In a pair of excellent columns, Arden Zwelling of Sportsnet and Jonah Keri of Grantland offer behind-the-scenes looks at the chaotic week of Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos leading up to the trade deadline. Each spoke directly to Anthopoulos, and while Keri’s piece focuses on blockbuster deals for David Price and Troy Tulowitzki, Zwelling’s looks at each day of Anthopoulos’ week leading up to the deadline (including those trades and other discussions) — painting a vivid picture of the life of a general manager during one of the most chaotic times of the year.
Some highlights from each piece, although I’d highly recommend reading each in its entirety…
- Both Zwelling and Keri note that talks between the Blue Jays and Rockies date back to the offseason, but the initial concept of Jose Reyes and pitching prospects for Tulowitzki surfaced in late May. Anthopoulos, Zwelling writes, had been unwilling to part with Jeff Hoffman until the day that Tulowitzki was traded. When Hoffman’s name was put on the table, talks with Rockies GM Jeff Bridich accelerated quickly. Zwelling’s piece also provides a glimpse into the difficult task of Anthopoulos informing Reyes that he’d been traded.
- Meanwhile, Anthopoulos told Keri that the decision to add Tulowitzki did have its detractors within the Toronto front office. “They brought up the length of his contract, the dollars on his contract, the players we’d have to give up,” said Anthopoulos. However, his take on the situation varied. “Players like that don’t become available,” said the Toronto GM. “They sign 10-year contracts and become the face of a franchise. It wasn’t an easy decision. It was weird, the process was long and stressful … but it was also a lot of fun.”
- Zwelling writes that Anthopoulos was in negotiation for players such as Ben Zobrist, Gerardo Parra and Mike Leake as well, but an eventual phone call from Detroit’s Dave Dombrowski caused him to shift his focus to Price. Dombrowski had told Anthopoulos a week before the trade deadline that he’d call him if he decided to move Price, and despite the fact that Anthopoulos saw constant rumors about Price’s availability, his respect for Dombrowski prevented him from calling to check in. “His guarantee that he’d call me was all I needed,” said Anthopoulos. “Dave’s a complete pro. No matter what was being said in the media, I was going to take his word for it. When and if the time presented itself, he was going to call.”
- Anthopoulos tells Zwelling that while there was pressure to get a deal for Price and/or another starter done, he did have a fallback plan. Anthopoulos had a standing agreement in place for a yet-unnamed lesser pitcher than Price that he could’ve swung on July 31, but the move for Price halted that need.
- Keri notes that Anthopoulos was on the phone with Mariners counterpart Jack Zduriencik discussing Mark Lowe when Dombrowski came calling with the info that he was ready to move Price. “I’m dying to jump off the phone, but I don’t want to do that to Jack,” said Anthopoulos. “I did really want Price, though. So I did hurry it along.”
- Keri cites a Blue Jays source in reporting that the Blue Jays nearly had a trade completed for the Indians’ Carlos Carrasco, but talks fell apart just as the Jays thought they had something worked out. The Jays also checked in with the Phillies on Cole Hamels over the winter, in Spring Training, before the All-Star break and with 10 days to go before the trade deadline, Keri reports, but were repeatedly told that Hamels wouldn’t waive his no-trade clause to approve a deal to Toronto. Anthopoulos also aggressively pursued the Padres’ Tyson Ross, according to Keri’s source, though he gives no indication that anything was as close with Ross as it seemingly was with Carrasco.
Wonder what the corrasco package was.
@elliottbaseball says Jays offered Norris, Hoffman & Pompey
Surprised no alford.
I’d have done that deal. Carrasco is OK…but I’m surprised he gets that prospect offer…good contract I suppose
Yeah I would have jumped on that deal if I was Cleveland.
If it included hitting prospects (of similar value) instead of pitching prospects, I say Celeveland would’ve jumped on the offer. I’d say that’s why they didn’t accept it.
I don’t know….that’s some elite talent regardless of position.
Just goes to show you how teams are not moving their top, young position talent these days. Out of all the top prospects that changed hands at the deadline, only 2 I can think of were position players (Brett Phillips and Nick Williams). And in Phillips’ case, Houston is absolutely stacked with young OF and Williams wasn’t even Texas’ top OF prospect making each a little more expendable.
omg thank god that didn’t happen
Beeston really looks like a “lameduck” in that article from Zwelling. “We just committed to trading our top prospect and absorbing a very large multi-million dollar contract for a somewhat injury prone player.” “Well, all right.” is all he can say? Also, in bed by 10pm? Probably stark contrast to how the Cubs are run with Theo and Jed.
Great articles and insight but they seemed to unnecessarily emphasize or dramatize the lack of sleep parts. I think it’s very common to be sleep deprived in today’s modern culture no matter what your occupation may be. Even as a student, I think that I slept less than these GM’s may have during their busiest week. Some fans and reporters probably got less sleep, so I don’t think it’s a big deal to go back to the office and work until 3 AM.
But the articles were eye-opening *runs*
“..players like that don’t become available”… Some truth to that, but when they do its not always a good sign. Hard to be the face of a franchise when you’re averaging maybe 100 games as an offensive player. No doubt there were some in the front office who had doubts on Tulo. I guess if he stays healthy for a few months and plays at his potential and they win the series its all worth it…but I think in Canada they MUST win the series for extended relevance.
Compared to Tulowitzki, I would say that Reyes is just an injury prone. Between the two, Tulo is projected to be salary neutral whereas Reyes is projected to incur heavy losses.
I don’t mind this trade because the Blue Jays seem horrible at developing their own middle-infield prospects and would rely more on the trades / FA to fill those gaps.
I think they’ll shift him off SS if nothing else long-term.