Leaked MLB Trade Chat: Blue Jays Were Willing to Move Marcus Stroman For Bud Norris?

Have you ever wondered how active today’s general managers are in terms of discussing potential trades?  Have you wanted to know exactly how they communicate with one another and what they are discussing?  Well thanks to a Julian Assange like leak in the Astro’s front office you can now get a pretty solid look.

Dave Cameron posted this story on Fangraphs today and it is well worth a look for yourself if curious.  The Toronto Blue Jays were front and centre in discussions/negotiations and it appears the reputation of Alex Anthopoulos frequently ‘checking’ in on players and gauging value might be true.

Here are all of the details involving the Toronto Blue Jays.

1) Blue Jays were willing to part with at least Marcus Stroman for Bud Norris.

7/19/2013 “AA texted JL and asked what it would take for Norris.  AA said Aaron Sanchez is off the table but might be willing to talk about anyone else.”

7/29/2013 “AA texted JL and asked what a package around Stroman might look like.  JL said Stroman + Gose would be in consideration.”

Well consider this a bullet dodged.  The Astros were apparently asking for the moon for league average starting pitcher Bud Norris last season.  They asked the Orioles for Dylan Bundy and the Red Sox for Xander Bogaerts before finally settling on the much less exciting package of L.J. Hoes and Josh Hader from the Baltimore Orioles.

Bud Norris was awful for the Orioles last season in only 50.2 IPs (4.80 ERA, 1.68 WHIP) and though he has actually been pretty serviceable for them this year (87 IPs, 3.62 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 4.49 FIP) he is certainly not amazing.

If the Blue Jays valued any type of veteran starting pitcher that highly it seems quite likely they would be willing to give up nearly anything for Jeff Samardzija or David Price.  Hopefully they don’t jettison Marcus Stroman to the Chicago Cubs for Jason Hammel though I think it’s safe to assume Stroman’s value is a lot higher now than it was last summer.

I wonder if the Blue Jays brain trust had questions about Marcus Stroman’s attitude or worries about his potential as a starting pitcher around this time last year?   It seems the Jays were more than willing to add his name to trade discussions.

2) Blue Jays asked about the price of catcher Jason Castro – desperately wanting to upgrade over JP Arencibia in the off-season.

10/18/2013 “TOR reached out on Jason Castro.  They said their #1 priority this offseason is to upgrade over Arencibia.  They want to get a sense for what the price would be on Castro.”

Alex Anthopoulos is rumored to be extremely thorough and is an avid window shopper, asking about nearly any player in the league to gauge value and price.  No details were discussed surrounding price but you can believe Marcus Stroman + + + would have been required.  This type of inquiry is still fairly easy to wrap your head around JP Arencibia had one of the worst seasons in baseball and Jason Castro would have been a huge upgrade.

3) Blue Jays still viewed Brett Lawrie as a cornerstone heading into the 2014 season.

11/13/2013 “AA said Lawrie is untouchable.  Sounded like they might consider a smaller deal for Stroman but later in off-season.”

Even after a bit of a rough season (compared to expectations) the Blue Jays front office were not panicking.  They still feel Brett Lawrie is a potential leader of this ball club.  Prior to his injury I have been quite satisfied with the player he has become.  Stellar defense at two infield positions along with solid power shown at the plate make him fairly indispensable at this stage.  In 69 games he has hit 12 HRs to go with a respectable .419 SLG% and has amassed a solid 1.5 fWAR.

It goes without saying that I am certain the Blue Jays (and all other teams included in this report) are likely furious this type of data was leaked.  While it was anonymously uploaded by a rogue employee this type of thing shouldn’t happen.  You can also bet that teams will be looking into their own information and data security protocols quite closely as we speak.

The Astros have issued the following statement regarding the leaked notes:

“Last month, we were made aware that proprietary information held on Astros’ servers and in Astros’ applications had been illegally obtained. Upon learning of the security breach, we immediately notified MLB security who, in turn, notified the FBI. Since that time, we have been working closely with MLB security and the FBI to the determine the party, or parties, responsible. This information was illegally obtained and published, and we intend to prosecute those involved to the fullest extent.

“It is unfortunate and extremely disappointing that an outside source has illegally obtained confidential information. While it does appear that some of the content released was based on trade conversations, a portion of the material was embellished or completely fabricated.”

It certainly made for some interesting reading and was exciting enough to force this lazy blogger to actually write a new piece!


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