TORONTO — Well, I for one was a little surprised at just how active the Blue Jays were at this year’s deadline. No, they didn’t swing any deals in the end, but Toronto came close to acquiring Raul Ibanez and was in on talks about Jason Bay.
The Jays might’ve been able to obtain British Columbia’s Bay, but Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi said the price was simply too steep. It’s believed that the Pirates wanted outfield prospect Travis Snider and starter Shaun Marcum, and that might have been just for starters.
Said Ricciardi: “It was pretty steep for us. At the end of the day, we may have been able to get the player, but it would’ve been at a very, very steep price and I don’t know if that would’ve helped us going forward, as opposed to maybe setting us back a little more.”
As for Ibanez, the Jays were ready to pull the trigger until the M’s pulled the plug. Reports are that Toronto was gearing up to send to players from its active roster to Seattle, but the Mariners decided against the move with minutes to spare before the 4 p.m. ET deadline.
Said Ricciardi: “We had some really good talks with Seattle. I’d say they were pretty intense and pretty in depth. We thought, at one point, there was a possibility to get something done there. But, it just didn’t come to fruition. We were ready to go forward. … Both parties worked hard. At the end of the day, they probably weren’t as comfortable making the trade as we were. That happens.”
So, that’s that. The Blue Jays are who they are and Ricciardi said he still thinks the club is still in it, even with four teams ahead of them in the division and five ahead of them in the Wild Card standings. Why else would the Jays be in buying mode and also holding on to starter A.J. Burnett? Toronto wants to see if it has a late-season run in there somewhere.
Ricciardi also addressed a couple other topics today. There was the “encouraging news” of Dustin McGowan’s shoulder surgery. McGowan will need 8-9 months of recovery time, but can begin a throwing program in roughly four months. He should be ready for Spring Training, since he required no work on his rotator cuff.
As for Scott Rolen’s recently revealed shoulder woes, Ricciardi said:
“We talked to the doctor again today. Our worries aren’t that great. I think what happened with Scotty is, if you know him at all, he’s not a go-easy guy. I think when he’s working on something, it’s an excess of swings, excess of batting practice. We just have to get him to back off a little bit and give his shoulder a chance to rest a little bit. I talked to the doctor who performed his surgery again today and, medically, nobody has any concerns about him long-term continuing to play. He just needs a couple of days here and there in the course of the middle of the summer. But, we’re not worried at all. Like I’ve said, before we made the trade, we did all the background check we had to do on the surgery and we checked with all the rehab people. We had our doctors check. His shoulder is as strong as it can possibly be. It just gets a little fatigued from overwork.”
As for the “controversy” of calling up Scott Richmond, taking Team Canada’s ace away from the Olympic squad just days before they take off for Beijing:
“Obviously, the first thing we thought about is, ‘We’re not going to bring this kid up for one start and hurt his chances of playing on the Olympic team and putting the Olympic team in any kind of jeopardy.’ We talked about that at length. We said, ‘If this is going to be one start, then we wouldn’t bring the kid up.’ But, I also think that a lot’s being made out of this. Every kid dreams of playing in the big leagues. I think if you went and asked all those Canadian Olympic kids last night, when they were on the field, if they wanted to switch uniforms with a big-league guy right there, as opposed to going to China, I think you’d have a consensus of saying they’d rather be a big-league player. I think that’s an unfair shot at us, saying that we did something that was against the Canadian Olympic team. We have great respect for what they do and we have a great relationship with them. But, if we get a chance to bring a guy up to help our Major Legaue team, unfortunately, we’re not going to let that get in the way of us making the decision. Listen, I was a part of the U.S. Olympic selection committee twice, so I know what gos into it. But, I also know that when a guy comes to the big leagues, nothing gets in the way of that and that’s really what the situation was with Richmond.”
So, there you have it. I’m not hitting the road to Texas, so expect a lack of blogging over the next few days unless there’s news to discuss.