Alex Anthopolous is Demanding…Apparently the DBacks are Not!


It always makes me laugh when we read quotes from other team GMs who state that others are “asking for way too much” in return for guys like LH RP Scott Downs. They know very well that such a player has immense value, especially during a pennant run and playoff series, and that a healthy LH RP who will net you 2 very high draft picks at the end of the year deserves just that - 1 top pospect and 1 high-end prospect. This was supposed to work out fine by the deadline, when teams start looking clearly at their clubs and notice that they just don’t have the goods to go far, let alone guarantee a playoff appearance. I’m thinking of teams like the Mets, Phillies, Cards, Reds, and the Twins, who are all looking to strengthen their chances to make the playoffs.

The Jays were pretty well guaranteed to get some really good returns for Downs, that is, until the DBacks went and traded the best arm available for a bag of question marks and guaranteed a return that would be lacking in comparison. In my mind, this pretty well sealed the fate of Scott Downs being traded. He will undoubtedly remain a Jay unless a really desperate GM comes around and offers a ton for him. After all, Alex Anthopolous does want to put his newly amped up scouting group to work as much as possible, and what better way to do so that to next an extra 2  very high picks.

The returns for Arizona could have been, and should have been much better. Mike Napoli, Hank Conger, or Jeff Mathis should have been included. When dealing a top 12 arm, you want to make certain you get at the very least a top 50 prospect in return….right? How would Jays fans have reacted if AA had dealt Roy Halladay for a similar package? Hell, AA got us 3 top 50 prospects….3!!! There’s a serious disconnect from reality here and it’s a very dangerous one that could alter the remainder of the trade deadline period. The rookie DBacks GM either lost his mind, as he regurgetated wins to substantiate the greatness of the players he acquired, or ownership forced his hand in order to shed salary. I doubt the second part is true, because in getting Saunders in return, the new GM just ensured they’d owe him about 6 million next season, and around 9 million in 2012 through arbitration. It saves some cash, but not as much as you may think or want. The irony of it all is that the Angels had offered a very similar deal centered around Saunders to AA and he balked at it right away. That tells us 2 things: rookie GMs are targets for bad trades, and that not all rookie GMs are as gullible as the next.

Which would you rather have?

Roy Halladay traded away for Brett Wallace (AAA), Kyle Drabek (AA), and Travis d’Arnaud (HiA)

or

Dan Haren traded away for Joe Saunders (MLB), Tyler Skaggs (LoA), Patrick Corbin (HiA), Rafael Rodriguez (AAA)

No matter how you slice and dice it, the Jays did 10 times better than the Dbacks in their returns for their Ace. While the new Jays GM is getting rave reviews from all MLB experts, it seems to me like the new DBacks GM, ok I’ll use his name, Jerry Dipoto, will be getting the brunt of horrid reviews for a long time to come. The DBacks website has him listed as “interim” GM….well, don’t count on that money and responsibility being around very long Jerry. Unless the DBacks owners are as blind to winning as Rogers was during the JP Ricciardi ERA, you’re pretty sure to be on your way some time soon.

As bad as things are for the DBacks, there is some hope that a guy like Tyler Skaggs, who I own in my Fantasy League, will bear fruit and will make them look good in the end. The point is that he’s so far off from proving that, and pitchers are so volatile in terms of development and injury, that the DBacks have really put all of their chips on the riskies part of any trade – the youngest, least proven, and least developed players.

The absolute real losers in this deal are the other clubs who didn’t make an offer because they didn’t think they had the goods to get Haren. A team like the Yankees who probably thought they’d be forced to include Jesus Montero to get Haren will now be shaking their heads wondering what happened. The fact that Haren went to the AL West helps the Jays out in 2011, because he could have been acquired by the NYY or BOS and have given them the boost they’ll need on the pitching end of things. Now, the Yankees will be forced to aim for Roy Oswalt. What do you do if you’re the Astros? You can’t ask for more from the Yankees than what the DBacks got for Haren, can you? Add the fact that Roy is demanding his options are picked up, and it’s a real mess for the Astros. They’ll be lucky to find anyone who’ll pick up his options AND give up 1 MLB pitcher and 3 prospects for him now that Haren went for so little. I do believe the Astros are the worst off due to this trade since it pretty much guarantees they’ll be forced to either keep Oswalt around or to take a mediocre bunch of prospects in return.

So, what does this mean for Alex Anthopolous and the Jays? Well, it means that Downs will likely remain a Jay, that Frasor is more likley to be dealt for 1 prospect instead of 2, and that he’ll have to work much harder to make deals happen.

Here are my predictions in terms of who’s going or staying with the Jays:

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Tags: Scott Downs

  • Kris Dexter

    Hi Mat,

    Love the blog.

    Do you think the Haren trade will really effect other trades that greatly? Hell yeah the Jays can ask for more for Downs than the D-Backs got for Haren and will likely get it. Other GMs know he will be type A and how much leverage this gives AA. Two top 50 picks can quickly enter the organizations top 10 prospects and if AA can’t land atleast 2 solid top 10 guys, it won’t get done. Other teams know this and I think it happens.

  • http://jaysjournal.com Mat Germain

    Thanks Kris, it’s always great to hear good feedback! I’m actually going to write an article about Downs today, because the Haren deal really does throw all upcoming trades into orbit. I’m not saying he won’t be dealt, but it does lessen the chances some due to the returns AA wants, rightfully so, for someone who’s a difference maker in terms of talent and future returns.

    I think Jason Frasor and Kevin Gregg are better bets to be dealt at this point. But, knowing AA, he could surprise and pull off a 3 way deal that gets his the value he’s looking for.

    It should be up this afternoon!

  • Scotty D

    Hi Mat,

    I have to disagree with your assesment that one deal affects other players on the market from 2 perspectives:

    1: The only GMs who would base what they are willing to offer/take, are those who are in panic mode, or who weren’t very interested to begin with.

    2: As more trades occur, it increases the scarcity of the remaining available pieces, and therefore increases the value of the remaining assets.

    We need look no further than last year’s Cliff Lee to the Phillies deal, which was considered a steal for Philly. Hagadone and Carrasco are still not sure things. What could have lowered the bar for trades, instead led to the red-sox giving up a ton to get Martinez, the White Sox paid a ton for Peavy, the Dodgers seriously overspent for Sherril and even the Tigers gave up 2 solid pitchers to get an aging Jarrod Washburn.

    I think that if Alex Anthopolous is smart (Which he has proven that he is) he will stick to his demands, and take the best available package. GMs won’t start taking offers off the table just because another team stole the best available pitcher.

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