Toronto Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins is largely an unpopular man in the city after the trade deadline, but he doesn’t seem to be too concerned with the public perception of him.
Toronto traded Marcus Stroman to the New York Mets for prospects Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods-Richardson, a package that was considered by most to be underwhelming.
Atkins and his staff were busy Wednesday, sending Daniel Hudson to the Washington Nationals, then followed up by shipping Aaron Sanchez, Joe Biagini, and prospect Cal Stevenson to the Houston Astros in exchange for outfielder Derek Fisher.
The moves were meant to accelerate a Blue Jays rebuild but few seem to be impressed with the return, which doesn’t bother Atkins.
"As hard as it is for fans today, to think about what it means in terms of wins and losses, we're set up very well for the future,” Atkins said to Sportsnet’s Arash Madani.
Madani asked Atkins whether it was a need to trade Sanchez, and he deferred, explaining that Fisher was too good to pass up.
“He's been great for the Toronto Blue Jays. What he did in ‘15, ‘16 was exceptional and I'll be pulling for him,” Atkins said of Sanchez. “It was just the opportunity. We love Derek Fisher. Really, really excited about adding him to this core. He'll compliment us well. How hard he hits the ball, how fast he runs, playing all three, the handedness, complimenting the young outfielders we have now."
Atkins also cited the need for depth, citing the Astros as a prime example. It also helped that the Astros calibrated a top-tier analytics department and built around a number of high-level picks (notably Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman), but maybe that’s just nitpicking here.
The Blue Jays general manager also stated that New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom wasn’t taken in the first round and raved about his team’s improved depth. Atkins also defended the haul for Stroman, before concluding the interview.
“I think people look at industry rankings and industry rankings have become a big thing. For us, we love Simeon Woods-Richardson and we love Anthony Kay. So we don't feel that way and we feel very good about the return,” Atkins said.
Jay-Z once said “we don’t believe you, you need more people” and in this case, the team’s purportedly improved depth better pan out, for the long-term future of the Blue Jays and maybe for Atkins and company, too.
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