it makes sense and we think it improves the ballclub. If we don’t think the moves are going to improve the ballclub, there’s no sense in doing them. “

On not moving Oliver…
“In fairness to him specifically I don’t want to comment about trade rumors but I guess what I can say, in general terms, the left-handed relief market overall there were a lot of players out there that were available to other teams. I think you only saw one team in the last two or three days acquire a left-hander and that was the Indians. I don’t think any other team made a deal for a left-handed reliever.

“That’s not to say teams didn’t want to but sometimes things get written that teams are interested in this player, that player, and I don’t know if there was the demand out there … you didn’t see a lot of left-handed relievers traded and I’m pretty aware of what players were available on other teams and there were quite a number of left-handed relievers available through trade, many with expiring contracts, and you just didn’t see them move. In fairness, maybe the demand isn’t there for a certain spot.”

(editor’s note — Anthopoulos did later talk about a left-hander going to the Diamondbacks in the deal for Ian Kennedy as well)

Anticipate August being busier than years past?
“It’s tough to say, I think there’s more money in the game so I don’t know as many contracts will slide through waivers in August, with a lot more players getting blocked and I think that could limit the activity overall.  I don’t have a sense one way or the other, it wouldn’t surprise me if it stays consistent to what it has been in the past. I know there has been a lot of talk that this has been a slower trade deadline than it has in the past.  I think a lot of that is because of the wild card standings, even last year you saw more teams that were in the running and in the hunt.  I think a lot of teams want to be as competitive as they can be. I don’t  know, it’s hard to predict, I would expect it to be slow. I don’t know that I expect it to be a very active August one way or the other because I don’t know that that many players are going to clear.”

Fallout from the Rasmus slide

Tonight’s game story on the incident at second base between Colby Rasmus and Omar Infante can be found on the main site (bluejays.com) but here are some of the leftovers that didn’t make it into the piece with reaction from both sides:

Colby Rasmus:

On the play….
“I just treated it like any other time when I’m on first base. Rajai hit a groundball so I was coming in hard trying to break up the double play. Nothing was different.”

Where the point of contact was…
“It happens pretty fast but I think I got him right around in his cleats, probably ankle.”

On Tigers players wanting a suspension….
“That’s their thought on it. There’s nothing different than I ever do, I feel like. I go in hard every time and my intention is never to hurt anybody or anything like that. I was taught that early in this game and that’s how I play. I didn’t mean for anything bad to happen but it’s no different than any time I come in.”

On if anything was said by Tigers players….
“Nobody said anything to me. Obviously they’re going to be upset but that’s just part of the game.”

John Gibbons:

“I don’t comment on those things publicly. Possibly controversial plays. It’s got to be because you’re asking about it. But that never does anything good. It could inflame some things, so I’d rather not comment on those things.”

Max Scherzer:

“That was very dirty. I didn’t like that at all. He didn’t need to slide into second base like that. That’s something that’s not in this game. That’s something where, if we were to retaliate on him, we’d get suspended, but really he should get suspended for making a slide like that. He slid way too late, when you look at it on replay. I understand playing the game hard, but that’s not a clean play.”

“That’s a big blow, because of how well (Infante’s) done, production defensively and production offensively. He’s put together great at-bats and keeps the lineup, makes it a hard out in the bottom part of the lineup. He’s a critical reason why we’ve been good this year.”

“We’re really mad about that slide. That’s a very dirty play in my book. You watch it on replay, he’s spikes-up, he’s sliding late. Rajai Davis is running there. He’s going to be safe at first. You’re most likely not going to turn two there. There’s no reason to slide in like that. That’s why I said I feel like he should be suspended. Obviously our nature is we want to retaliate, but when we retaliate, we get suspended. It really should be his suspension. If MLB can look at me and judge whether I hit him and I should get a suspended, well, can’t MLB look at him and judge he should get a suspension? … That’s what’s crap about the whole suspension thing. It’s only if you throw at somebody. No, that’s not right. He should have a suspension.”

“You knew it was a bad injury, the way he grabbed. He didn’t even get up. That’s what happens when you play dirty.”

Torii Hunter:

“My eyes were on him, but I was on the whole situation. I was just upset. To come in like that, that’s fine. It’s no big deal. I was just mad. It hurt, first of all, he came up and in, and he took out my second baseman. So I kind of vented.”

“They’re not going to try to hit me right there, not with Miggy behind me and 6-0. That’s not why I was upset, trust me. I’m not upset with anyone there.”

“I thought it was a dirty slide. Simple as that.”

“That’s the only way I can vent. I wanted to vent and I’m sorry. No, I’m not.”

“I’m here to win. You take away somebody like that that’s very important to our ballclub, I’m upset. I’m a veteran guy. I want to win. It ain’t about stats. It ain’t about selfishness. I want to win. And when you take out a guy dirty like that, I’m upset.”

“The lateness of the slide, the spikes were high, it was all wrong. 5-0. Rajai Davis is running. It made no sense to do that at all. I’ve been around the game. Trust me, I’ve broken up a lot of double plays. You’re not going to do it that way. With Rajai running, 5-0? Come on. He knows he messed up. Look in the mirror.”

Omar Infante:

“That play, I don’t think he needs to slide into me like that. I think that’s dirty. That’s a dirty play. I know you come in to break up a double play, but not like that. That’s too much. I know some players play hard and some players don’t think about another player, but that slide, that’s dirty. I mean, that’s too much.”

“I see the replay. That’s bad.”

“I was surprised, because that’s the first time that’s happened to me.”

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