Transcript of Anthopoulos’ availability with the media

Here’s the full transcript of today’s availability with Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos. He attempts to explain the reasoning behind Steve Delabar’s demotion to the Minors, various injury updates, Draft news and a few questions about next month’s trade deadline:

Why send down Delabar?
“We’re trying to avoid placing anybody on the DL. We think Adam is days away, he’s really day-to-day at this point. The fact that we had the off-day, our bullpen is fresh and we needed to make a move, Delabar hasn’t performed as well as he did last year, he can use the consistent work, it’s just a combination of things. We needed to clear up a spot to get an infielder up here, and out of the relievers that were there, Chad provided us a little more length right now, and we can get Steve the work as well. That was the move for us unless we were going to go the DL route.”

Cecil OK?
“It looks good, he threw today, it sounds like if he needed to be available tonight he could, obviously we’d like to avoid that. Word I got is that if he had to pitch tonight he could. Sounds like he’s going to be fine, hopefully things don’t change tomorrow. And Lind, just talking to him as well, he still limps around a little bit, he’s optimistic and he thinks it’s getting better. It’s hard when you know the DL placement is so long, even if it takes five or six days, you get nine days that they are active for, it’s pretty important.

It didn’t look good when he was in a walking boot…
“That’s just a precautionary think to take the weight off it. The walking boot allows it to heal a lot sooner. I know it looks worse than it is, a big part of it is so he doesn’t put any weight on it.”

Pinpoint anything with Delabar’s mechanics?
“We both thought he looked better that last outing against the Orioles. Command is the biggest thing. People have pointed to other things, just his walks are a little bit up, he’s been inconsistent with his split. Against the Orioles the split was there, stuff’s there, he just needs consistency. Gibby even told him today, he’s going with the hot hand, especially late in the game, McGowan has done a good job, Cecil, Loup, Sergio’s back, we’ll see how he does. It’s going to be hard to get Steve consistent work and he’s not a long guy, so it made the most sense to get him right. He’ll be back.”

Why was Kawasaki the one picked for a promotion?
“We were looking for somebody on the roster, we don’t know how long the move is going to be for, he’s on the roster, it’s a left-handed bat, we’re not facing any left-hander, will give you a good at-bat, and you know all the other stuff he brings, and so on. He’s someone who can grind an at-bat and the fact we don’t face any left-handers, it makes sense for us. And he can also play the outfield if we needed him to.”

Rasmus update?
“We’re going to day-to-day with him. He played last night at DH, he’s going to play nine innings tonight in the field, and we’ll see how he feels but it’s really day-to-day at this point, timing, things like that. Obviously he’s very close.”

He’s feeling okay?
“He’s feeling better, we think he’s fine, he’s getting close. He’s days away. And it could be any day when he comes back, we’re really taking it day-to-day at this point. Really, we haven’t mapped anything out beyond that day. After the game we’ll make a decision on him there, and if he needs to play again, or if he could be back. Those are all things we’re going day-to-day with.

Performance based or conditioning based to give him the extra time?
“Combination of both. He’s played only, I think, nine innings of center field right now. Just like in Spring Training, he has been off his legs so long, it’s just making sure that he gets his legs. Sure, there’s a timing component of getting his at-bats but I remember last year, I don’t think he did all that well on his rehab assignment, he came back and hit three or four home runs in a short period. It’s as much making sure he gets those reps in the outfield but you’re not going to run him three or four days right out of the chute.”

Why Kawasaki over a guy like Dan Johnson, who has been hitting well in the Minors?
“We think Lind is that close. I say days, but I know if you ask Adam he thinks he might be able to DH tomorrow. We’ll find out tomorrow but I think we also need to have the infield and the fact that Kawasaki can both the infield and the outfield and he protects us. Dan is more of a first base/DH and we have a lot of those guys that can certainly fill that role. Having that versatility in the infield is pretty important for us, we have Juan that can obviously do that right now. And, again, it looks to be very short term.”

Added importance of the series given where the team currently is…
“No. Obviously, the cliche is every game’s important, and it is. But it’s June, and I think that’s regardless of who you’re playing. We’ve been on a 10-game, 11-game winning streak before and we’ve gone the other way. Even if we had a wonderful road trip that doesn’t mean there’s a lot of time for things to go the other way. I remember 2012, we were a .500 club or I think a game over at the trade deadline and we ended up with 72 wins or something.

“Even I remember the Pirates two years ago I think were 16 games over .500 at the trade deadline and they finished with 79 wins. We tend to forget, I know we keep saying it, but there’s so many games left, who we play today in a three-game series is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. Sure, it’s AL East, you want to win, but I don’t make any more of this series than I would, important series is in September if we’re in the hunt.”

Negotiations with your first-round picks…
“They’re going very well, we’re very optimistic. We’ve very optimistic and I know we’re optimistic and we feel very confident that they will get done. They’re not done yet but it definitely looks like, feel pretty confident both deals are going to get done.”

Any doubt Rasmus is the starter when he returns?
No.

Uptick in the trade talks now that the Draft is over?
“I spent a lot of time with the Draft, obviously with the ninth and 11th pick, it was so important and I spent a lot of time seeing amateurs for the draft. It’s that much easier to be away from the team, or not be around the team, when the team is playing well. So that was great. Even with negotiations, I’m dealing with the ninth and 11th picks, for those signings. The fact that’s moving forward, I’m now able to shift my focus back towards the team and definitely trade dialogue is definitely starting up a lot right now. But it’s preliminary, more of everyone’s calling to see what everyone’s needs are.

“I think the stage that everyone is at is, where do we have fits, what teams do we line up with and then the next step is, teams are out seeing our affiliates, or are going to see our affiliates. I’m going to leave tonight to go see some of our affiliates as well because we’re getting asked about a lot of our Minor League players and I’d like to lay eyes on some of the guys that are being asked about as well. I think it will be at least a few weeks for teams that we think we line up with, to evaluate what we have, and then maybe trade talks get more serious obviously when you get to the first week of July, or right before the break.”

What are your needs?
“Good question. I slipped when I said that. Considering that we’re playing well, you could argue that things are going well and we’re not (UNINTELLIGIBLE) change the roster. Maybe ‘needs’ is the wrong choice of words. If we can upgrade at certain spots, we’ll end up doing that, because I don’t want to disparage or take anything away from the guys that are currently doing the job their respective positions. But I almost screwed up there.”

Where are you looking to upgrade?
“That I can sincerely answer and say we’ve talked about every spot. I was just on the phone with someone that, if they have a player available [and] we have a good player at that spot but that player’s an upgrade, we’d look to do it. And at the same time you don’t want to disrupt the clubhouse or disrupt the flow of the team, but we’re really open to anything. But I do think the better we play and the more that we’re winning games and staying competitive and so on, it’ll buy the front office a little more time to take our time to evaluate things and not have to make a move all that fast. So it just gives us that much more time to evaluate. The fact that the team’s playing well certainly helps.”

Primary targets pitching?

“No, not necessarily. In talking to teams, there’s every position available. There’s starters, there’s relievers. Again, it’s acquisition cost, how much of an upgrade would the certain player be over what we currently have, all those type of things. We’re not necessarily actively looking for one specific spot. We’re just basically canvassing the clubs to see who’s available. In some of the conversations, players we didn’t think were available are, and we’ll see where the dialogue goes.”

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