Looking back at Anthopoulos' biggest moves as Blue Jays GM
Over the course of his career, Alex Anthopoulos has been known for his aggressive, bold moves. Perhaps none was more startling than his decision to step away from the Toronto Blue Jays, for whom he had been the general manager since 2009. With former Cleveland Indians GM Mark Shapiro set to take over as president and CEO of the Jays, Anthopoulos felt it was best to decline an extension and look elsewhere. Here's a look back at Anthopoulos' biggest moves of his six-year tenure with the Blue Jays.
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December 2009: Trade Roy Halladay to Phillies
In his first move as the Blue Jays GM, Anthopoulos traded franchise stalwart starter Roy Halladay to the Philadelphia Phillies for Travis d'Arnaud, Michael Taylor and centerpiece Kyle Drabek. Taylor and d'Arnaud were eventually flipped (more on that later), but Drabek was a flop, never pitching more than 78 2/3 innings in a season before being placed on waivers in 2015.
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January 2011: Shed Vernon Wells' contract
A year after he was hired, Anthopoulos managed to trade one of the most untradeable contracts in sports. He sent Vernon Wells to the Los Angeles Angels, receiving Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera in return. Most importantly, he also traded Wells' contract, which still had about $80 million and four years left. Wells went on to hit .222 with 36 home runs in his two seasons with the Angels, who eventually traded him to the New York Yankees.
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Februrary 2011: Extend Jose Bautista
Prior to his breakout season in 2010, Jose Bautista was mostly a journeyman, never hitting more than 16 home runs in a season. His 54 home runs in 2010 seemingly came out of nowhere, and many experts thought it would be impossible for him to repeat anything close to that. Anthopoulos thought otherwise, signing Bautista to a five-year, $65 million deal with a team option for 2016. Bautista went on to become one of the best players in franchise history and an All-Star for six straight seasons on an incredibly team-friendly deal. He has mashed 243 homers in eight seasons with Toronto.
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November 2012: The Marlins blockbuster
While the deals early in Anthopoulos' tenure were noteworthy, none of them were as big as the blockbuster trade with the Miami Marlins. Before the 2012 season, the Marlins rebranded themselves and signed many players to be instant contenders. It didn't work out -- they went 69-93. Following the season, Anthopoulos targeted many of their big players, swapping Justin Nicolino, Henderson Alvarez, Anthony DeSclafani, Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria, Jake Marisnick and Jeff Mathis to the Marlins for John Buck, Emilio Bonifacio, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson and Jose Reyes. With the exception of Buehrle, none of the newly acquired players worked out. On the other hand, several then-prospects he traded turned out to be solid, with Hechavarria and Marisnick looking like future stars.
December 2012: The Mets blockbuster
Anthopoulos was dead-set on making the Blue Jays contenders in the offseason of 2012. After the Marlins blockbuster, the Jays went and got themselves a Cy Young winner in R.A. Dickey from the New York Mets. The price was steep, as the Jays gave up Noah Syndergaard, Travis d’Arnaud, John Buck and Wuilmer Becerra for Dickey, Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas. Although it's taken a few seasons, the two centerpieces, Syndergaard and d'Arnaud, have turned out to be impact players for the 2015 NL champion Mets. Dickey has been solid for the Blue Jays, but nowhere near the ace they believed they were getting.
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November 2014: Trade for Josh Donaldson
An All-Star, MVP candidate with four years of team control is the kind of player usually tabbed as "untouchable" in trades by other teams. That was the case for Josh Donaldson with the Oakland Athletics, until Anthopoulos offered a package that was too good to ignore. The Jays sent Brett Lawrie, Kendall Graveman, Sean Nolin and Franklin Barreto for four years of Donaldson, who seems poised to earn his first MVP Award after a huge 2015 season.
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July 2015: Acquire Troy Tulowitzki
When Troy Tulowitzki signed a 10-year extension with the Colorado Rockies in 2010, he thought he'd retire there. The five-time All-Star was a victim of a rebuilding team, getting traded to the Blue Jays in July. It was a clever move by Anthopoulos, improving the team without impacting the budget. The entire trade saw Tulowitzki and LaTroy Hawkins sent to the Jays for Jeff Hoffman, Jesus Tinoco, Miguel Castro and Jose Reyes. The jury is still out on the success of this trade, but Tulo's contract ensures he will be in a Blue Jays uniform through at least 2020.
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July 2015: Anthopoulos gets his ace
Anthopoulos finally acquired the ace he wanted, trading for David Price from the Detroit Tigers. The price was steep -- Daniel Norris, Matt Boyd and Jairo Labourt -- but Price was stellar for the Jays, pushing them toward their first playoff bid since 1993. The only downside is that Price was a rental and will be a free agent this offseason. While both sides have told the media they'd love to reunite, it's likely Price will pitch elsewhere in 2016.