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Wrapping up the Winter Meetings

The Winter Meetings officially came to a close on Thursday morning and the Blue Jays don’t exactly have a lot to show for their efforts. The only actual move Toronto made this week was claiming Chris Colabello off waivers from the Twins and the only fans who should be excited about that move are the ones in Buffalo because that’s where he’s expected to start the 2015 season. Outside of that, it was a relatively quiet week at least in terms of news that actually affects the 25-man roster. The constant talk about Paul Beeston and the future of the Blue Jays’ presidency, well that’s another story entirely.

On the main site you’ll find full coverage of this week’s events but I also wanted to provide some of my stray thoughts about how this week unfolded:

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Gibbons Q+A at Winter Meetings

John Gibbons met with media on Day 1 of the Winter Meetings here in San Diego and below you’ll find the full transcript of his availability. The transcript was provided by ASAP Sports. (Editor’s note — There are some typos in here, I’ll eventually go back and edit ASAP’s work but in the meantime you should be able to get the full idea of what Gibbons is trying to say here).

Q. It’s had to have been a fun offseason, a couple of significant adds to this team?

JOHN GIBBONS: It’s been big. Of course Russell Martin came on first. He’s a guy that everybody in the organization wanted to be able to get. That was big to set the tone. And of course Donaldson and Saunders, who knows where
it goes from here. It’s been a big offseason for us at this point.

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Donaldson reacts to blockbuster trade

Here is the full transcript of Saturday morning’s conference call between a group of reporters and the Blue Jays new third baseman Josh Donaldson:

Initial shock of being traded…
“Like you said, there was definitely a lot of shock. It was something at the time, that was a little ahead of schedule as far as being traded. But then like you said, you start moving past that, you start looking at the capability of this lineup, the potential it brings, I would venture to say that there’s probably not going to be another lineup as potent as this in Major League Baseball.”

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Anthopoulos explains Donaldson trade

Full transcript of Alex Anthopoulos’ conference call with reporters late Friday night:

Have you talked to Donaldson yet?
“I just talked to him, 20 minutes ago, and he was excited. I told him, he reminded me a little bit of Bautista in his swing, he has the leg lift, just kind of his set-up even though he’s closed off in his stance. He said, ‘you know what, I’ve actually been studying Bautista quite a bit.’ He told me that’s when he felt like he really emerged, when he started studying him a
little bit, tried to emulate him. Not the exact swing but there are some similarities there. He’s excited, he’s excited to come here, and win, and hopefully help get this team into the playoffs.”

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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.

Devon Travis:

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.”

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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.

Alex Anthopoulos:

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.”

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Anthopoulos talks about trading Lind

The Blue Jays made their first significant move of the offseason on Saturday afternoon by trading first baseman/designated hitter Adam Lind to the Brewers in exchange for right-hander Marco Estrada. On the main site, you’ll find today’s article on the deal plus another item on the decision to pick up the club option on J.A. Happ while declining 2015 contracts on Brandon Morrow, Dustin McGowan and Sergio Santos.

Below, you’ll find the full transcript of Alex Anthopoulos’ conference call with reporters about the trade and also the contract options:

Alex Anthopoulos:

On the deal…
“We’ve obviously had a lot of meetings and planning for the offseason and spent quite a bit of time talking to clubs and seeing where we might line up and match with them. The more we looked at the areas that we needed to address on the team and where we were going to deploy our resources, we ultimately decided that we weren’t going to move forward with both Adam and Encarnacion at the first base/DH spot. The decision at that point was to see what we could get for Adam. When I talk about resources, it’s where we’re going to allocate our dollars. I think everyone knows we have free agents in center and left, two thirds of the outfield, have some work to do in the bullpen, would like to solidify second or third base.

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Bautista talks deadline

“Of course it’s a little disappointing that we somehow weren’t able to get anything done, but everybody around us that’s in contention somehow — and even some teams that aren’t in contention, like the Red Sox – somehow figured it out. But there’s still time to get stuff done.”

“We still have a pretty good team put together and we’re hoping to get the guys that are hurt back and that’ll be a good injection of talent for us down the road.”

“But it’s a little bit of disappointment. So mixed feelings with the disappointment and then you’ve got to look at it from the other perspective: maybe they believe enough in our talent that they didn’t feel like they wanted to break up our group and sacrifice what we have now, because we’re
playing good ball. And maybe they have high hopes for us, and we do as well. So we got to deal with the guys we have here and we got to go out there and keep playing like we have been, with the group of guys that we have here right now.”

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Blue Jays closer Janssen speaks out

On the deadline…
“For us not to do anything, most of us had some ideas that we were going to
improve this club a little bit. It’s unfortunate we didn’t. At the same time, we just have to do what we have to do to win games and try to find ways to get into the playoffs. Yes, it was frustrating but we have to play tonight and (inaubible)…”

Beside the big names, are missing out on Martin Prado and guys like that even more frustrating?
“I just think from an overall perspective of all these teams getting better, we know it’s going to be a tough time for us. One that isn’t impossible but we’re going to have to do everything right. Obviously, we value our prospects, we value our players, I’m sure the other teams do as well. Maybe they just value the player or the opportunity to get into the playoffs more. It takes something to get something and congratulations to those teams that got those guys.”

On this being first opportunity to contend…
“We’ve heard ’92, 93 and I think we’re tired of hearing it. We want to put our stamp on Toronto and across baseball. For me in my eight years here, I’ve never been this close, never had such an opportunity to make it into the playoffs and I think that’s where this excitement level for this trade deadline was. It’s finally our time, it’s finally beating down the door and we wanted to come on the scene as strong as we can. Like I said, it didn’t happen, we just have to regroup and go about our business again.”

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Anthopoulos address lack of activity at deadline

Here is a partial transcript of today’s conference call with Alex Anthopoulos. There is plenty more to come but I have some more work to do in the clubhouse. Will finish this before tonight’s game vs the Astros.

Anthopoulos:

On the deadline…
“It’s been similar every year. It’s not like today was the only day that we were talking to teams. It’s just a continuation. Obviously it comes to an end at four, without having to expose players to waivers. Really, it has been steady, maybe a little more intense the last day. But really, the last few days, you’re on the phone a lot, back and forth, proposals, counteroffers, ideas, things like that. So very similar to years past. Obviously, now with the deadline having passed, the dynamic changes with having to put guys through trade waivers and we’ll see how that develops.”

Disappointing on not getting a deal done especially considering rivals added pieces…
“You’re always trying to get better. We weren’t going to do deals we didn’t think were going to make us better. Ultimately, if the deals had been there for us, we would have done them. But we didn’t line up on any deals that we thought were going to improve the clubs.”

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