Devon Travis reacts to getting traded
The Blue Jays have potentially found their second baseman of the future by acquiring Devon Travis from the Tigers in exchange for outfielder Anthony Gose. On the main site, you’ll find full reaction to the deal, plus lower on this blog you’ll also find the full transcript of Thursday’s conference call with Alex Anthopoulos.
Here you’ll find another full transcript. This time it’s Travis, who spent about 15 minutes talking to reporters one day after he was told about the trade to Toronto.
How did you hear about the trade…
“I actually just walked into the house. It was 10 or 11 p.m., I know that because I got the phone call from Dave Owen, who is the Tigers director of player development and I just had a weird feeling. Why would Dave be calling me at 10 or 11 at night, it was definitely a little awkward. Sure enough, I said to my mom and said, I showed them the phone and I said, I think I’m about to get traded. He called and let me know and as soon as I hung up with Dave Owen, Alex called me to welcome me to the team.”
Reaction to the trade…
“I’m just excited. Obviously finding out last night, it definitely shocked me a little bit. Not in the sense that I never thought it would happen, I guess it’s just crazy because this is my first time ever dealing with anything like this. I’m just so excited, the opportunity to play with guys like (Marcus) Stroman, (Aaron) Sanchez, Drew Hutchison, who I played with here in Florida. It’s something that’s pretty incredible and I’m definitely looking forward to the opportunity.”
On transitioning to CF with Detroit and no longer having to worry about that move…
“I’ve played second base my entire life and it’s definitely the place I’m most comfortable at. But at the same time I’ve always been the type of guy that you can tell me to bat first, you can tell me to bat ninth, you can tell me to play left, you can tell me to catch. I just want to play. When the Tigers came up to me, shucks it was with a week left in the season, they asked if I wouldn’t mind moving to center field to see how that went. I was on board, it was something that was giving me an opportunity to make my dream come true. I was on board. I was actually having a good time out there but definitely second base is like home to me. I never really envisioned myself as a center field, I was just doing everything I can to help the team win.”
What did Alex tell you, read somewhere that if the season were to start today you’d be the 2B. Is that what he told you?
“That’s definitely not what he told me. It was honestly a pretty cool phone call. I literally had just got off the phone with the Tigers and not even 10 seconds later I got a phone call from Toronto. I was hoping it was someone within the organzation and sure enough it was Alex. He basically told me that they were very happy to have me, he’s looking forward to getting to know me in Spring Training however things play out from here on out will obviously determine where I would start the season but I’m just thankful man. All you can ask for in life and in this game is an opportunity and I feel like the opportunity I have now with the Blue Jays I’m so thankful for that and I look forward to seeing where it will take me.”
Did he say you at least had a shot at competing for a big-league job though?
“Yes, he did. He told me going in Spring Training, as long as no other big moves were made, that I will have every opportunity and a chance to compete for the job in camp so that was pretty exciting to hear.”
Alex described you a “baseball player.” What does that description mean to you?
“I don’t know. I’ve always been, I still am, I’ve always been the smallest guy on my team from five-years-old and up. I’m just the little guy that’s always dirty, diving for no reason trying to make plays that I know I’m not going to make, just little things like that. Coming to the field everyday and bringing everything I have. It’s something as a little guy, we don’t have the luck to be able to come to the field like Big Papi, you can have an off-day, you don’t have to be on your A-game and he can still run into some balls and hit three home runs that day even though he’s not feeling well.
“I have to come to the ballpark every single day and give it 110 percent. I know that’s what I have to do. It’s something I’ve grown to love, just going to the field every day, never taking a day off, never taking a pitch off, never take an inning off, as long as I go to the field everyday and bring that same mentality, that’s all I can ask out of myself. I would imagine that maybe that’s what he was saying, I’m the type of guy that likes to bring a lot of energy to the game every day.”
Where do you feel your game is most solid and where are the points of emphasis of where you want t work on…
“I’d say the biggest thing, being a smaller guy like I said, just bringing that same energy to the field the entire day. I work hard at everything about equally. I don’t ever consider myself great at any specific thing. I just like to work as hard as I can and try to let the results show up for themselves. I have a lot of fun, I’m a guy that likes to smile a lot and really enjoy the game. I try not to take things too seriously.”
