I know a lot of fans groaned when they first heard that John Lott and Shi Davidi had written a book on the season of broken dreams that just concluded, but those two guys are excellent, and I’m looking forward to reading it if only for the added depth of insight, and the little nuggets that are sure to be scattered throughout.
For example, an excerpt released by Sportsnet on Thursday gave us this:
Anthopoulos also felt the [mid-July players-only] meeting was a good idea but admitted to pulling the plug on trade talks for players to help out in 2013. He had been keeping close tabs on Jake Peavy, but pulled back. The White Sox later traded him to Boston. Anthopoulos was still aggressively looking to make moves for ’14 and beyond, but his efforts to land Hisashi Iwakuma and Kyle Seager from Seattle went nowhere. The July non-waiver trade deadline was looming, and the GM said, “I really don’t see us doing anything.” They didn’t.
The players-only meeting, you’ll remember, lasted for an hour and twelve minutes. It happened the day after a sloppy July 22nd blowout loss to the Dodgers, right in the middle of the season-killing stretch on either side of the All-Star break, going from 38-36 a month prior, to 45-55 by the time the Dodgers had finished sweeping them. And as much as any sort of a deal for those two excellent Mariners pieces supposedly “went nowhere,” it’s interesting to note that it was exactly around that time that Brett Lawrie was somewhat quietly shuffled back to third base for the remainder of the season.
Of course, it’s entirely possible that, with the trade deadline less than a week away, and Anthpoulos pulling back in his wheelings and dealings, it was a perfectly natural time to end the experiment. But the notion of Seager– a third baseman in the midst of his second straight three-and-a-half win season– being targeted by the club in an ultimately futile pursuit certainly fits with what was going on at the time, doesn’t it?
Iwakuma is a fantastic target too, though I shudder to think what the price might have been. I mean, Iwakuma, who has two years and $13.5-million left on his deal (if his 2015 option is picked up) ended up being a four win pitcher by FanGraphs, and a seven win arm by Baseball Reference, while Seager won’t hit free agency until after the 2017 season.
Like, what could Anthopoulos have even been offering? I mean, if I was trying to engineer a trade like that today, I’m thinking it starts with someone like Jose Bautista. Not that I think the Jays should trade their slugger– cash sounds to me like a much better asset to move in order to help the team, thanks– but if they were going to, bringing back a pitcher like that, and a guy like Seager, who played more at second and shortstop more in the minor leagues than he did at third, sounds like exactly the kind of package that could do a whole lot for the Jays.
Would it ever happen? From the Mariners perspective, even with young pitching knocking at the door and a need for the kind of power bat Mike Morse wasn’t (and that they may well lose through free agency in the form of Kendrys Morales), I’m not sure. Could the Jays maybe make the pieces fit? How the hell should I know! But those are an interesting couple of names, and I think we’d do well to remember how often Anthopoulos seems to return to dreaming on players that it’s been known he likes.
The stuff about Peavy is a perfect example of that, because, of course, we’ve known for some time that he was a target of the club. Gordon Beckham, who we heard about this week, has been linked to the Jays in the past as well, as I noted in a 2010 piece in which I basically cheered the departure of Edwin Encarnacion, after he was picked up on waivers by the A’s, while wondering about the future of Aaron Hill, and noting the Jays’ link to Kelly Johnson, who they would trade Hill for less than a year later.
In other words, Seager and Iwakuma would seem to be a couple of names for us to keep in mind.
You could do a whole lot worse.