Blue Jays opt to stay quiet at Trade Deadline
GM Anthopoulos involved in some dialogue, but never came close to dealing
OAKLAND -- Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos opted to stick with the status quo as the non-waiver Trade Deadline came and went on Wednesday afternoon.
The decision wasn't entirely unexpected considering Toronto had been ruled out as a buyer for several weeks and wasn't prepared to part with some of its core players as the club attempts to take another crack at contending in 2014.
There was still a little bit of dialogue in the days leading up to the 4 p.m. ET Deadline, but enticing offers didn't surface and the Blue Jays will move forward with their roster intact and a lot of players signed to long-term deals.
"It was pretty quiet overall," Anthopoulos told reporters during an afternoon conference call. "We weren't going to be involved in rentals unless it was a no-brainer, and anything we were going to do was going to help us not only in the current year but moving forward.
"I think we had a lot of productive dialogue that could lead to a deal in the offseason. That's certainly happened before, where you start at the Trade Deadline and it continues on into the offseason and you get something done."
The one area of Toronto's roster originally expected to generate a lot of interest was the bullpen. The Blue Jays possess one of the most reliable relief corps in the Major Leagues, and with contending teams in search of additional arms, the theory was a deal could be possible.
That ended up not being the case, as the Blue Jays decided to hang onto the likes of closer Casey Janssen, left-hander Brett Cecil and right-hander Steve Delabar. The only pending free agent from the group is lefty Darren Oliver, but it does not appear as though any offers surfaced from a contending team.
Toronto likely will revisit trade talks during the offseason. Oliver still could be moved in August if he passes through waivers, but there isn't anything imminent. For now, the Blue Jays will continue with what they have and reassess at the end of the season to determine where the organization goes from here.
The main reason for the lack of activity was that the market didn't produce a lot of high-end offers for bullpen arms in recent days.
"In fairness to him specifically, I don't want to comment about trade rumors, but I guess what I can say, in general terms, the left-handed relief market, overall there were a lot of players out there that were available to other teams," Anthopoulos said when asked about Oliver.
"You didn't see a lot of left-handed relievers traded, and I'm pretty aware of what players were available on other teams and there were quite a number of left-handed relievers available, many with expiring contracts, and you just didn't see them move. In fairness, maybe the demand isn't there for a certain spot."
One thing working against Anthopoulos is that he likely won't have a lot of financial flexibility this offseason. The club already has more than $106 million committed to 13 players next season, and with a $4 million club option on Janssen looming and several players headed for arbitration, that number will rise to north of $120 million.
That doesn't count the approximately $14 million qualifying offer the Blue Jays would have to give right-hander Josh Johnson if they want to keep him around in the hopes of a bounce-back 2014 season or at the very least would net a compensatory Draft pick if he left for another organization.
Add in the potential $7 million option for designated hitter Adam Lind with a $2 million buyout, and Anthopoulos won't have a lot of wiggle room. He'll have to be creative with any upgrades during the offseason as he attempts to get his organization back on track after it failed to live up to the hype this year.
"There's no question we need to make improvements, we need to get better and the results in the standings speak for themselves," said Anthopoulos, whose team is last in the American League East. "We certainly are going to need to improve, I think that goes without saying.
"I still feel good about a lot of our players, but like anything, from year-to-year you evaluate -- some evaluations change -- and the way that the season plays out you have to adjust accordingly. There's no question we're going to have to make some changes and improve the roster in various ways, but there weren't those opportunities for us in terms of deals that made sense right now."
Anthopoulos said he thought a deal was possible with an undisclosed team about a week ago, but the potential trade fell apart before there was any serious traction. The same could be said about another trade scenario, which surfaced on Tuesday morning but quickly fell apart.
Toronto's 36-year-old GM also went out of his way to speak out against the rumors which had been surrounding his club in recent days. There were reports that the Blue Jays were looking to deal the likes of Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonifacio and Melky Cabrera, while several media outlets suggested several teams were taking a serious look at Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion.
In the case of Buehrle, Anthopoulos likely wouldn't have minded shedding the $38 million the veteran lefty is owed from 2014-15, but in the other situations it doesn't appear as though Toronto was remotely motivated to make a deal.
"The two things we tried to do did not ever once get out there in the media, they were never in the rumor mill, there was a lot of things out there, we follow it, we read it," Anthopoulos said.
"The things that we worked the longest and the hardest on were not out there, and the things that were out there from a media perspective, I'd say almost all of them were completely false.