Anthopoulos explains deal for Devon Travis
The Blue Jays traded outfielder Anthony Gose to the Tigers on Wednesday night in exchange for second base prospect Devon Travis. On the main site, you’ll find an article on what the deal means from a Toronto perspective along with another piece that focuses on Travis’ reaction to the deal.
Below, you’ll find the full transcript of Thursday morning’s conference call with Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos as he talks about his thought process behind the trade.
When the move started to gain traction…
“Myself and (Tigers GM) Dave Dombrowski talked about it. We caught up in the offseason, maybe about two weeks ago, we were talking about some things and as a concept we kind of just kicked it around. I’m trying to remember the nights because they all kind of blend together. Tuesday night we circled back a little bit and got a little more serious that maybe we would both consider doing it. We agreed to sit on for a day and then last night probably around 8 o’clock eastern it got real serious and we probably completed the deal around 10 o’clock eastern time last night.”
Deciding to trade Gose…
“I don’t think it was a matter of departing. We like Anthony quite a bit. He’s a Gold Glove caliber defender in center field with probably as good of an outfield arm as you’re going to find and game changing speed. He’s still improving with the bat but with that being said we do have Dalton Pompey, we do have (Kevin) Pillar and a dearth of middle infield prospects and guys we think can come quick.
“A guy like Devon Travis is someone that we’ve liked for awhile. He’s had success everywhere he’s been in baseball, had a good career at Florida State, make-up is off the charts. I think this was just a good baseball trade for both teams. They were thin in center field, we were thin in middle infield prospects. They had depth there and we had depth in center. I don’t think either one of us wanted to trade our respective players but it made sense for both clubs.”
Why Gose never blossomed into the player you thought he’d be…
“I think it’s much too early to try to make a definitive determinations on someone’s career. He played this year pretty much at 23. He got to the big leagues at 20 or 21. I think he continues to improve, continues to get better. I remember Brandon Phillips was out of options with the Indians as a 24-year-old and got moved to the Reds and finally put it all together. We’ve got guys on our team, Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista. Next year could be the year that it all comes together for him but I think the ability and the talent is still there. I think it’s a good deal for both clubs, it addresses areas that we were both lacking and I certainly think that Anthony has the upside to be an outstanding player.”
Full-time CF for next season and Gose wasn’t going to be that option?
“No. This has everything to do with Devon Travis. We like him a lot … we were not looking to trade Anthony Gose. I think the focus, the way this is going, to be honest, is completely wrong. Anthony Gose, there was no expectation that he would be traded, no discussions of trading him, Devon Travis is someone we wanted to get and the cost of acquisition was Gose. It wasn’t something we wanted to do but I don’t think Dave was going to send him over to us for free. We were going to have to give somebody up we liked in a position of strength.
“It’s not an indictment on Anthony Gose’s ability or anything like that at all. We think Travis is an outstanding player, we think he can come quick. He does a lot of things we like. He’ll put the bat on the ball, his contact skills are good, he can draw up some walks, he uses the whole field, the makeup is off the charts. We’d expect him to start in Triple-A next year but we wouldn’t rule out, barring adding some other guys to the 25-man, and competing for a job at second base. This deal, for us, was about acquiring Travis moreso than any other component with respect to Gose.”
How does this impact your search for a 2B/3B? Are you happy with the candidates you have in house right now?
“I think we improved our candidates by adding a guy like (Travis). You wish maybe Devon was a little further along but we look at a guy like Pompey, who really flew through the Minor Leagues last year, half a season in the Florida State League, maybe a month or so in New Hampshire and then two or three weeks in Triple-A. If you look at the year that Travis had in Eerie, he probably easily could have moved up to Triple-A and who knows.
“We just haven’t had a chance to get him yet, and he around him, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he can come quick. That being said, we’re not going to rule out making the team better. No one is blocked right now and because these guys are young, Travis isn’t even on the roster yet, even when you get on the roster you have options and so on, it doesn’t change anything I just think we’re in a better position long term and we re-allocated some of our depth and we’re a little more protected from a middle infield standpoint.”
Presence of Pompey made this deal possible…
“Yeah, I think there’s no question. Dalton, last year, he was a nice surprise. We liked him but he really came on, he does a lot of things that we like. Even Pillar as well, he started to make strides. Having watched him at the end of the year, the quality of his at-bats got better. He still needs to work on being more seleective at the plate but I think Pillar, getting more comfortable with him as well. Dalton and Pillar both, we feel like we’re in a pretty good spot there and there was really no one internally other than a guy like Goins, who is on the 40 from a middle infield standpoint for us.”
Does Travis have a shot at starting? What did you mean by wishing he was further along?
“I meant further along in the sense that it would have been nice to see him have some Triple-A at-bats but, again, I tried to use the example of Pompey just because he didn’t play at Triple-A, he could have easily gone up there for two or three weeks, been fine and been on a similar path. There’s a similar skill set, not in terms of speed and things like that, but their offensive profiles are similar in terms of being able to work the count, have good at-bats, use the whole field and all of that. It wouldn’t surprise me if Travis comes into Spring Training, looks very good and has a chance to make the team but a lot of that is going to depend on what we do here in the next two months.”
What’s Travis’ glove like?
“We have him as solid-average. Some people might think it might be a tick above but we have him as an average defensive player but he just does a lot of little things well. I mentioned this to some guys last night, he’s a good all-around baseball player that does a lot of things to help you win games. He can steal a base for you, he has surprising power, from what our scouting reports have and he’s solid from a defensive standpoint as well. It will be nice to get a look at him and he’s still young … from what we hear about the make up, the work ethic, the character, it wouldn’t surprise me if a guy like that continued to improve.”