Outside of acquiring utility player Danny Valencia from the Kansas City Royals a few days ago, Toronto made no other major moves this week leading up to the deadline.
This was a puzzling decision considering that the Blue Jays (59-50) are just 2.5 games behind the Baltimore Orioles for the top spot in the American League East entering play on Thursday. The team also holds the second wild-card spot in the AL.
While Toronto stayed quiet, other contending teams in the division were busy making deals before the deadline passed.
The New York Yankees—currently third in the AL East and three games behind the Blue Jays for the second wild-card spot in the AL—acquired infielders Stephen Drew and Martin Prado from the Red Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks, respectively, as reported by Bryan Hoch of MLB.com.
So why didn’t Toronto make a move to improve its roster as well?
According to Sportsnet.ca’s Shi Davidi, Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said that while the team was active in its search for upgrades, high asking prices ultimately prevented them from making a move.
“I guess I would say we were definitely very active, but the prices for us on the players we inquired about, generally speaking, I think everybody would be happy we didn’t do those deals,” Anthopoulos said. “I know everyone would like to make a splash, add players, but to add players just to make the team worse just to say you did something wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense for us.”
The one good piece of news for Toronto is that even though it didn’t add any new impact players at the trade deadline, the team’s roster should still improve once currently injured players such as Edwin Encarnacion, Brett Lawrie and Adam Lind eventually return to the lineup.
Another thing worth keeping in mind is that today’s non-waiver trade deadline doesn’t really signal the end of all transactions between teams, as players that have cleared waivers can be traded to any team until August 31, 2014. Players who are claimed on waivers can either be traded to the claiming team or withdraw from waivers.
Justin Morneau, Alex Rios and John Axford were just a few of the impact players who were traded last season after the non-waiver trade deadline had passed.
Teams that fall out of the playoff race in August this season will be more willing to move some of their veteran players in exchange for prospects or salary relief. This will give the Blue Jays one final chance to add pieces to their team before making a stretch run in September.