The Blue Jays acquisition of Josh Donaldson last offseason has been said to be due to the dogged persistence of Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos, and Joel Sherman of the New York Post echoes that sentiment, noting that Yankees GM Brian Cashman touched base with Billy Beane regarding Donaldson early last offseason. Cashman, however, was told that Donaldson simply wasn’t available in trades. Anthopolous, though, continued his pursuit despite being told the same. “Alex is and was certainly relentless,” Athletics assistant GM David Forst told Sherman. “That is his personality. But we didn’t trade Josh to make Alex go away.” Forst adds that the A’s had a list of Blue Jays players they had strong interest in, and eventually the Jays offered enough from that list to make them cave. Donaldson’s MVP-caliber season notwithstanding, Forst said the A’s still believe the players they got in the deal have bright futures that will even out the transaction in the future. Sherman notes that Franklin Barreto — who is ranked among the game’s top 50 prospects or so — and Kendall Graveman held particular appeal to the A’s.
Here’s more from the AL East…
- Brad Boxberger‘s recent comments about potential overuse from the Rays sparked some controversy, but agent Scott Boras tells Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times that he believes Boxberger is a good fit for the Rays and will benefit from a more defined role in the future. “[Manager Kevin] Cash has given him an opportunity and he’s taken advantage of it and become an All-Star, and when you have things like that happen for a young player, you’re in a good place,” said Boras. The agent, however, acknowledged that the Rays may eventually struggle to keep Boxberger for financial reasons — a comment that is less a reflection on Boras’ reputation than it is of the Rays’ well-documented payroll constraints. Boxberger has saved 36 games this season, and a full 2016 season as the Rays’ closer would set him up for a hefty payday in 2016 which could soar by 2017. Comparatively, Greg Holland received $4.675MM for his first arb-eligible season in 2014 with just 67 career saves under his belt. That figure jumped to $8.25MM in 2015. Boxberger has already saved 39 games in his career and offers similarly high strikeout numbers, albeit with a higher ERA as well.
- Also from Topkin, the Rays are shutting down Nate Karns for the remainder of the season due to tightness in his right forearm. Karns and Cash both feel that the issue isn’t serious in nature, and Karns added that at a different point in the season he might’ve pitched through the pain. With Tampa Bay having fallen out of playoff contention, though, it makes sense for Karns to focus on his health. Rookie catcher Curt Casali may also see his season shut down, Topkin notes, due to a lingering hamstring injury.