Not being a big guy, is that one of the reasons you think you fell in the draft?
“That’s a question I’ve been asked several times. I’m sure that’s one of the reasons why … I don’t know. I guess I would say, yeah, being a smaller guy it is definitely a little bit harder to go higher in the draft. Then you look at guys like Stroman, me and him are about the same size, he went in the first round, he’s obviously just a special talent and guys like him don’t come around too often.”
Changed batting stance, went more upright?
“I did. Going into my first full season, which was last year, in the offseason of last year, I was hitting and I had never really been comfortable when I was hitting. That was just kind of the way I hit my whole life. I was spread out and kept it more simple. I wanted to be a little more comfortable and a guy that I hit with in the offseason … my high school hitting coach, he just tells me, grab a bat and get comfortable. I grabbed the bat and got comfortable and literally it was a completely different stance than I had ever hit. He said, well how about you try to hit comfortable and this offseason and we can work from there.”
Does that help you get to the inside pitch a little better as well?
“Definitely. That’s the hardest pitch to hit in the game, I think. If a pitcher can throw a fastball to the inside corner, they all throw pretty hard, hitting an inside fastball is probably the toughest pitch to hit in the game and it’s definitely freed my hands up a little bit and has at least helped me a little bit in that regard.”
Do you feel like you’re Major League ready at this time…
“That’s a tough one. I want to say yes. I think that some of the guys I faced this year were guys, obviously in Double-A, 94-95-96 mph. Obviously this year was a big test for me and I felt pretty comfortable. Last year’s Spring Training was my first big-league Spring Training. The biggest thing that I found out is that the guys up there they just do such a great job of sticking to their plan and never actually venturing off from their plan. Even when they’re struggling, they’re 0-for-3, 0-for-40, pitchers have five messy starts in a row, six starts in a row, they never leave their plan.
“I think that’s the biggest thing that I’m continuing to work on. It’s tough for a Minor Leaguer when we go through the 0-for-20, 0-for-30 slumps … it’s hard to just keep believing. That’s the biggest thing with big leaguers, they always believe even when things are going wrong. I think on the field, I don’t want to come out and say that I’m ready now to do well in the big leagues, but I do believe in myself and I do believe that I could play in the big leagues today.”
Interaction with Stroman on Twitter, what’s your relationship with him?
“My freshman year of college, I went to Florida State and Marcus Stroman went to Duke, we were both in the ACC. There was a little guy on the other team in my freshman year playing second base actually, Stroman can hit a little bit in college. He’s a good fielder, he can run, he’s a pretty freakish athlete and he played second base as well. He played all these innings at second base and then in the ninth inning he comes in and pitches. He gets on the mound and we’re like this is going to be great, this is probably going to be a guy hitting 84-85, this is our chance to get some hits. Then this little guy gets on the mound and he’s blowing bubbles and throwing 95-96 as a freshman in college.
“From that point on I was immediately intrigued. I kind of kept my eye on him through college, freshman year he did well, sophomore year he did even better playing for USA and then junior he ended up being a first-round pick. We’ve always kind of kept in touch over Twitter. We didn’t know each other too well, just from playing each other and then last year we had the opportunity to hang out a little bit. We played in the Fall League together. Not on the same team but out in the Fall League together. We’ve kept in touch, checking on him, he’s checking on me. It’s actually pretty cool. Two guys that I never looked forward to facing in the Minor Leagues was Stroman and Aaron Sanchez so I’m happy I’m on the same side as them.”
September surgery for a sports hernia, how are you doing now?
“I think I’m nine weeks out today actually. The rehab was four-to-six weeks. I was full sprinting, lifting and basically doing everything except swinging four weeks in. I feel great, I could swing right now, I’m kind of just treating it like a normal offseason because I had surgery at the end of the season and I wouldn’t have picked up a bat until December anyways. So I’m basically just following that same plan, there isn’t much of a need to rush back but I feel great and I’m 100 percent.”